I added a “green house run” to my coop this week. I got to thinking that my chickens don’t like the snow and don’t get outside much in our cold winters. I do put out straw but it get’s covered with snow and when the temperatures dip the chickens can’t and won’t come out.
I used 3 row cover hoops, attached one end to the wall of the chicken house over their little door so when they go outside they are in the run under the plastic cover. So far they love it, the straw stays dry. We just had our first snowstorm and they came outside anyway, pecking and scratching in the dry straw. I am hoping that on sunny winter days they will love the warmer space, and the extra sunshine can’t hurt.
That’s why I had to do the garden hoop greenhouse inside the run, my chicken pen would collapse as well. The hoops are ones I made with the bender from Johnny’s so they are pretty strong. Every morning I just brush the snow off the plastic and scatter grain in on the straw so they will come out to scratch, the water is back inside the chicken house so they do go back in to drink and it keeps it from freezing as well.
I’ve been doing a fun project this spring. I had a chance to get a couple geese eggs but my incubator wasn’t working. I had a chicken hen sitting on eggs so I slipped 2 goose eggs under her. The results have been incredibly fun to watch! Both Mama Chicken and Baby geese are 100% certain that they are all chickens. The goslings don’t even use my pond, probably because mom didn’t teach them and couldn’t lead them or follow them onto the pond. SO in every way you can think of, the 3 of them act like a typical mother hen with baby chickens.
If you look really close you can see the small brown chicken eggs in the back and the huge white goose eggs in front… This was during the time she was sitting on eggs:
what type of geese are they? they look like my africans. i have 2 females . love my geese . they talk to me all the time and let me know day or night if someone/ thing comes on the property. thats cool the hen hatched them.
Somehow I missed your post 12 days ago, sorry. I found it just now because I wanted to tell @CA_Poppy and now you what happened to my little geese without hijacking the thread where she told me about her own experience with a foster mom hen/goose. Speaking of which, CA_Poppy, your story was awesome and so funny and was just exactly the kind of thing I was looking forward to watching happen…but things have taken a tragic turn!
Either yesterday or night before last- some kind of predator got BOTH of my little baby geese I was so proud of. I free range my animals so I’m somewhat accustomed to losing a bird here or there to hawks, owls, opossums, raccoons, and more. But this really hurt. It was such a fun project having the hen hatch and care for geese and I was excited to see how that unique mother/child relationship would develop- things just like CA-Poppy hilariously described. What’s worse, I feel like the just-described relationship and behavior- where the geese behaved like the chickens they thought they were and therefore didn’t really use my pond. Had the little guys been sleeping on or right at edge of water, they likely could have gotten away-at least one of them. Whatever got them got 2 geese and 6 small chickens (feathered so not just slow baby chicks). That has never happened to me and leaves me very puzzled- most thieves of the night (those just listed) dine alone. Furthermore, those predators couldn’t/wouldn’t eat 8 medium sized geese and chickens. Same for raptors. So I’m very confused and open to everyone’s thoughts. Unfortunately I can’t tell you for sure it if it was a night but i think so. All I can think of that could catch, kill, and carry off (no body parts were left) is multiple coyotes; What do you all think?
so sorry to hear that Kev. I’ve had that happen a few times here. the culprit is likely a fox. they will kill as many as they can in a night and bury them to eat later. I’ve lost as much as 10 birds in a night with barely a lone feather on the lawn or in the bushes to show where they went. my neighbor who dilegently tried to fence this fox out lost 50 birds last summer. he lives right against the big woods and has many of them up there. they were so bold, they would snatch a chicken right in front of him in broad daylight! he shot many but there were many more. I’m lucky as I’m surrounded by fields so they don’t come down here often as its too exposed for them. they will grab something outside the fence but won’t stay around long enough to try to dig under it like at my neighbors. its too bad as i was following these geeses progress. unfotunitly waterfowl are very vulnerable at that age and they probably still would of been taken with a goose mother as they can’t stay in the water long until most of their feathers come in. so sorry for your loss.
THanks for that reply- especially for pointing out that without oily adult feathers they likely wouldn’t have been able to spend the night on the water to avoid capture. I’m sure that is true and it helps lessen my guilt for having them raised as land-loving chickens and/or for not building a pen for them. But the best part of that post was the identification of the suspect!!! I actually have only seen one fox here and that was years ago, but that is why they say “clever as a fox” right? Sneaky. Every single detail you described happening to you and your neighbor is exactly what happened to me. It also fits- I just couldn’t imagine my usual predators eating 6-8 animals in one night, but a fox saving food for later fits. Now, just like you, my land is almost entirely surrounded by fields- which has UNDOUBTEDLY given me a little deer protection. Occasionally- especially during rut when they have “other things” on their mind- they will come across all those open fields and munch on a tree. But they don’t like getting that far in the open and I’m sure foxes are the same way. But here is the headline. I do have one, single fence line that goes across 3 other property owners and is probably over a thousand feet long. But what is important is that it isnt just a fence row, its grown up badly the entire length,as in it has substantial trees and thickets that are probably 30-40 feet wide and bushy the whole way. It ends up making one small but perfectly laid out fox highway now that you mention it. It runs from the one large woodland area 1200 or so feet away, across several people’s fields, and ends up guess where? 10 feet from the barn my geese and chickens sleep in - and its far from fox-proof. SO yes, Steve, I’m very confident you have just solved something that has bugged me for 2 days straight!
Turns out GrowingFruit . org solves more than just fruit growing mysteries! haha. Thanks buddy.
@thecityman Definitely could be coyotes. I had something like that happen when I was keeping a lot of fowl in a rural area and free-ranging them during the day. The worst part was, once the predator(s) learned what an easy meal could be had at my place, they came back again and again. Soon I was losing 5 birds a day. I moved shortly after that, but I don’t know what I would have done if I had stayed there. Now I live in town and just have 11 little Silkie balls of fluff that free range in the fully solid fenced back yard, but back then I had about 100 birds that I was raising for meat and eggs. I am sorry for your loss. I hope whatever ate your birds doesn’t come back.
in back of my house i have a old fence and grown up hedgerow and my old coop was back there. i lost 5 ducklings 4 yrs. ago there. now my new coop is up next to the road in front of the house with no cover whatsoever. to make it worse my geese see well at night and make a hell of a racket when somethings around… i then dump my 3 dogs out and they run off whatevers around. last week 2 of my chickens snuck out when i went in to feed them. figured id get them to go in near dark. i went to the store and came back. no chickens. they got swiped in broad daylight but the fox never tried to get in the coop the nights following.
from my experience coyotes won’t go near populated areas as much as a fox. my father used to have coyote problems. his property abutted a large cedar swamp. you could hear them yapping in there running down hares. also had bears getting into his garden and garbage. one cub used to play with his dog.
I think it depends on what the coyotes in your area are used to. Where I live, they are all around town, grabbing people’s cats and small dogs out of their yards. People walking small dogs on leashes fairly often report being menaced by coyotes in broad daylight. Once they get used to humans, they can be quite bold.
well my hybrid 300 ducks are finally getting their feathers. this breed lays as much eggs as a white leghorn chicken and ducks never have disease issues and are much more hardy. my adult ones sleep outside and only go in when temps get below -20f.
Two black broody hens both trying to hatch out the same three green eggs.
Originally one broody hen was in the nest box and a few weeks later two hens decided to become broody just outside the nest box. After several long weeks of the first one being broody, I broke down and gave her some eggs. A week later one of the other broody hens gave up and rejoined the flock. The other black hen hopped into the nest box with the first one, and they’ve twinned up on those three green eggs ever since.
I would have said nothing like that has ever happened to us before, but in the spring, just on the other side of the barn stall wall where these hens are, two broody ducks successfully hatched out six ducklings The oldest and youngest ducklings hatched out more than a week apart.
A few years ago I ordered some hatching eggs through the mail and put them under a broody Silkie. Then a second Silkie decided to go broody and insisted on setting the same clutch of eggs. I kept trying to discourage her, but she persisted. The two hens weren’t fighting with each other, but neither would give up those eggs. When the eggs hatched, the chicks apparently imprinted on both hens and considered both hens “mother.” They would walk around the yard as a group and both hens peacefully shared the mothering duties. I never saw them try to steal the chicks or push the other hen out. It is awesome how adaptable animals can be.