How to Bring Your Runaway Rooster Home

One evening I was spending an unusually quiet moment by myself.  My younger three children were in bed and my husband went upstairs with my oldest to watch TV in our bedroom.  I was reading and enjoying the peace and quiet.

Then I heard my rooster, Foghorn, making lots of noise.  It was already dark and I was surprised to hear him.  I ran onto the back deck and saw all three chickens right behind the house, obviously upset about something.  At this time of day they should have been locked in their coop for the night.

Foghorn, Muffin and Brownie  (Yes, I realize that Foghorn is not a Leghorn.  He is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, but he was supposed to be a girl.  When we figured out that he was a boy, Foghorn, was the best name we could come up with.)

Foghorn, Muffin and Brownie (Yes, I know that Foghorn is not a Leghorn. He is a Silver Laced Wyandotte, but he was supposed to be a girl. When we learned that he was a boy, Foghorn, was the best name we could come up with.)

With the craziness of our evening routine, I had forgotten to put them to bed.  Oops!  I grabbed a flash light, put on a pair of shoes and ran outside.  By the time I got out there, they had moved to the front yard.  I grabbed Brownie, one of the girls, and put her in the coop in the back yard.

When I returned to the front yard, the other girl, Muffin, and Foghorn had crossed the street and were in the neighbor’s front yard.

Why did the chicken cross the road?  (Sorry, I couldn’t help it!)  🙂

I was able to catch Muffin and returned her to the coop also, but not the rooster.  He was spooked and was not coming back home!  No matter what I tried, I just drove him further from home.  I decided to leave him alone with the hope that he would come back on his own.

I called it a night and prayed that I would see him again in the morning.  At 5 am I heard him crowing, so I new he survived the night and was close, but I didn’t know where he was.

A few hours later I found Foghorn across the street two houses down.  He was hanging out in a stand of trees on the neighbors’ property line (I’m sure they loved that!).  A friend and I tried to coax him out.  No luck.  I brought some food over to try to lure him home.  No luck.

I posted a message on a chicken forum and didn’t receive any helpful advice.  I called my town’s animal control officer to ask if he had any advice for me.  He laughed at me and explained that because our town allows chickens to roam free, he’s never had to catch one.

Finally, I asked for help in a Facebook Group that I’m a member of.  It’s actually a group for bloggers, but I knew that a number of other members were homesteaders, so I thought they might have dealt with a runaway rooster before.  Rhonda at http://www.positivelythoughtful.com had the answer!

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She suggested that I bring one of the hens over to him, but hold on to her rather than put her on the ground.  Let them “discuss” the situation.  Then leave with her and he should follow.  It worked!

Muffin, Foghorn's favorite hen

Muffin, Foghorn’s favorite hen

I couldn’t believe it.  I brought Muffin, Foghorn’s favorite girl, and he followed us across my neighbor’s big front lawn and across the street.  He did get sidetracked by another neighbor’s garden, but a friend happened to be driving by at that time and she stopped to help.  She walked behind him while shaking her car keys, which was just enough to keep him following me and Muffin.

So now you know how to bring a runaway rooster home!

Has your rooster ever run away from home?  How did you bring him home?

Posted in The Homestead Barn Hop at The Prairie Homestead

Posted in the Homestead Barn Hop at The Easy Homestead

Week in Review, Parts 6 & 7

I don’t know where the last two weeks went!  My plan was to write these Week in Review posts every week, but that just didn’t happen last week.  I hope you enjoy this two for one post!

We picked these beautiful flowers from our garden and these blueberries from our lone blueberry bush.  I made a delicious Blueberry Lemon Bread with the berries.  I plan to post the recipe soon, so stay tuned!

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Two weeks ago my oldest attended baseball camp.  He loved it!  He’s never play baseball before, but now he’s willing to give up soccer for it.

My middle son was stung by a bee for the first time while we were picking my oldest up from camp.  Luckily he is not allergic to them.

We’ve been collecting eggs for the past two weeks.  Almost every day we’ve found two eggs.  They are a little on the small side and I’m hoping they will get bigger soon.  Our friends and family have been eagerly awaiting the eggs, but with only two of the chicken laying and the eggs being small, I’m not sure we’ll have any to share.

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We received this colorful bounty from our CSA this week.

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Last week my sister visited us for a few days.  She lives in another state and we only see her a few times a year.  We were excited to hear all about her trip to the Grand Canyon earlier this summer!  The first night we had a camp fire and the next day we took the kids to an amusement park.  Everyone had a lot of fun and the weather was perfect.  I was surprised to learn that my youngest who is usually fearless didn’t like the rides at all.

At the end of the week my husband and I took our two oldest children to Boston for a few days.  The younger two stayed with my parents.  As much as I missed the younger ones, it was nice to not have to bring diapers with me or push a stroller around.  🙂

My husband and I have been to Boston several times, but we haven’t been there in a few years.  This time we decided to take one of the trolley tours around the city.  It was very entertaining and we learned a lot of new things about the city.

We visited the Boston Children’s Museum, the Fenway Park Pro Shop, the Bruins Pro Shop and we went to the North End to show our children where their great grandmother grew up, which just so happened to be right next to Paul Revere’s house.  We also walked through the Boston Common and saw the swan boats and the Make Way for Duckling statues.  The highlight of the trip was the Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum.  We all loved touring the ship, throwing tea overboard and visiting the museum.

On the trolley.

On the trolley.

Climbing the rock wall at the children's museum.

Climbing the rock wall at the children’s museum.

 

Climbing the rock wall at the children's museum.

Climbing the rock wall at the children’s museum.

Outside Fenway Park.

Outside Fenway Park.

Outside the Boston Garden with #4 Bobby Orr.

Outside the Boston Garden with #4 Bobby Orr.

Paul Revere's house.  My husband's grandmother grew up in the building to the right.

Paul Revere’s house. My husband’s grandmother grew up in the building to the right.

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Tossing tea into Boston Harbor.

I made this scarf on the drive to Boston and while relaxing in our hotel room.  I hope to write up the pattern and post it here soon.

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We hope you enjoyed your last two weeks as much as we did!

A Day of Firsts

My oldest had his first day of baseball camp today.  He was very excited to go because he’s never played baseball before.  We told him that if he liked playing at camp, we would let him play next spring.  So far he loves it!

We arrived at camp a few minutes early so that we could watch him play.  While we were on the bleachers, my middle son, who is three, was stung by a bee.  This was the first time he’s been stung and as expected he screamed!  I found an ice pack in the first aid kit I keep in the car, but it didn’t really help with the pain.

When we got home, I applied a drop of diluted lavender essential oil and he immediately stopped crying.  I couldn’t believe it.  I really need to keep some of my oils with me at all times!

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Every evening we let our chickens out of their coop/run to forage in our yard.  They love to be out and about and I love that they are eating bugs and weeds in my yard.  Today I asked my daughter to do the honor of letting them out and she came running back to the house to announce that one of them had laid the first egg!  Isn’t it cute?  We are so excited that they are going to start earning their keep!  🙂

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(Yes, those are cracks that you see.  My daughter was so excited, she dropped it.)

Week in Review, Part 4

Last Monday, all of my children were enjoying a freeze pop on the deck when the sky opened up.  They loved the rain shower!

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Towards the end of the week, all four of them went to visit my parents for a few days.  While the children are away, mommy will play! 🙂

I made this starburst hot pad.  You can find the pattern here.

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I finally finished this necklace.  It’s been on my to do list for a long time and I only needed to tie it off and secure the knot.  I don’t know what took me so long!  I wore it wrapped around my wrist on a much needed date night with my husband.  The necklace is based on this pattern.

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I also cleaned out the chicken coop and added some flowers and mulch along the sides.

Before…

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I shoveled out all of the shavings from the coop and the run and added new sand to both areas.

After…

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While I was working the girls decided to take a dust bath under the lilac bush behind the coop.

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It’s hard to see in the photos, but they are throwing dirt up under their wings.  It’s a lot of fun to watch!

Saturday evening the older two asked if we could have a camp fire.  We said, “Yes!”, but told them that they needed to make the fire pit bigger.  They spent at least an hour working on it.  They did a great job!

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The beautiful sunset as we were sitting by the fire.

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How was your week?

 

 

 

Week in Review, Part 1

I’ve decided to create a weekly post highlighting the previous week’s activities.  I hope it will remind me to take more pictures of my family and will serve as a journal for me.

My mom and I took all four kids strawberry picking.  I forgot the camera in the car, but here is our bounty.

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We discovered that one of our pullets (female chicken less than a year old) is in fact a cockerel (male chicken less than a year old)!  How did we figure this out?  He started crowing this week!

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Our friends invited us to spend an afternoon in their pool.  It took the younger two about an hour to warm up to the idea of going in the water.  Once they did, they didn’t want to leave!  Everyone had a great time!

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I finally got caught up on the laundry thanks to my wonderful husband.  He took the boys out for the morning and I sorted, folded and put away about six loads!  It’s so nice to see my bedroom floor again!

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Last but not least, I received my order of essential oils this week and we started using them.  More posts to follow on how they are working for us.

The Chicken Budget

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When I decided to raise backyard chickens for eggs, I knew that I needed to establish a start-up budget.  Like any project, without a budget expenses can spiral out of control.  My family is deeply in debt and I did not want this project to add to that.

One of the reasons I wanted chickens was because I’ve been paying $3 for a dozen eggs at local roadside stands.  With six mouths to feed, we go through at least a dozen eggs per week, sometimes two dozen.  I’m always looking for ways to trim our food budget, so raising chickens for eggs seemed like a great way to reduce our food budget.

Other bonuses, they make great pets (hopefully, keeping my kids wishes of a dog at bay for a little longer) and I can sell any extra eggs to further help our household budget.  A win-win-win situation!

Back to The Chicken Budget

I set aside $650 from our tax refund.

So far I’ve spent the following (the amounts below include all taxes and shipping costs):

$45.23 for this brooder

$7.50 for 4 oz of quick chick

$16.50 for this book

$7.50 for chick starter from my local feed store

$2.25 for 1 lb of chick grit

$15.00 for pine shavings from my local feed store

$1.25 for a rope to hang the heat lamp

$40.00 for four baby chicks from a local breeder

$7.41 for hardware cloth to cover brooder

$299.97 for a coop

Total spent so far:  $442.61

Budget remaining:  $207.39

What do I need the remaining money for?  Well as I mentioned here I need to make some improvements to the coop I purchased.  I want to add some additional locks to keep predators out and I need hardware cloth under to coop to keep predators from digging their way in.

I also want to build a larger coop so that I can expand the flock next year.  As I’m researching coop building, I’m quickly learning that the amount of hardware cloth I will need is going to eat up most (if not all) of my remaining budget.  I’m looking for creative ways to save money on it.

In hindsight, should I have done anything different?  YES!  I should have trusted other bloggers that said I could make a brooder out of a cardboard box.  If I had listened to them I wouldn’t have purchased the brooder kit, and would have saved about $20 by only purchasing the heat lamp, waterer and feeder.  (I could have saved even more if I used common household items to make my own waterer and feeder.)

What was your Chicken Budget?

We Got Baby Chicks!!!

On Saturday we picked up the four baby chicks that we had reserved.

My kids were so excited and so was I!

Aren’t they cute?

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This is the two week old Easter Egger.  She will lay tinted eggs.

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These are the four day old Wyandottes.  We think two of them will be Silver Laced and one will be Golden Laced.  They will lay brown eggs.

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We wanted eight chicks which is the maximum that my town allows, but the breeder that I bought these from only had these four left.

Also, a coop for eight chickens is much harder to come by if you are on a shoestring budget like I am.  I decided to buy a coop similar to this one which is large enough for four chickens.  It will need some minor modifications to be fully predator proof, but I saved about $100 by planning to do these by myself.

My plan is for the girls to live in this coop for the summer while I build a larger coop to house eight chickens.  I haven’t been able to find plans on line with the dimensions, design and building materials that I want, so I’m designing it myself.  Stay tuned for that project!