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The Eclectic Garden

Making a little bit of everything look just right.


Raccoons and Chickens

Category: Chickens | Posted: Fri Oct 17, 2014 5:30 pm

Well it took a few months, but I finally lost one of the chickens to a predator. My dad went to let them out yesterday and found a dead hen inside the pen and there was blood and feathers everywhere. After a little investigating I found where the culprit got in. It climbed up to the second level of the pen and pushed up on the tin roof. Unfortunately, I failed to put enough screws so there was enough room for something to squeeze in. Based on the mess it left behind and the fact that climbing was involved I'm fairly certain it was a raccoon.

When I got home from work I fixed the roof, boarded up some other areas that had larger gaps and cleaned the pen. It was a chore getting the chickens to go back in last night, but we finally managed. I don't blame them for being scared to go back in.

I checked this morning and all seems well. Hopefully I won't have to worry about any more raccoons.

This blog entry has been viewed 166 times


Chickens Are Growing

Category: Chickens | Posted: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:25 pm

The chickens should be laying any time now. We have quite the assortment of breeds. We have two of each with the exception of the silver ones. We have four of those.


Austrolorp ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )


Rhode Island Red ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )


Gold Laced Wyandotte ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )


Silver Laced Wyandotte ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )


Brahma ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )


Last edited: Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:41 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 228 times


Water For The Chickens

Category: Chickens | Posted: Wed Aug 13, 2014 12:36 pm

I've been wanting to get an automatic waterer for the chickens. Not too long ago I saw one at Rural King. It was simply a 5 gallon plastic bucket with watering nipples attached to the bottom for $30.00. Being a cheapskate, I set out to build my own.

I bought the nipples for $4.99 and used a bucket and float that I already had on hand. It took all of about 15 minutes to complete and works great.




Automatic Chicken Waterer ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )





Last edited: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:15 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 182 times


Thirty Minutes of Tranquility

Category: Chickens | Posted: Wed Jun 25, 2014 10:10 am



Last edited: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:16 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 200 times


Letting The Chickens Out

Category: Chickens | Posted: Tue Jun 17, 2014 9:46 am

I let the chickens out of their pen for the first time yesterday to get them used to being out in the open. I also wanted to see how much it was going to take to get them back in the pen.

They had a blast foraging the tall Bahia grass and mostly stayed right beside the pen. It was right before the sun went down so they were only out about thirty minutes. Just as the sun began to set they all ran back inside together.

I'll let them out late in the evening for a while. Eventually I will let them out earlier with the ultimate goal of allowing them to free range most of the day. We do have coyotes, hawks and owls so that is something that I have to be aware of. I haven't lost any of the other chickens lately, but it only takes one bad day.



The New Chickens ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )





Last edited: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:17 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 175 times


New Chicken Pen

Category: Chickens | Posted: Thu Jun 12, 2014 10:19 am

I've been working on a chicken pen. It is built from used fence boards. I had some old no climb fence wire laying around that I used on the top, front and one side. The other side is chain link that was already in place. I decided to make it two levels so the hens could be well off the ground. I don't think it turned out too bad considering I designed it as I went. The only money I spent was for the tin for the roof, screws, door hardware and a gallon of paint. Total cost, $128.79.


New Chicken Pen ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






The Entrance ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






The Run ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






The Brood Box ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






Double Ramp ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






The Upper Level ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )






Planter Made From An Old Pallet ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )





Last edited: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:17 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 203 times


Chickens In The Garden

Category: Chickens | Posted: Mon May 26, 2014 11:58 am

This is the first year that I have not had the chickens separated from the garden. I was kind of worried because I've read that chickens can really destroy a garden if left to run loose in it. Now that the season is well underway I can honestly say that it hasn't been that bad. Here are a couple of things that I learned from my experience this year.

1) The chickens absolutely loved borage seedlings and would eat them to the ground as soon as I transplanted them. However, if I protected them and let them get about a foot high the chickens left them alone.

2) They never once bothered the sunflower, pepper, squash or tomato seedlings.

3) Amaranth, okra, pole beans and cucumber weren't their favorites, but if left unprotected they would pick at them.

4) They definitely like blueberries, especially after they are ripe. The only way I could get any blueberries was if I covered the bush so they couldn't get at them.

5) This is the best squash harvest that I have ever had... and I have yet to find any bugs on the squash plants. My brother is less than a half mile away and can't keep the vine borers away.

6) In fact, I haven't found any bugs at all in the garden. I can't see how they could keep the tomato horn worm away, but so far I haven't seen one.

7) They pecked at a couple of the tomatoes and squash, but for the most part they left all the fruit alone (except for the blueberries).

So, it has been a give and take, but overall I think having the chickens in the garden was a success. It took a little more effort on my part to make sure the seedlings were protected, but after they got big enough the chickens would simply wander down the row and scratch. I'm thinking the little bit of work on my part was offset by the pest protection. The biggest headache has been the blueberries. If I can figure out a way to protect them next year then I might not put up a fence. We'll have to see.

Last edited: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:17 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 173 times


Thor Was A Mighty Chicken

Category: Chickens | Posted: Mon May 19, 2014 9:53 am

I spent the better part of this past weekend working on a new chicken pen for the 12 additions to the flock. My next project is a fence for the garden. It hasn't been too bad with only five chickens, but I don't even want to see what kind of havoc seventeen chickens could wreak on a garden.

So, a little explanation about the title of this blog entry is in order. Working on the new pen got me thinking about one of my favorite chickens (there's something that I never thought I'd find myself saying). You see, I never claimed to be much of an animal lover. In fact, I can say with certainty that I am not an animal lover. However, a couple of years ago I got extremely attached to, of all things, a chicken.

On a whim my wife and I decided to get some chickens so that we could have our own fresh eggs. We found someone close to our house that had young chickens for sale and we picked out five.

I never did figure out what breed two of the hens were, but the other three chickens turned out to be Golden Buff Orpingtons. Two were hens, but the one that I really liked was the rooster which I affectionately named "Thor" because of his striking color and large size.

He would run to me when I went into the field (I let them free range, only locking them up at night for protection's sake) and he was always gentle. He took care of his women too. I would search for crickets and drop them in front of him. He would start clucking and before long the hens would run over and gobble them up. I used to think he was wimpy for letting them steal his food, then I realized that he was actually calling them over. What a gentleman.

Unfortunately, Thor and his two Orpington brides were all killed by my brother's dog on the same day. I was devastated when I found them. I will admit that I actually came to tears. Of course, the other two chickens that I didn't really care for walked away scratch free.

We've had other chickens since then, but none quite like Thor. I still can't believe a chicken could have such an impact on me.

The picture below is not Thor, but I wanted to show what he looked like.

All hail Thor, the mighty chicken.


Thor ( photo / image / picture from eclecticgarden's Garden )





Last edited: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:18 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 189 times


Chickens In The Garden

Category: Chickens | Posted: Sat Apr 26, 2014 12:31 pm

I don't have a fence around the garden so the chickens wander in and out. I start everything in a small greenhouse and then transplant. The two plants that were hit the hardest was the okra and the borage. The squash, tomatoes, and onions were unscathed. They picked at some of the cucumbers and amaranth, but not too bad.

Also hit hard were the blueberries. Not the leaves mind you, but the fruit. They really enjoy eating the berries that are just about ready to pick.

There will definitely be a fence going up soon.

Last edited: Mon Aug 18, 2014 7:18 pm

This blog entry has been viewed 228 times




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