Friday, March 27, 2015

News from the Peeps - Week 6!

It's getting kinda crowded in here Mrs. P!!

Hi Third Graders!

It was getting a little crowded in the brooder-box, given how much we've grown. And a little stinky too! Soooo ... drum roll please ... we moved to a great big brooder-coop in the garage!!

WOW! This place is HUGE!!

This place is HUGE! There's plenty of room to test our wings and run around, plenty of food and water, and a nice big box to huddle in at night for extra warmth, or jump up on top of to test our wings. We can even see the sky through a great big window! All we need now is a dust bath and a roost bar!

So, we started off each eating about a teaspoon of food per per day when we were cute, fuzzy little chickies ... now we eat about a pound of food per week!! We get wet, mushy food, kinda like oatmeal, in the mornings, and dry food in the afternoons so we can fill our crops (the first part of our digestive system) before going to bed at sundown (it helps us grow as we sleep!)

And I know you have been eagerly waiting to hear how many cockerels (boys) and how many pullets (girls) there are? Drum roll please ....... there are 25 cockerels, and 21 pullets! As you saw on Thursday last week, and in the pictures, it's pretty easy to tell between us!!

All this running around is thirsty work!!
When the weather stays above freezing, we'll move to an outdoor "Chicken Tractor" - which is a portable coop that can be moved around to allow us to graze on fresh grass & bugs each week. But for the time being, we're going to enjoy all the space we have in here! Chippeeeee!

Cheep, cheep from your Peeps!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

News from the Peeps - Week 5!

Hi Third Graders!

We missed seeing you on Friday :( But we're not quite ready to go out in the snow just yet, as we're still growing in our feathers. The girls are pretty much pullets now, having lovely, sleek, white {miniature} feathers from head to tail, and no signs of the fluffy, downy feathers that we hatched with. The boys, now cockerels, still have new feathers coming in on their shoulders, making them look a little scruffy yet, but look at those big pink combs and wattles! It makes them easy to pick out of the crowd.

You won't believe how much we've grown! We fill two-thirds of the brooder box now and we're almost ready to move into a bigger space. Problem is it's still too cold outside. So to get prepared, we only have a heat lamp on at night now (and our body heat keeps the brooder warm too) and then we have regular white lights (like you can see below) on during the day when we're more active ... and being active also keeps us warm (around 70º-80ºF) 

We eat alot ... when Mrs. P feeds us it is a frenzy to see who can get to the feeder first ... after she closes the wire lid that is! We love the food and treats we get, but we really are "chicken" when it comes to anyone reaching into the brooder, and we crowd frantically at the other end until all is clear. Then it's time to chow down! 

This pretty little PULLET (girl) has sleek white feathers and still a tiny comb.
This handsome little COCKEREL has ragged shoulders and some tailfeathers
starting to show, big feet (compared to the girls) and very pink combs and wattles.
We still don't know how many boys versus girls, as we move too quickly for anyone to count!

Mrs. P told us she built a new bigger brooder-coop in her garage, and that we'll be moving as soon as the weather hits 50ºF consistently ... hopefully next week — maybe the girls first (as they are fully-feathered) and then the boys a week later (giving them more time to feather out.) We can't wait to see it! Maybe then Mrs. P will be able to figure out the count of pullets vs. cockerels!

Well, so long as it doesn't snow, we hope to see you Thursday afternoon this week!

Cheep, cheep from your Peeps!

Sunday, March 15, 2015

News from the Peeps - Week 4!

Hi Third Graders!

It's getting a little crowded in here! We are growing every day and have a good lot of proper feathers now. The girls feathers look nice and sleek. The boys look a little rough-around-the-edges ... their feathers are not coming in so pretty as the girls. The boys combs are turning pink and are noticeably bigger than the girls. The girls combs are finer and still yellow.

The girls are sleek and pretty, with short yellow combs

The boys feathers are not growing as sleek as the girls, and their
combs are getting bigger and pinker.

Feeding time!! The boys head and shoulder feathering makes them easy to pick out of the crowd.
Mrs. Peiffer told us she is building a bigger brooder-coop for us to move into soon ... but we have to get all our feathers first, so maybe another week or two. It will be great to have some more space!

In other news, Midnight & Marigold's two sisters (Fancy Nancy & Cleopatra) laid their first eggs this week, and are now considered hens! We expect Midnight & Marigold to lay eggs very soon! They are just over 5 months old (23 weeks.)

The girl Leghorn Chicks should start laying eggs around July 1, maybe sooner as they are known to mature early.

We look forward to visiting you this Friday! You won't even recognize us! That's if Mrs. Peiffer can catch us ... we are so skittish and quick to run away!!

See you soon!

Cheep, cheep from your peeps!!

Friday, March 13, 2015

{Foto Friday}

A couple photos - simple captions - capturing moments from the week. 
Simple, special, extraordinary moments. 
Moments for which to pause, savor and remember. 

{inspired by}

Two of our "flock of four" have graduated from pullet to "HEN" status (first eggs laid this week!)
 ... not sure which ones though! The others should graduate any day!

A three-week-old White Leghorn chick, among 46 adopted from local Third Graders!

Another three-week-old White Leghorn chick, pretty sure a roo as he has short wing feathers,
large comb, and thick legs.

Here's our fluffy flock of White Leghorns - three weeks old!

Sunday, March 8, 2015

News from the Peeps - week three!!

An Ugly Duckling??
Hi Third Graders!

What's new this week? We are entering the "Ugly Duckling" stage ... our soft little downy feathers are starting to look a little crazy and fall out as our new feathers are forming and growing in. We are at least twice the size we were when we hatched. Some of us can fly to the ledge of the brooder when the cover is off, but no one has escaped successfully yet!

Our friends who came to visit you at school a couple weeks ago have been color-banded: Blue, Green & Purple on the "boys team", and Gold, Pink & Yellow on the "girls team."

The boys combs are becoming more pronounced (a bit bigger than the girls), while the girls tail feathers are really sticking out and their wings are getting longer!!

The girls have longer feathers, but shorter combs and thinner legs


The boys have shorter wings and tailfeathers, but more prominent combs, and bigger legs and feet.


Chicken facts: Leghorn chickens originate from Tuscany, in central Italy, and were brought to the United States around 1830. We are now one of the most popular breeds in the world because we are really good egg layers ... laying close to 300 eggs per year!! (That's 6 (sometimes 7) eggs per week!)

We have a single comb (the red, fleshy part on top of our head) and white earlobes (behind and below our eyes) ... which means we will lay white eggs. (Chickens with red earlobes like Marigold and Midnight, will lay brown eggs.)

We are known for being noisy chickens, and we're a little skittish or flighty around people ... you could say, we're a little "chicken"!!

Here are some pictures of what we should look like when we grow up...

I'm a White Leghorn hen (girl) ... I will lay white eggs.
I'm a White Leghorn rooster ... I'll wake everyone up in the
morning when I crow!

This is our all time favorite treat ... sprouted bird seed. YUMMY!

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Blueberry Crumb Cake

A delicious fruity crumb cake that makes a great breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea or dessert!! But then, who needs a formal meal time to eat crumb cake??! Made for great lunchbox treats for a couple days after too! This might become a regular accompaniment to breakfast-for-dinner!

1/2 cup/4oz (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk/buttermilk/kefir
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups white whole wheat flour (or all-purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
3 cups blueberries* - fresh or frozen
Heaped Tbsp flour
Optional: 2 Tbsp orange zest

Crumb Topping: 
4 Tbsp butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp cinnamon
Optional: crushed pecans

*NOTE: try using other fruits, like diced apples (think blueberry-size dices), diced peaches, crushed pineapple (may need to reduce liquids a bit), frozen raspberries, frozen strawberries, diced rhubarb ...

Coat an 8x13 baking dish (glass or metal) with melted butter/coconut oil and dust with flour.
Beat butter and sugar together with a mixer for a couple of minutes until combined to a creamy texture. Add eggs, milk & vanilla and combine until evenly dispersed (little beads of butter floating throughout.)
In a separate bowl, sift flour, baking powder and salt together.
Toss blueberries in extra 3 tablespoons of flour to coat.
Heat oven to 350ºF.
Slowly add flour mixture until just combined. Finally add blueberries (and orange zest) and mix until evenly dispersed. (Note: frozen berries will make the mixture VERY thick.)
Spread evenly in prepared 8x13 pan.
For crumb topping, melt butter and mix with sugar, flour and rolled oats until an even crumb texture.
Sprinkle on top of cake batter.
Bake around 30-45 minutes, or until light golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean.

Eat warm, with cream or ice cream for extra Y.U.M factor, or just plain, as-is. After it has cooled, it keeps well in a sealed container on the kitchen counter for at least 3 days (that's when we finished the last of it!)


Sunday, March 1, 2015

News from the Peeps - week two

We love our cozy brooder and our new roost bar (we're standing on it in the back there)
Hi Third Graders!

Week two has been very exciting!

We now have a roost bar in our brooder, because we like to get up off the ground and then try out our tiny wings! We also like to eat a little sand and grit to help us digest our food. And when we're not doing either of those things ... we sleep!

We like to take a nap in the sand/grit bowl ... it's nice and cozy for three of us!

The rest of us like to snuggle up close to each other when we nap.
Mrs. Peiffer calls "Chickadee, Chickadee!" when she feeds us and fills our waterer! And she sings to us to try and calm us down because we get a little scared when we see a big hand reaching in to our brooder!

We like to scratch around in the sawdust with our feet, a skill that we will practice a lot so when we get outside into a coop, or the garden, we'll do that to look for seeds, and bugs, and bits of grit to eat.

Chicken facts: For the first 4-5 weeks, we are considered chicks. Then when we are feathered out we become pullets (girls) or cockerels (boys). When the pullets lay eggs they become hens and when the cockerels crow "Cock-a-doodle-doo!!" they are roosters! Chances are our flock will be half girls and half boys. We'll let you know!

Those of us who visited you last week now have colored rubber bands around our legs, so we can keep track of whether we grow into hens or roosters based on the feather patterns we talked about.

Will "Purple" here be a boy? We think so because his wings are short, and tail feathers slow to emerge. His comb is a little bigger too.
Will "Pink" here be a girl? We think so because her wings are bigger and fuller, and her little tail feathers are really sprouting.
Cheep, cheep from your PEEPS!