Twinkydink Lays An Egg

Tomorrow Twinkydink turns 8 years old. Today she laid an egg.

None of the hens that live in the Little Barn have laid an egg since last July. In fact, in all of 2012, Twinkydink and Buffy, between them, laid about all of eight eggs. I don’t like chicks to have access to nesting boxes until they’ve learned to roost. This keeps them from getting into the habit of sleeping in the boxes. Now that the chicks were moving into the Little Barn, and because the Old Girls weren’t laying, I had Steve remove the boxes.

Last week I noticed Twinkydink on a roost in the middle of the day. She didn’t look sick. She looked confused. I opened up the cozy side of the rabbit hutch. She went in. Once. So, I thought that that was that. But it wasn’t. Today she hopped back in and laid an egg. My chickens never cease to surprise me.


Oh, and when Twinkydink was done, Buffy went broody.


Don’t Feel Sorry For Siouxsie

Do not feel sorry for Siouxsie. The Gems have lived up to their name and have been priceless. They have not pulled even one feather off of Siouxsie’s top knot. They haven’t drawn a drop of blood. Sure, they don’t want her to join in the group,


but, they let her eat and drink. They let her dust bathe unbothered.

dust bath

Siouxsie has taken to shadowing Onyx. The Barnevelder is being remarkably tolerant. Despite how obvious it is that Onyx would rather not have this tag-along, she hasn’t done anything aggressive towards Siouxsie.


The Gems are a particularly peaceful flock. Despite the wide range of breeds and temperaments, they all get along. In fact, there’s not one obvious flock queen, and no one is on the bottom and at the fringes of the flock society. I attribute much of their good behavior to how they were raised – in spacious surroundings, with interesting things to peck and do from the beginning. They’ve been handled gently and consistently, but not excessively. It’s how I’m raising the new chicks, and that seems to be having the same effect. So, when I added Siouxsie to the mix, I figured that the flock personality would win out, even over having such an annoying bird plopped in their midst. It has. Of course, the Gems had already become familiar with Siouxsie when both flocks free-ranged at the same time. Still, it’s a testament to the Gem’s good natures that Siouxsie is being left alone.

Siouxsie was banished from the Old Girls flock for a reason, as she was pummeling and blooding Buffy. Buffy is doing so much better without Siouxsie around. Now that Siouxise isn’t drawing blood, Edwina has stopped pecking at Buffy’s comb. Buffy is getting stronger daily. She’s standing more and no longer bracing herself up on her hocks.


She and Twinkydink are tight friends, and often sunbathe together.

Buffy and Twinkydink

The other day both flocks were let out to free-range. They were all happy to be on green grass and hunt for bugs. That is, all except for Siouxsie. She made a bee-line across the yard, straight for Buffy, who was standing peacefully near the Little Barn, and attacked her. I scooped up Siouxsie and tossed her back into the Big Barn. No, don’t feel sorry for Siouxsie.

HenCam Baseball Cap!

Many of you noticed Steve’s baseball cap in this post. You asked for your own HenCam hats.


I’m pleased to announce that you can now purchase a high-quality baseball cap with the HenCam happy hen logo from Zazzle! Sorry, no goats included. However, Zazzle is running a Mother’s Day special, so from now until May 1 the price is only $16.96. Click through the HenCam Store to get a HenCam hat of your own.

The Chicks Venture Forth

The brooder, which only four weeks ago provided spacious accommodations for twenty-six chicks, now looks full.

full brooder

Currently, the chicks show no signs of aggression or feather picking, but kept in such close confines that will change. They’re no longer downy fluff balls. Most have an outer coat of hard feathers, so they still need heat, but they don’t have to be under the lamp all day. It’s time to expand their horizons.

I closed up the Old Girls in their run, and left them with food and water.

old hens

Steve cut a doorway between the brooder and the coop. I opened it up. New things are scary.

group inside

Who will be the first chick to step out? The Buff Orpington, true to her breed, is calm and trusting.


The little Ameracauna that I call “Owly” was close behind.


To encourage the chicks to venture forth, I put the their food and water, and a dandelion clump, into the Little Barn coop. That wasn’t enough for some of the more timid birds, so I confess to herding them out of their secure and familiar brooder and into the unknown. The Blue Andalusian cockerel wasn’t the boldest, but somehow he does take up the forefront in many of my photographs.

group at door

Quite quickly the chicks overcame their wariness and explored this new environment. They enjoyed scratching in the sand.

sand box

You can see how secure they felt by how spread out they were.

spread out

While they were enjoying their new surroundings, I cleaned out the brooder and put down fresh shavings. Chicks poop a lot and create a tremendous amount of dust that is mostly composed of fine particles of manure and feathers. I don’t want them breathing that in. Then I spent some time sitting amongst them. Chickens are innately curious beings. This Dominique checked out my shoe.


It was all quite tiring! But that was okay. A nap can be taken anywhere.


Yesterday the chicks spent the day outdoors! More about that adventure in another post.

Goat Bellies

This is what happens when you take goats out on leashes and hand-graze them on the lawn for thirty minutes. Just look at those bellies!


It takes an afternoon of cud-chewing and relaxing to digest what’s in those round tummies.

Caper did manage to heft himself up for a scratch under his chin.


Goat smiles were accompanied by goat burps. It was a very good goat day.