It’s now May 2012 and the Beverly Chickens blog is back from its year long sabbatical! It’s been a busy year with lots of changes and not a lot of time to keep the girls’ adventures updated. They (as do I) send their apologies!
But the girls are now back – not that they ever left – and getting ready for the 3rd Annual Chicken Open House on Saturday, June 2, 11-2 at 10 Harrison Ave., Beverly. If you have any interest or curiosity about keeping chickens in Beverly, or in any urban setting, stop on by! We’ll have our 4 hens – Delores, Flora, Gertrude, and Hazel, plus some baby chicks who will be visiting. We’ll have information about the permitting process in Beverly and other chicken resource material. Come and see the girls, the chicks, the coop, and ask questions like these –
Are chickens noisy?
How do the neighbors really feel about the hens?
What’s all the poop about poop?
What do chickens eat?
Is it safe to let the chickens run around the yard?
Do they fly?
How long will they live?
Do I need a rooster to get eggs?
How do I get a permit in Beverly?
And lots more!
As always, if you can’t make the open house, private tours can be arranged.
We’ll also be raffling a dozen eggs to benefit Beverly Bootstraps and the winner can be guaranteed of getting the best tasting eggs they’ve ever have!
The girls have actually had a good year and done well in spite of all the changes to their owners. Since my job changed from a home based and local one to all out of state travel the girls have spent more time in their coop under the care of Naomi who has graciously become the week day chicken mama. Naomi has been a good sport through it all – this was never her thing – but she’s made those twice daily trips out to the coop in cold and rain and dark to change water, add food, pick up the eggs, and when able, let the girls out for some play time in the yard. They don’t get out as often as they used to but the expanded run still gives them plenty of play room, albeit without the yard bugs, scattered bird seed droppings, and freshly planted pansies they love to dig up. I think even Butchie, our resident groundhog, misses the girls. Thank goodness chickens ‘go home to roost’ at night as they happily put themselves to bed at dusk when they’ve been let out to play at the end of the day.
Naomi gets the unsung hero award for all her work this year.
Since I’m not home during the week we have decided not to expand our flock to 6 as we are permitted for. It’s just too much when I’m not around – that first month when the chicks are in the kitchen is pretty easy compared to the work to integrate them with the rest of the crew. From past experience we know Flora and Gertrude can be bullies and they made poor Hazel’s life miserable when she first arrived. It took several months to make the transition after a bloody beating followed by a long period of recovey in the basement. It was pretty bad but as chickens do, they’ve forgotten those early years and they all get along just fine now. And it didn’t take any therapy to get them to this point!
Happy Birthday, Delores!
Delores turned 5 on May 1 and we attribute her long and healthy life to the fact that she hasn’t laid an egg in almost 4 years! She was the last to lay out of our original group and 6 months later she stopped and she’s been retired ever since. She’s healthy, eats well, doesn’t rush to get anywhere, especially into the coop when I need to get everyone in. That must be the key to her longevity – low stress, no pressure to produce that egg every day or so….it’s a good life for her.
Thankfully, the rest of the girls are good layers and only take a break in the late fall and early winter each year. Even hens need a break, but oh, how I miss my eggs during that time. No cage-free, organic type store egg is ever as good.
The girls continue their spring cleaning of removing all the grass in the yard, especially under the clothesline. Any small patch of dirt gets expanded and soon the new dirt bath is the place to be. And if it’s a sunny spot? It might as well have a sign on it saying ‘Chicken Wash’. I’ve given up reseeding as it’s a battle to keep the hens off any area I seed – even with a fence. This is a front yard wash where I don't mind the baths as much.
Just a reminder to stop by on June 2 if you find yourself in Beverly!