First Post of 2011!

After an entirely too-long hiatus, I figured now was as good a time as any to post a mostly useless blog entry.

5 hens all sitting next to the sliding glass door on the patio

Over the last few months we’ve acquired 3 “new” hens to include Netty and Honey, the formerly free range 18+ month old Delaware and Buff Orpington hens, and Helen, the Easter Egger hen who first arrived at our house as a day old chick with Evie and Lilly last February.  Joanna too has seen a flock increase: she went out and picked up 2 POL hens from a lady I made contact with concerning hens for my mom (who decided to hold off on getting any in the end) and returned Helen to us in the process.  Helen never fit in with Joanna’s flock and Evie has had some trouble with Ruth ever since Lilly died, so I suggested that maybe these probable sisters could be a friend for each other.  Of course, adding new chickens to a flock doesn’t result in harmony overnight (unless, of course, your name is Netty or Honey) so we expected a period of transition.  So far there isn’t any ganging up on Helen, but she’s definitely not an integrated part of the flock yet.  We’ve only had her since New Year’s Eve, however, so we’re not worried.

hens in snow

The coop itself has seen some changes too.  We added a 4′ long shop lamp to the inside of the coop with the lights on a timer from 7 am till 7 pm, and egg production is currently at 2-4 per day (with 4 hens actively laying and 2 molting or finishing up from a molt).  We also hung a heat lamp with a red bulb in the coop, and put a 1 gallon heated water bowl in the run.  Both of these are on 24/7 during bitter cold weather.  Finally, we cut a hole in one of the plastic coop doors and installed a small doggie door to help keep the heat from blowing out… however we had to remove the clear plastic flap for the time being, as the girls haven’t figured it out yet.  I have plans to create another run sometime in the spring or summer, once our 6′ privacy fencing project in the back yard is complete, utilizing 4′ wide x 6′ long chicken wire panels sandwiched between 2 frames of 1″ x 4″ boards.  These would be arranged to form a 4′ tall x however-big-we-have-room-for run attached to the current run with another doggie door for access, but with only the wire panels as a roof.  This would give the girls much more room to scratch around during the day (since our yard is not safe for free ranging without supervision) and the option to get out of the rain and into the covered, smaller run and coop at will.  In addition, the panel idea would make it easy to disassemble the planned run and easily move and reassemble it, should the need arise.  More on that as soon as we get around to it…

Evie and Netty

In the world of knitterings, I’ve been quite busy.  I knit both my mom and the older of my 2 younger sisters a sweater for Christmas, and my youngest sister got 2 hats, 2 cowls, and a plush purple penguin.  I’ve been knitting things for babies, as well as fingerless mitts for Alex, and sweaters for myself.  I ended up finishing out the year with 18 adult-sized sweaters completed, and only one of those was a project I started before 2010.  I have knit about 1/3 of my first sweater of 2011 already, as well as another pair of fingerless gloves, and have 7 or 8 other sweaters planned with yarn either in my stash on its way.  All I need now is a couple of massive blizzards to give me more time off work and more time for knitting.

Mary’s New York Christmas Cardigan

I guess the last mostly useless piece of information to note is that I have switched to a gluten-free diet due to the realization that gluten has been making me very itchy in the past 9 months.  I haven’t gone so far as to cut out food items labeled with “may contain [traces of] wheat ingredients” but I have gone so far as to order a 25 pound bag of gluten-free flour blend.  I’ll be ordering a 25 pound bag of gluten-free pancake mix as soon as it becomes available for a more reasonable price on Amazon again.  I mention this change in my diet to explain why future posts may contain such information as which recipes do / do not work well with gluten-free flour, and other similar topics.

They're gluten-free!

I hope the end of 2010 was relaxing and enjoyable for you, and that 2011 has many wonderful things in store for all of us.

Winter foliage

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One response to this post.

  1. Posted by Nancy West on January 5, 2011 at 11:33 am

    I never imagined that I would enjoy reading about the sociological aspects of hens as much as I obviously do. Between your blog and Joanna’s, I am one happy “mother” hen! Good luck with the gluten experiment, and your amazing knitting aspirations. Do you ever feel as though you’re running out of ideas for knitting projects? I suppose you could always design little vests for your “girls”?

    Reply

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