Mount Royal Farms Changing our world, one egg at a time. Mon, 29 Oct 2012 01:43:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 New Coop; The Recovery Room Mon, 29 Oct 2012 01:43:32 +0000 Post image for New Coop; The Recovery Room

A lot has happened at Mount Royal Farms in the last 5 months. Those little babies from the last post are all grown up now and a couple of them turned out to be boys. They are beautiful specimens, but roosters are prone to aggression so now they have to be separated. In addition, when they mate with the hens they can scratch the hen’s backs with their talons which can cause trauma to the hen. This in turn can affect egg production.

Recently Chris sought to remedy the situation by creating new spaces in the yard so all the chickens can have more breathing room and space to truly be “free-range”. The first thing he did was clean out part of the yard which was once a dog run. That area is connected to a room on the back of their garage which was once an outdoor home to the dogs and also a potting and storage shed. See the photo at the top of the post. This space has now been completely cleaned out and everything inside built with repurposed items. The only thing he had to purchase was the wire to go over the windows and some chain link fencing.

Don’t you just love the old shutter turned into ramp for the chickens?

Now we have the Rest and Recovery room for birds who need a safe space away from amorous roosters and pecking hens. Right now there are six lovelies in the space, and by the looks of it they are really enjoying it! They have plenty of fresh air and sunshine and a tree branch to roost on at night. Eventually, when they are all well enough, they will either be moved back into the main coop, or they will be allowed out in the side yard attached to the Recovery Room.

“Dude One” (below) is one of the babies from May’s brood. He had grown up into a big strong boy but is also very mild-tempered and allows Chris to pick him up and hold him like a baby. He currently gets to roam the fenced in main yard and lives completely cage free.

Dude Two lives in the fenced in side yard and watches protectively over his ladies in the Recovery Room.

We still have a rooster (named Chris) and three hens living in the “Maternity Ward”.

In the main coop there is a young rooster (Jude) who lives with the bulk of the laying hens along with the rooster Morton. Today they got to try butternut squash for the first time and they loved it!

They also have a new door which is going to let them out into a larger fenced in part of the yard during the day.

Thanks to Chris for doing such an amazing job with the additions and changes. They certainly have added such comfort, care and love to the chickens of Mount Royal Farms.

Flock Update; Births and Passings Sun, 06 May 2012 15:38:00 +0000 Post image for Flock Update; Births and Passings

There’s nothing like raising animals to enable you to see the entire cycle of life happen before your very eyes. In the past few months we’ve had the joy of watching our chickens create more of their own and the sadness of the passing of two of the Ameraucanas (from unknown causes).

A few months ago, Chris and Sharon built a smaller addition on to the main coop. The intent of this space was to be able to use it as an infirmary if needed and hopefully a nursery. After it was built some of the hens and one of the roosters were placed in there to give the others more space.

The first experiment was to provide two dozen fertilized eggs to Kristina’s uncle who took them back to Oregon and placed them in an egg incubator. Unfortunately, none of the eggs hatched because the temperature on the incubator was too hot.

Brooding Mama Cochin

However, here at Mount Royal Farms, it quickly became apparent that one of the Cochins had become “broody” and began to sit on her eggs and those of her coop sisters and not want to move. She was allowed to keep her eggs and sit on them. After a few weeks it seemed as if nothing was going to happen, then one day a tiny crack appeared in the shell of one of the eggs. This first chick did not survive the process, but then another hatchling appeared and suddenly…we had our first home-grown chick!

Chick #3

Chick #4 on her way out.

Over the next week five more chicks hatched, the last one struggling for her first 24 hours to survive. But don’t worry, she made it and her story is documented in the videos Chris took which you can watch below.

In this first video you can see her on a heating pad, right after she came out of the shell (with a little help).

And here she is after only 24 hours!

The chicks look a little like baby penguins at first…

Here at Mount Royal Farms we are thrilled to have our “six-pack” of chicks and can’t wait to watch them grow!

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Raising Chickens; An Update And A Trip To The Avian Vet Mon, 20 Feb 2012 01:10:57 +0000 Post image for Raising Chickens; An Update And A Trip To The Avian Vet

It’s been a few months and it’s time for an update on the Mount Royal Farms brood.

All the girls are doing quite well and are now producing about 9 dozen eggs a week! The eggs vary widely in both size and color, ranging from small to extra-large, from pale blue and green, to pink, copper, and brown. Now that there are so many eggs, the girls are starting to cluck for their supper. Chris has been able to bring extra eggs to his coworkers in exchange for their support of the coop. The hardest part is collecting enough egg cartons.

Eggs in the nesting boxes.

"Hurry up in there!"

There are four nesting boxes in the coop and quite often there is a wait while each chicken takes her turn laying. Sometimes one hen will push her way into one of the already occupied nesting boxes!

The chickens are now being fed laying hen organic feed, and in addition we’re blessed to have a friend who works at local farmer’s markets. Every week she gives us big bags of leftover organic vegetables and greens and the chickens are thrilled with the bounty. You can see it in their eggs because they have bright orange yolks.

Eating their greens. I love the black Cochens with their fluffy feathers covering their legs and feet. They look like walking pillows (see photo below too).


Breakfast at Mount Royal Farms.

There was a bit of a scare a couple of weeks ago when one of the girls, Twisty, got sick (photos of her at top and below). Do you remember the Ameraucana with the crooked beak? She stopped eating and clearly wasn’t feeling well. Chris brought her to an avian vet and it turns out she had some sort of infection (possibly from mites) but thankfully she wasn’t egg bound as we feared. She had a week of antibiotics and she’s just fine now! Phew!

Chris with Twisty, demonstrating how happy and healthy she is now.

Finally, I leave you with a photo of one of the Turkens, all grown up. There’s nothing wrong with this bird. This is the breed, Turken, and they have no feathers around their neck or shoulders. They may be a bit funny looking, but we love them just the same.

"Whatcha looking at??"

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Farm Update; The Flocks Have Merged! Mon, 07 Nov 2011 01:19:24 +0000 Post image for Farm Update; The Flocks Have Merged!

So much has happened in the last few months at Mount Royal Farms!

The second group of chickens were moved outside to the coop and placed in a partitioned section away from the older birds near the end of the summer. They have continued to thrive, even “Tweety Bird” the tiny Delaware, is almost full sized now. “Twisted Sister”, the Ameraucana with the twisted beak has done very well and is holding her own. The others have all grown into gorgeous examples of their various breeds.

Twisted Sister with Tweety in the background.

Copper Maran

One of the Cochins and one of the Buff Orpingtons

Finally, just this week, the partition came down and the two flocks were merged into one.
Chris said the move was done at night (so as to minimize the disturbance; chickens don’t see well at night). He says “They are doing well together and there does not seem to be any signs of pecking or fighting. This is a good thing as the second group of girls is about to start laying every day. None of the new flock have been able to go in the coop to explore because I think the older hens are protective of that space.”  He’s considering constructing an annex space for the younger birds to use for nesting.

Chris and one of the Barred Rocks

Ming Ming

Ming Ming

Once a few of the original group of chickens started laying eggs, it wasn’t long before most of the “older girls” were laying on a regular basis. There was even a “double yolk” phase for a while.

Double yolks!

The girls now produce an average of 7 eggs a day, of varying colors; brown to pink to green and blue. Contrary to what many people think, the colored eggs are not healthier than eggs with white shells, nor are the colors based on what the chicken eats. Different breeds lay different colored eggs. What does make an egg healthier on the inside (shell color notwithstanding) is the way the chicken is raised and what it eats. Mount Royal Farms chickens are as happy and healthy as they can be and those eggs are mighty tasty!

Colored Eggs

Finally, if you’d like to see one of the things we’ve made with the fresh eggs, check out the Fried Egg Sandwich with Fig, Caramelized Onion and Bacon Jam over on

Eggs! We have eggs! Sun, 21 Aug 2011 23:58:16 +0000 Post image for Eggs! We have eggs!

Like clockwork, every day after 11am, there has been one small perfect egg waiting in the coop.

This morning the four of us got together for a breakfast of scrambled eggs, biscuits made with the lard from our pig, and Sharon’s home made jams (apricot and fig/bacon/caramelized onion). The eggs were small but wonderful and dark yellow in color. There was just enough for everyone to have some.

Do you raise chickens? If so, leave a comment below and tell us what you made with your first eggs.



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What is that thing? (Shhh…it’s the first egg!) Thu, 11 Aug 2011 06:09:40 +0000 Post image for What is that thing? (Shhh…it’s the first egg!)

A note from Genevieve:

I swear it wasn’t my fault.

There it was: a sorta round thing that was just laying there.  We all played with it, you know, rolled it a little. Scratched at it…and no one would admit to putting it there, but I think that Americauna that fancies herself some sort of desert queen was the one…well, anyway, eventually I got bored and just ignored them all. 

But someone sat on it! I swear it wasn’t me—maybe Ming did it.  But really, what difference does it make, there was another one there all of a sudden. Where are they coming from?

P.S. (From Ming Ming)

That woman that comes here some time? She craaazzzy. She was just laughing like looney over that toy thing we were all rolling on. It no taste good anyway. No, not me that pecked at it. I like corn better.

(Post written by Sharon)

Introducing The Latest Additions To The Brood Fri, 08 Jul 2011 13:00:31 +0000 Post image for Introducing The Latest Additions To The Brood

The text below was written by Chris about the different breeds of the new chicks which came to Mount Royal Farms a couple of weeks ago. This brings the total chickens to 18, but there will be plenty of room out int the coop once the new chicks go outside. Photos by me (Kristina) as well as my comments below in italics.

The New Additions by Chris

The new additions to our growing flock have been a wonderful experience.  We stepped outside the box of what we had originally decided to buy, once we got to the breeder and selected 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Delawares, 2 Copper Marans, 2 Turkens, 2 Cochens and 1 additional Ameraucana.

These girls seemed much smaller than the original 7 that we purchased, in April.  Maybe it was just my perception but they really seemed smaller.  Our breeder stated that they were the same age as our first group of 7 chicks, around 2 weeks.  However, in the last 3 weeks they have grown so quickly that we are quite sure that they will be able to move to the outside within a month or so.

Let me describe them, as a proud parent would….

Buff Orpington Chick

The Buffs are adorable beige  BIG girls with very mellow personalities, at first neither one of them wanted to be picked up, no surprise there.  After about a week, I had both of them practically jumping into my hand.  These are the largest of the bunch, at this point, and I believe that they will be the largest of the flock. 
I always bring them to the window that looks out to the back yard, their future home, and show them the lay of the land.  They are still a bit “downy” with more and more feathers every day. 

Delaware Chick

The Delawares are much like parakeets, yellow with gray and white wing feathers, they both also very docile and mellow personalities.  One seems to be growing much slower than the other and I have been concerned about her, however, she is eating and drinking all of the time so I am not really too concerned. 

Copper Maran Chick

The Copper Marans are very interesting and we are not sure if we have boys or girls yet.  The breeder was not able to sex them before we took them home.  We are hopeful that they will be hens so that we don’t have to give them back.  However, our breeder did say that they would take them back if they turned out to be roosters. 
We’re not alowed to have roosters in Los Angeles. Also note, Copper Marans lay copper-colored eggs!-K
These chicks are black with very distinct combs forming on their heads.  They also have a single feather strand growing on each of their feet.  These two are feisty and do not like to be picked up.  I still do though, as I want them to tame a bit.  

Turken Chick

The Turkens are the most interesting breed of the bunch.  These girls have NO feathers or down on their necks!  They are completely bald with just skin showing.  It looks like they have little toupees on the tops of their heads and then bald from their ears down to their collar-bone.  The rest of their body looks like and Ameraucana, adorable, big eyes, skinny little necks, and lots of personality. 

Cochen Chick

The Cochens are probably the cutest of the bunch.  They are covered in feathers from head to toe…literally.  Their legs and feet are covered with feathers and when they walk it is more like a waddle.  So funny to watch, as they walk their little feet lift up and the flap of feathers over the top flop up and down.  They are also very docile and getting tamer and tamer every day. 

Ameraucana with a crooked beak.

The Ameraucana is our special needs girl.  She was born with a “tweaked” beak.  She is a bit funny looking but aside from that she is all Ameraucana, very feisty and full of energy.  We were worried that she might not thrive, but so far (knock on wood) she has been doing just fine.  She has beautiful markings and is one of the larger girls in this bunch. 
I think she is going to become everyone’s favorite. The breeder gave her to us for free because of her “specialness”-K

She may be "special" but she's happy and healthy.

So ends another chapter of Mount Royal Farms and our growing livestock.  We will hopefully see eggs from these girls in late December early January, provided the weather cooperates with them, or vice versa. 

All seems right with the world and our new feathered family members.  It has been an amazing journey, so far, and we’ve only just begun. Keep an eye on Mount Royal Farms in the next few months.  You’ll be surprised what we’ll have been up to. 


Remember the hummingbird nest in a previous post? The eggs have hatched and the photo below is of one of the baby’s beaks.

"Feed me!"

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The Parthenon of Peeps Part 2-The Reveal Thu, 23 Jun 2011 13:00:27 +0000 Post image for The Parthenon of Peeps Part 2-The Reveal

See that Ameraucana chicken? That is one happy girl with lots of room to roost! Isn’t she beautiful?

If you missed part 1 of building the coop, make sure you check it out.

Once the foundation was laid, Chris and Sharon started building the framing for the external structure which is is 12×16 feet. It has full-sized doors with latches on either side and is wrapped in “hardware cloth” on all sides, doors and even the roof.
We have predators, even in the city, who would like nothing more than a tasty chicken dinner and our goal is to keep them OUT.

While I did not get to participate in most of the construction, I did spend the better part of a weekend painting every inch of green on the coop and external frame. Everyone pitched in; even David volunteered some construction time and Morton kept us supplied with coffee and sandwiches.

Building the frame and cutting the hardware cloth for the roof sections.

Inside the enclosure is the coop itself. It sits on an elevated platform and is approximately 5×5 feet square and about 4 feet tall inside. There are 3 nesting boxes and several perches inside the coop. On the back of the coop is a hinged door which can be raised for access to the nesting boxes. There are two wide barn doors on either side to make cleaning easier.

Inside and back of the coop.

While a lot of new wood had to be purchased for the construction, it’s important to note that a lot of old wood was recycled into this project. Most of the 5×5 coop was built using recycled wood. The defining design element of the front of the coop, the pediment and columns of the “Parthenon,” came from a bookcase which had been sitting in Chris and Morton’s garage for the last 10 years and was repurposed for the exterior.

The "Parthenon" before being painted.

Chris built a nice ramp out of scrap wood and used tree branches for the treads.

Happy in their new home.

Feeder and water jug (which will be suspended from bottom of coop)

The final coop! There are some large fallen tree branches inside the coop for the chickens to sit on and plenty of room for them to peck and scratch at the grass for insects. Happy chickens = happy eggs.

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Coop Update; The Parthenon of Peeps Part 1 Wed, 22 Jun 2011 14:42:47 +0000

So much as been done in the last few weeks I’m not even sure where to begin. The short version is that the girls are now happily ensconced in their new home and there are 11 new chicks in residence!

But how did we get here?

In the last post I referred to the “Taj Majal of chicken coops,” given the sheer size of the coop, but due to some design changes, the coop has been renamed the Parthenon of Peeps.

The bulk of the building was done by Chris and Sharon who laid a concrete foundation around the perimeter and then built the sections of the frame using 2x4s and 4x4s.

Cutting the support posts

Laying the foundation

Sharon, Chris, and Morton

The external structure is 12×16 feet. It has full-sized doors with latches on either side and is wrapped in “hardware cloth” on all sides, doors and even the roof. We have predators, even in the city, who would like nothing more than a tasty chicken dinner and our goal is to keep them OUT.

Inside the enclosure is the coop itself. It sits on an elevated platform and is approximately 5×5 feet square and about 4 feet tall inside. There are 3 nesting boxes and several perches inside the coop.

Putting the back door on the coop for easy access to eggs.

This mama bird was sitting on her own nest overseeing the building project. I think this photo might be larger than lifesized.

Coming next; the big reveal….
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Chicken Update-8 weeks Wed, 01 Jun 2011 04:47:24 +0000

The “girls” are now almost 8 weeks old and they are getting BIG. Here’s some updated photos from last weekend. Coming soon, more on the Taj Mahal of chicken coops. The building has begun!

The girls like to sit on Chris' shoulders (and sometimes head) in the morning.

This Ameraucana is becoming my favorite. She has a bit of a ruff which makes her look a little like a hawk.

This one is an Ameraucana, but with unusual black and white coloring.

They are outgrowing their box!

"Pretty little maids all in a row."