Sunday, October 12, 2014

Guinea keets go free today

Today I released the "infant" guineas and their mama guinea from the pen.  The infants are 6 weeks old today.  I still call them the infants to keep track of them.  They're not infants, they are the size of a bluejay.  They can fly fine.  We have so many guineas, it gets confusing.

We have 5 adult male guineas and 1 adult female.  The female has 17 keets by her side.  All babies from those 5 boys.

We also have 10 "teenage"  guineas, raised earlier this year from guinea eggs we found out in the woods, all babies from those adult guineas.  The teenagers were adopted out to chicken hens when they were still eggs, and chickens raised them until they were big enough to go free.  The adult guineas don't accept the teenagers, and still chase them.  The teens still think they are chickens and would love to be penned up in the chicken pen with the other chickens.  I don't know why the adult guineas don't like the teen guineas.  Next spring when the adult males are looking for mates they will forget that they don't like them, I bet.

We wondered if the 5 adult male guineas would accept the infants into their little flock.  Sure enough, they did.  They treat them just like their own babies.  And the babies love the adults males, going to them, being fed by them, one big happy family.  The mama guinea loves her 5 boyfriends and is happy to be free with them again.  One of them was her mate, but I can't tell which right now, they are all hanging close to her and her keets. 

So now the adult males are busy with their new family and have stopped chasing the teenage guineas.  The teens are kinda bored and started chasing the outside cats for fun.  I'm betting the cats will keep their distance from the infant guineas, and from all the guineas, in fact.

It's chaos here.  We never expected to have this many guineas running free around our house! 

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Guinea hen and keets leave the coop!

Three weeks ago we found our sole guinea hen hatched 17 guinea keets in the woods.  We captured them all and locked them up in our chick coop.  Yeah, we had Brahma chicks and their adopted mama hen in there, they got pushed out to the general chicken population to make room for the infant keets!

And so we watched as the keets grew.  The keets learned that humans brought food, the mama hen learned to hate humans less, but she still hated being cooped up.  The private chick pen was reinforced around all sides with netting, as it was just chain link fencing, and the keets were tiny enough to walk right thru a chain link fence.

And then the big day came - it was time to let the keets out of the coop and into the chick pen.

The little sliding door has been closed the last 3 weeks.

The chickens are watching through the fence going into the big chicken pen.  Everyone knows that something exciting is going to happen!

Here come the 6 adult male guineas along the right side of the fence.  The adult guineas roam free, they're not penned at all.  They know their friend and wife is locked up in that coop.  The female guinea used to be a mate to a dark male guinea. 

Here are the Brahma chicks watching through the fence - they are white with feathers on their feet and legs.  They miss their private pen, but are doing fine mixed in with the other chickens. (By the way, so far I love Brahma's.  They are very sweet chicks!)

Randy opens the little sliding door...

Mama guinea hen is cautious at first.

And then out she comes!

She tells the babies it's ok to come out.

They aren't too sure about this new big world.

And then the keets come flying out, all excited!  They have been learning to fly inside the coop, and have been roosting in the coop rafters the past few days.

Yesterday the keets were scared of their new surroundings.  They mostly stayed huddled in a group.

The Brahma chicks are checking out the keets through the fence.

The male guineas were very excited to see the female again.  They stayed close to the guinea pen all afternoon. One of the males, the former mate, especially stayed near.  The mama guinea was so happy to be able to put her head up close to his, and they made all sorts of squeaks.  The male guineas all seem very supportive of the keets. I think they would take care of them in the wild.

Late in the evening the female guinea hen went into the coop to sleep.  She squeaked a call to the babies to follow.  They had a tough time figuring out the ramp to go into the coop, and the mama went in and out a few times to show them.  Finally they all went inside except for 1 keet.  The sole keet started screaming a panic cry.  Mama did not come out for him, she was trying to get the other 16 situated inside.  Then the guinea male mate, who was outside the fence, made a squeaky noise, and the keet ran across the pen to him, and huddled up close to the fence trying to get close to him.  How amazing that he bonded with his mother's mate so quickly! Possibly it's his own father.  I went in and picked up the keet, who started screaming bloody-murder, and put him in the door to be with the family.  The mother came charging out, wings up in defensive mode, ready to kill me.  When she saw the keet inside she turned to take care of him, and I closed up their door and turned out the light inside and let them sleep.  The keets had a big day.

This morning the door was opened and the family is spending a second day out in the pen.  They are happy birds.  When the keets get bigger I'll let them free.  I see the adult guineas will watch out for them, and the babies can fly just fine now, so they'll be able to sleep in the trees with the adults.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Guinea keets born in the woods!

Our guinea keets are about 2 months old now and ready to be set free.  They live with the chickens in the chicken pen and roost at night in the trres in the chicken pen.  One day 3 weeks ago we let them free outside, but that very day a fox attacked the guineas and killed one of the adult females.  The young guineas were just a few yards away and they wouldn't know what to do if a fox attacked them, they'd be easy to kill.  That day my husband wasn't home, I ran outside armed with my gun and chased the fox off and found the adult guinea he attacked.  She was still alive but died soon from her injuries.  I was mad and searched for the fox, but couldn't find him.  I thought possibly the fox would return for food, it never got to eat the guinea it killed, and I didn't have all day to stay outside and protect the birds.  So that day I herded the baby guineas back into the chicken pen to protect them.  I didn't want one of them to die.  I buried the dead guinea in our pet cemetery.

That left us with 6 adult male guineas.  Just 6 left.  One by one they've all been disappearing.  We always search for the bodies when one disappears.  Only once we didn't find a body - a female disappeared and we found no body, no feathers showing a kill site, nothing.  We always wonder if a female goes broody.  If they sit overnight on the nest in the woods there's a very good chance they'll be killed overnight by a fox or owl.  Anyway, about a week ago Randy swore he saw the missing female guinea with the 6 males.  He said he counted them many times, there was an extra bird.  But later in the day she was gone.  Just yesterday he and I went out hunting for a guinea nest, or for signs of a previous guinea nest.  Nothing.  He figured he must have miscounted the guineas that one day.

Today, the female showed up in the field------with 17 or 18 newborn guinea keets!!!! 

The newborns evidently just hatched overnight and mama was walking around in the heat of an open field.  The babies could hardly walk. Guineas are known to not be good mamas.  We've always raised our guineas keets by chicken hens, because chickens are better protectors.  We always take guinea eggs and place them under a broody chicken hen, the chicken never knows that the babies are guineas.

How very exciting - this is the first time one of our guineas has survived sitting 28 days to hatch a clutch of eggs.  In the past females tried this and always were killed during the first few nights.  Amazing.  We found the nest, it was well hidden.  We walked right by it yesterday and missed it!

And so, we have newborn baby keets again.  It's not a good time of the year for keets - it will be cold soon.  I think it will be too cold for them to spend nights outside in Oct.  But who knows. First things first...

The keets were easy pickings for hawks, blackbirds, jays, any bird that would want a snack.  There was a hawk nest not too far away from where they were standing when we found them.  Plus, there's that fox.  Just 2 days ago I saw the fox in the field, he was hunting the adult guineas.  We didn't think the keets or their mama would make it through the day today, not to mention the night tonight.  And so, for their own safety, the keets and mama were collected and placed in the chicken coop, in the chick/keet/infirmary side.  We had a brood of chicks (chickens) and their mama hen in that coop/pen, and so they got pushed out into their own pen and are not allowed inside the coop right now, the little sliding coop door is closed locking them outside.

The mama guinea was not too happy about being caught and placed in a coop.  We made it pitch black in there until she calms down.  All the babies tucked themselves under her wings.  They all needed to cool down, all the keets were overheated after being in the blazing heat of the field.  The mama guinea hen needed to calm down.

Later today we'll put the mama hen and her chicks in the pen with the adult chickens.  They'll have to manage with the adult chickens.  A friend gave us some pure-bred Brahma eggs to hatch.  We are going to split the babies with them after they're big enough to be on their own.  I wasn't too keen on raising chicks to give away, and I'm not a big fan of the Brahma breed.  They're large birds.  But my husband made the deal when I was away on travel for work.  The real problem with the Brahma chicks is their feathered feet - the other chickens peck the chicks' feathered feet.  None of our other chickens have feathered feet, and I guess our chickens don't understand it.  But the Brahma chicks are getting big now.  And the guinea mama and newborn keets definitely need the protection of their own coop right now.

And so we now have teenage guineas living with the adult chickens, and newborn guineas with their mama guinea hen, and young Brahma chicks and their mama hen.  Things are kinda hectic here at Razzberry Corner these days.

Happy Labor Day to all!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Guinea keets raised by chickens - photos

 Who doesn't love keets!  Our keets are growing up.  They still live with their chicken mama hens.  The black hen is named Katie and has 5 keets.  The red hen is named Doritos and has 7 keets.  The keets are flying now, and roosting up high in the chicken coop.

Here are some pictures of the adult guineas, the birth parents of the keets. The photos are terrible quality, taken with my phone and emailed to myself- sorry! :(

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Little Deer is still Here

This morning around 5am I was walking through my house and I was shocked to see the thin face of a deer peering in  my front window watching me!

No worries - it was just Little Deer, who comes up to my front porch every day.  I'd prefer she didn't come up and eat my bushes and flowers, but alas, this is where she lives. 

Good morning, Little Deer!

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Guinea Keets have Hatched

I don't have any pictures ready for this post, but I'm not going to wait for pics.  If I wait to take a photo, the post just wont get posted.  Sorry.  There will be pics in the future!

A little over 28 days ago I found a guinea nest in the woods.  Our guineas free range and it's near impossible to find a nest.  I collected 6 eggs the first day, and put 2 fake eggs in the nest in return.  Then the next 2 days I collected 3 eggs each day, for a grand total of 12 eggs.  I was so excited.

I wasn't thinking about guinea eggs for breakfast - - -NO!  I was thinking about new guinea keets!!!  Our guinea flock is always fighting foxes, hawks, owls, eagles, you name it.  The guineas always lose.  We do our best to fight along with the guineas, so I guess it's the guinea/human team against the fox/hawk/owl/eagle team.  We've lost 2 guineas in 2014.  Our beautiful pure white girl was recently killed by a bird, either a hawk, owl or eagle.  She was the last pure white guinea.  And a dark brown guinea girl was killed by a fox.  We have 7 light grey colored ones and 3 dark brown guineas left.  I like to get keets every year or two to keep the guinea flock going. 

So - back to the eggs.  I always, always have broody (chicken) hens.  I don't know why my hens always go broody.  So, 3 weeks ago, I had a red sex link named Doritos and a black Ameracauna mix named Katie that were broody, so I divided up the eggs between them.  And in the last few days, the guinea keets have hatched!  They are sooooo cute!  Keets are much more active than chicks.  They are running all over the coop already.

Katie has 5 keets - 4 grey and 1 pure white! :) Yeah, another pure white one!
Doritos has 7 keets - 3 dark brown, 3 light grey and 1 that's pure white with brown spots/patches!!  Of course I like the spotted one best, because it's unique. One egg didn't hatch,  We broke it open and saw it was not developed at all, it was nasty rotten egg.  I don't know what happened to that one.

We setup half the coop as a baby coop, and divided it in half again so each mama hen has her own private area with her own babies.  The mama hens don't realize the babies aren't even chickens, they are both very happy with their babies.  They worked hard sitting on those eggs for 28 days!

I will get some keet pics soon. 

Saturday, April 19, 2014

I Love Lucy and so did Bonnie

Well, I wanted to write a post either about the chickens or guineas and bring you to-to-date on their lives this past winter, but so much is happening, I just cannot slow down and talk about the past winter yet.  I'll get back to it...

With life comes sad times.  My favorite chicken of all times, ever, Lucy, died yesterday.  Rest in peace, Sweet Lucy.  My Lucy-Goosey.


Lucy was one of our original chicks - that makes her almost 5 years old.  That's old for a bantam hen.  Lucy was so tame.  She loved to be pet and have her neck rubbed.  She knew her name and always came when called.  I would go out into the chicken pen, look for Lucy and call her name.  She'd be thirty feet away, hear me calling her, stop her digging or whatever she was doing, and come running to me.  She always came running when I called her.  I'd always open the gate and let her out by herself.  She never attempted to run away from me and always let me pick her up, so I knew it was safe to let her out of the pen.  We don't let the chickens free-range without me around, too many foxes.  So Lucy and I would go for a short walk, she always walked beside me very well, and then we'd stop to dig.  I'd find a stick and she'd assist digging with her feet.  We'd dig for worms, which she'd gobble up.  She and I went for a walk and a dig right up to the end of her life when she could barely walk anymore.  I carried her these last few months to the digging spot because she couldn't walk.  Sometimes she'd almost fall over when we were digging, but she still tried to dig for worms.  She didn't "lose her mind" when she got old.  Her body got slow and frail, but she was still the same old Lucy.  She still reacted just like she always did to me.


Lucy never really cared for other chickens, she did her own thing.  She wasn't a follower.  Doing what other chickens do is normal flock behavior, but Lucy was unique.  The other chickens emulated her actions.


The last few months Lucy could barely walk.  She couldn't navigate the ramp to the outside pen to leave the coop.  We made sure she had food and water inside the coop.  She couldn't jump up on the roost at night, instead she slept on the floor of the coop underneath the other chickens by herself.  It was sad seeing her down on the floor by herself at night, but we knew she was a loner anyway, she probably didn't mind.

And then Bonnie started sleeping on the floor beside Lucy at night.


Big Bonnie, she is called.  Bonnie is the opposite of Lucy in looks.  Bonnie weighs about 20 pounds to Lucy's 2 pounds.  Bonnie is huge, she's a meat breed of bird, one that normally is raised to butcher for meat.  Bonnie was a shelter chicken - she rescued her from the local animal shelter.  She was caged in someone's house and fed table scraps and kept for her eggs.  She got very fat on table scraps.  I think she also ate fast food, whatever, her diet was terrible.  Then it seems she stopped laying eggs, probably because of her poor condition because of her bad diet, and whoever had her didn't want her anymore.  I bet you they got another chicken to abuse.  They didn't know what they were doing - they got a meat breed of bird instead of an egg-laying breed.  They were city people who wanted fresh eggs.  So Bonnie was tossed out into the city streets, left to wander on her own.  I guess they didn't know how to butcher a chicken or they probably would have butchered her.  Only Bonnie was so fat and because she was caged she had almost lost the ability to use her legs.  She had no strength in her legs.  And so animal control easily caught her, and the shelter called me, as I'm on the list of farms who will take chickens found in Washington DC.  And since then she has lived a good life at Razzberry Corner.  She learned how to walk again, lost quite a bit of weight, but still is one big bird.  Big Bonnie.  No one messes with Big Bonnie in our flock.  They probably talk about Big Bonnie behind her back - "did you hear that Bonnie was in prison before?" they probably say.

Big Bonnie

Anyway, Big Bonnie, the bird that doesn't let other chickens push her around, moved to the floor beside Lucy.  The two of them always sat their with their heads together, like they were talking.  We assumed because of Bonnie's weight she couldn't get up on the roost anymore.  During the days Bonnie stayed near Lucy on the coop floor.  Sometimes Bonnie would go outside and leave Lucy alone for a while, then she'd come back to sit beside sweet Lucy.  And Lucy, the chicken who really didn't like other chickens, liked Bonnie.


Lucy waddled around inside the coop as best as she could.  She liked to eat, even though she was very thin at the end.  In the winter during the snowy days none of the chickens went outside, so everyone stayed inside, including Bonnie and Lucy.  I'd feed them inside the coop.  Sometimes it got crazy with chickens running around at feeding time, but I noticed Bonnie always protected Lucy from the other chickens.  Bonnie would physically block the other birds with her large body, making it so they wouldn't knock Lucy over, as Lucy was unsteady.

We recently raised some new roosters from chicks, and they started running around mating with all the hens.  Bonnie always moved in front of Lucy when those roosters came in the coop scoping out mates.  It truly seemed like Bonnie was protecting Lucy.  Lucy went along with Bonnie's actions, standing behind her, letting herself be protected.  Sometimes when the chickens were all cooped up for days on end in the snowy months they would all have cabin fever, walking around, pacing the coop floor non-stop.  Lucy would go into one of the bottom nestboxes that was on the floor for protection from all the crazy chickens.  Then of course if a chicken sees another in a nestbox, they want to go in there and lay an egg in that nestbox, even if there's a dozen empty nestboxes.  (It's that crazy chicken behavior where they all need to follow what the other is doing.)  But Bonnie starting sitting her large body right in front of Lucy's nestbox, blocking Lucy in, keeping everyone else away from Lucy.  Bonnie was so big she totally shielded the nestbox.  When Lucy wanted out of the nestbox she just stood up and Bonnie got up and immediately moved out of her way.  It was so neat to see that Big Bonnie had become Lucy's guardian, her protector.  They always had their heads together, appearing as if they were talking. They were best friends.

Big Bonnie is the big bird in the center

My husband said it was because Bonnie was getting old, too.  At this same time Bonnie stopped laying eggs.  He said Bonnie probably couldn't get up on the roost anymore, she was too big and was probably loosing her balance, that's why she was on the floor all the time now. 

So months went by like this.  We knew Lucy wasn't going to live much longer, she was so frail.  Lucy died Thur during the day while we were out at work.  Her body lay on the coop floor near the waterer, with Bonnie sitting nearby, until we came home Thur night.  Bonnie stayed on the floor in that same location Thur night.  Another chicken, named Ruffles, slept down on the floor with Bonnie that night, with her head near Bonnie's.  That was odd.  Ruffles is a much younger bird and there's no reason she would be on the floor and not on the roost with the other chickens.


And then tonight, Friday night, Bonnie is back up on the roost sleeping with the other chickens.

It appears Bonnie was able to roost all along, but she chose to stay on the ground with Lucy all these months.  Bonnie is one special bird.  And Ruffles.  And of course, Lucy was a special bird, my favorite chicken ever.  My husband is speechless, now that he knows Bonnie can roost.  He said she will probably start laying eggs again now, too.

We buried Lucy in the animal cemetery beside Tommy the cat and the other chickens that have died through the years.  I will always miss sweet Lucy.

People that don't have chickens don't realize that chickens have personalities.  They don't know what they're missing.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Ben and Brindle Update

Yes, I'm back and writing again.  It's been a long, cold, hard winter.  I've wanted to write, to share the farm with everyone, but time was short.  Days and nights flew by, weeks got jumbled together, and before I knew it, spring is here!  And not soon enough!

The animals hated the long cold winter.  It snowed so many times.  Let me tell you right from the beginning, I'm not a cold-weather kind of gal.  I like it hot and sunny.  You can keep the snow!  But this winter it certainly snowed a whole lot!

The two outside cats, Benjamin and Brindle, were C-O-L-D outside.  Since we put up heatlamps for the chickens in the coop, we got the bright idea to setup a heatlamp for the outside cats.  So the cats got a heatlamp.  They sleep on a piece of rug which sits on a wooden bench on the front porch.  We aimed the heatlamp on the bench, and they both cuddled up every night under the lamp.

After a few extremely cold and blustery snowy nights, we realized the heatlamp really wasn't helping much.  The snow was blowing sideways up onto the cats and soaking their bed and the cats, too.  And the thought occurred to me - we DO have an empty guestroom...  And these stray cats ARE guests...

And so Ben and Brindle moved inside to the guestroom.  I know, I'm a sucker for animals.  My husband puts up with me...  Just so you know, they both had already been taken to the vet, been dewormed, deflead, deticked, had all their shots, and were fixed.  Also they were tested and found to be negative for all feline diseases.  Yes, they used to be strays, Brindle even was feral - you can see she has a clipped ear.  Any outside cat here has to go thru that routine, and even still, I dare to call them a stray cat.  I should just call them an "outside cat", not a stray.

The two formerly "stray" cats absolutely LOVED the guest bed.  They loved being inside.  They both became extremely friendly, and love to be pet and hugged and held.  We never thought that wild Brindle could become such a lovebug.  They both even like their bellies rubbed!  And most of all, they love stretching out to sleep on the soft guest bed.

Benjamin especially loves to be held on Randy's shoulder.  Ben sits up on the bed and begs, stretching his front legs up in the air, waiting to be picked up.  Brindle loves to cuddle and then lick us, which is quite annoying when you don't want to be licked, which is, well, always.

We kept Ben and Brindle separate from the inside cats.  It was easier that way - no cat fights.  The inside cats weren't too fond of the guest cats.  So we kept the guestroom door closed at all times.  Sometimes Jack, the Houdini cat who can open doors, snuck in to visit.  Jack's very accepting and friendly.  If only everyone could be as sweet as Jack...  

When the cold winter nights passed, we opened the window (the guest room is on the first floor) and Ben and Brindle went back outside.  They were so happy to be out again.  But it seems they miss their bed.  If we open the guest room window again they will come right back inside and curl up on the bed.  Randy sometimes sleeps in the guest room during the day when he's working the crazy night shift.  When he does, he opens the window, within minutes Ben and Brindle are cuddled up with him on the bed, and they all sleep the day away.

I guess they aren't outdoor cats anymore, they've become indoor-outdoor cats.  They both are great farm cats - they love to help us with our outside chores.  They always walk us to the barn, stand guard while we work in the chicken coop.  Once a chicken escaped out the coop door and Ben stood and watched, helping me to catch it.  The chicken was terrified of the cat and just froze, making it easy to catch.  Brindle loves to run with the guineas.  When I throw bread for the guineas she's right out there with them - she loves to catch pieces of bread and eat it, just like the guineas.  Both cats, but especially Brindle, are always mouse and bird hunting.  Any little bird that comes near her, and any mouse on the property, will meet it's end if Brindle has her way.

Recently a fox moved into our front yard, of all places, and before that a raccoon was acting very strange, falling over when standing, extremely friendly, etc.  When those animals were around at nighttime we ushered Ben and Brindle into the house to keep them safe.  I didn't want little Brindle to be fox food, nor did I want either cat to get rabies from a possible infected coon. The cats didn't know what was going on, all they knew was they had access to their beautiful guest bed again, and they loved it and slept soundly all night. 

So that's the update on Ben and Brindle, the indoor-outdoor cats.  It was a good winter for them.  Next up I'll discuss either the chickens or the guineas, and will tell you how they made it thru the long cold winter months.   

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Razzberry Corner is back!!!

Wow!!!  A lot of time has passed since my last post!  So much has been going on here at Razzberry Corner!  ...Where to begin????

Let's start with the humans...  What's going on with us?

Over the winter I joined an awesome online weight-loss group called Lose It! (  It's a great support group that encourages you to eat less and exercise more, and teaches you how to count calories.  They have workout challenges, groups where discussions take place, and endless possibilities to make friends with similar exercise and weight-loss goals.  With this app I lost about 20 pounds.  I highly recommend it to everyone!  Best thing is, Lose It! is free.  Costs nothing to join the basic service, and $39.95 for a year of premium membership.  With the basic membership you can set only one weight loss goal, with the premium membership the number of goals you can set are almost endless, from weight goals to blood pressure, exercise minutes, steps taken, hydration (to encourage you to drink more water), nutritional goals are available, such as sodium, carbs, protein, fiber, you can even set a goal to sleep a certain number of hours every night.  Anyway, it's a pretty cool group and has motivated me to be healthy and happier.  Check it out if you want to lose weight.

I've been traveling a lot for my work, and am still putting in a lot of hours at work.  What else is new?

My husband has been working shiftwork for his job, often working nights with days off.  This means I have to take care of the animals most of the time, leaving me little to no free time to do things I enjoy, like write.

I have been very sick this year.  It's crazy because I believe that I'm healthier than I've ever been in my life. I got the flu in January, then the Norovirus in March, and now have an upper respiratory infection in April.  The Norovirus was no fun - I've never been that sick, ever.  It seems everyone is catching it - very contagious. If someone you know has it - run away as fast as you can!

Next post I'll move on to the interesting stuff - we'll discuss the farm critters and tell you how they all survived the long cold winter.  Lot's of craziness going on.  Wasn't that winter just the worst ever?

Friday, January 3, 2014

Snow and Chickens and Guineas

We got our first big snowstorm of 2014 already, as has much of the country!  We only got maybe 3 - 4 inches of snow.  It sure looks pretty, but with the wind it is cold outside!

This is the guinea roosting pine. It's a huge pine that sits above the chicken coop.  The guineas will not come down out of the tree today.  I was worried that they were frozen, but they don't appear to be.  The song birds live through snowstorms, why wouldn't a guinea fowl?  But I worry still.

I found the guineas up in the tree snuggled up and singing quietly.  Do you see them in the below photo?

They light colored guineas stand out in the green of the pine.

Our chickens hate snow and cold and refuse to go out from their coop.  We have heat lamps and heaters in the coop, and put the waterer in the coop, trying to keep it from freezing.  This morning the water had ice in it but wasn't frozen solid.  I tell you, it's cold out there!  I don't blame the chickens for wanting to stay inside!

In the below photo is Doritos, the red sex link in upper left.  Bottom left is Charlotte, who's a senior lady- she's one of the original chicks from 4 years ago.  The big bird in the center front is Big Bonnie, the former shelter hen, and Muffin the lead rooster is behind her.  The two white leghorns are named Pringles.  We have four Pringles - I can't tell them apart so they all were named Pringles.

From left: Doritos, Ruffles, another Doritos, Zoner, Freckles, part of Little Muff (son of Muffin).  Little Muff will step up and be our lead rooster when Muff Sr. passes away.  Muff Sr. is getting older.  The black bird you can barely see in the front is Holly, daughter of Muffin.

When chickens are all penned up in a coop bad things are sure to happen.  They get bored and start picking on each other.  The younger birds are usually lower in the pecking order, literally.  This morning I went out to check on the birds and found one of the Pringles had a bloody head.  Red blood splattered all over a white bird just asks for the others to continually peck at her.

I brought Pringles in and bathed her head.  She didn't mind.  She loved to look at herself in the mirror - she was amazed by her reflection.  I washed her head then blowed dried her.  I went over her whole body with the blow drier - my birds always LOVE to be blow dried.  The problem was that her comb had been bitten and had bled all over her white feathers.  The comb was fine, it had already stopped bleeding.  But the other birds had pecked her bloody head and made bruises on the left side of her head near her ear.  If I hadn't separated her they could have pecked her till she had a big open wound.  The photos were taken post-bath.

Luckily I got to her in time and she was fine.  I returned Pringles to the broody hen coop, where we have two broody hens sitting on eggs.  Pringles needed a break from the other hens.  She loved having a coop mostly to herself - the broody hens just sit ont heir nests and don't move much, leaving Pringles the run of the coop.  Later today I'll return her to the regular chicken coop.

I hope everyone enjoys the snow and keeps an eye on their chickens in their coops!  Stay warm!