lead in soil articles

A couple articles exploring the possibility of lead in the soil around you home, which could potentially be consumed by your chickens:

http://www.portlandtribune.com/opinion/story.php?story_id=123801660877902600

http://blog.oregonlive.com/pdxgreen/2009/06/the_dirt_on_testing_soil_for_l.html

The Oregonain article had some useful resources in a sidebar that were not included on the page linked above:

Information on collecting soil samples:
http://www.umass.edu/plsoils/soiltest/soilbrochure2009.pdf

Interpreting your soil sample results:
http://extension.oregonstate.edu/catalog/pdf/ec/ec1616-e.pdf

Moving Out

We kicked the little chicks out to the hen house on Sunday. At nearly 7 weeks old they are old enough to hang tough outside. Well maybe not that tough, they still need a heat lamp and they can’t stand up to the older hens just yet.
We divided the hen house in half with chicken wire, one half for the little girls and one half for the big girls. The heat lamp keeps the coop a toasty 60F for the little chicks. The little chicks are excited to be in the hen house. The big girls are not so excited to share their space…
The first night older hens just stood at the divider and squawked in protest. Torta even tried to peck at the chicks through the wire! We just let them squawk. I hope the neighbors didn’t hear the hens. We couldn’t hear them in our house so we are guessing the neighbors can’t hear them either.
Tonight the older hens flat out refused to even go in their house. I had to lure them in to the hen house with treats. Once inside more squawking protests. I suspect that in addition to the verbal abuse the older hens are stealing bedding from the chicks. The chick side of the wire wall is always sadly low on bedding while the older hens have so much bedding is it spilling out of the door.

Chicken Panel

I had an opportunity to be part of the chicken coop building panel at Chicken Fest 2008 at Living Scape Nursery on Saturday. There were three other coops on the panel. Each coop was very different from the others, there was a true green roof planted in strawberries, a converted shed, a hen house on sawhorses, and the Tasty Shed. It was great to see how each of us created such different structures using the same principals. I think it went well, I hope the workshop attendees thought it was helpful.

Poop Management

Between keeping the chicks brooder somewhat clean, mucking out the chicken run once a week and the cat box my life has become super focused on animal waste management. Two adult chickens pooping adult size chicken poops is just about as much poop as I want to deal with. I don’t know if I really want to deal with 5 adult chickens pooping adult size poop. Perhaps we should only keep 2 of the Sussex chicks. A trio of chicks will be easier to re-home than just two. Something to think about.

Lesson Learned

I got up to let the girls out this morning and left the door to on the run open a bit while I futzed w/ the timer for the brooder lamp. I didn’t think the girls would be bold enough to make a break for it. I was wong. Fajita, our boldest hen, took advantage of my stupidity. I have to say I was a little paniced since it was 7am on a Sunday and I was in my jammies. I didn’t want to yell for the Boy to come help me, don’t want to wake the neighborhood, and I didn’t feel like chasing a rogue hen all over the neighborhood in my jammies either. What to do? How do you catch a chicken by yourself? Apparently you chase the hen around the perimeter of the coop several times before luring her in to the run with a great deal of scratch.