Really Small Eggs

Fart eggs.   Rooster eggs.  Whatever you want to call them, it’s the term for a teeny tiny egg that sometimes gets laid and often has no yolk.

They can be laid by new layer whose bodies aren’t used to laying eggs yet,or by older hens who may be having reproductive issues.

I found one in the coop last night at bedtime.

Now, we do have two little hens who are just a little over 20+ weeks, and who have started hanging out in the coop more, checking out the nests.  One is our chocolate Orpington, Hershey.  The self-proclaimed Queen of Fluff.

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Hershey, getting cozy in the beds lately.

The other, of course, is her sister, the ever curious little Pavel.  Pavelle.

The only thing keeping me from thinking it’s Pavel’s egg, though, is the fact that this little egg is a nice brown color, and the egg Pavel hatched from was more of a very pale peachy-pink.  Almost white, but not quite.

Now, there is also Abby, who could decide to go back the business of laying eggs any day now.  Just because it’s winter is no reason to think she won’t.  She went right back to it last winter, with Pip sitting in the empty nest beside her because he had no clue what his Momma was doing.  (and the proceeded to sit in the nest with her newly laid egg afterwards, because apparently she’d left it alone and it needed baby sat.  Ah, Pip!  A big brother, even then!)

We also have all the Rhode Islands Red who’ve been in and out of various stages of molting this winter.

So… anyone could have laid the teeny tiny egg, really.

A few more pics for size comparison.  We had a normal-sized tiny egg (which I assume is Hersehy’s new egg?) the day before, in the same nest.  So it could be Hershey’s tiny fart egg.

As you can see, it didn’t have a yolk, just incredibly thick whites.  And the shell was hard to crack.  Like really.  It was thinker than I imagined it would be.

 

Snow Birds

I’m needing to post pictures of chickens doing Chicken Things today, and since the temperature decided to warm up and the wind isn’t blowing, they decided to oblige me.

I give you…the snow birds.

On this November Day

I have a lot of things to update on today.

I’ll start with Abby.  I reported earlier that she had gone broody while I was fussing over Ashley’s impending hatch date. I decided to order her some Easter Egger eggs to hatch, and they came from My Pet Chicken last Friday.

They shipped quickly, but got sent to the wrong post office, and almost went back to Harrisburg for re-distribution before I caught up with them. It would have taken another week to get them back, almost. Instead, I went to the post office they had been sent to, the next town over, and got them myself. Because there was no way I was making Abby stay on the fake egg longer than she needed to.

Yesterday marked Day 7. Next Friday, I will candle them and see how they are doing. Hopefully, they all will be okay, despite their weird shipping ordeals and the late fall conditions.

Now, onto sadder news…

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Stacey is STILL pacing.

It’s been months since I first reported the oddity of Pacing Stacey.  The situation has not changed.  I’ve tried quarantining her, putting her in a smaller cage so hopefully she won’t pace (she did anyway).  I’ve tried watching and frequently removing her from the coop.  I’ve asked on-line for advice.  And last week, I asked a vet.

The vet was astounded and said she has never heard of that before.  She is a chicken owner, too.  We tossed possibilities around and then she said that IF I brought Stacey in, the most they could do was prescribe antibiotics and hope for the best.  I told her I was thinking about euthanizing Stacey.  She understood, but added that if I decided to keep her over the winter, to let me know how things progress.

Things I know:

  1. Stacey is still laying eggs.  I’ve seen her.
  2. She’s lost weight, and while she’s not starving, she’s a considerable size smaller than her same-breed, same-age flock mates.
  3. She’s obsessive about this.  Like OCD obsessive.
  4. The other hens are getting annoyed with her and have started pecking her when she gets close to them.

I don’t see how #4 is going to change over the winter.  They will in closer quarters when they are trying to decide if they want to venture into the cold white and most of the older girls are molting.  They are cranky.  Stacey is annoying.  It’s a BAD combination.

Thus, I’ve decided the only course of action, after months of trying to figure this out, is to put us all out of her misery.  Euthanize.  Freezer Camp.  Whatever you want to call it.

I feel bad.  I wish I knew something else I could do to take this away from her.  Make her normal and happy again.  Since I cannot, I must do what’s right for the rest of the flock.

Freezer Camp has been scheduled for tomorrow.  Stacey isn’t the only one to go.  We will be saying good-bye to the Boys of Summer.  Dani, Esther, Snickers, Sumi and Taller.

There was a lot of debate in the last few weeks about keeping one of Abby’s boys.

Esther was the only Easter Egger.  But with Abby sitting on six EE eggs, chances of getting another EE roo are good, too.

Sumi and Taller, the Sulmtaler Brothers are a rare breed. I tried to sell them online, but no one wanted them.  Then I missed the animal swamp because of my daughter’s cross country meet. Apparently, there was someone there with same-age female Sulmtalers.  DH said I could keep one to breed with if I got a hen.

I didn’t get the hen because I missed the swap.

I might have kept Sumi anyway, except I accidentally terrified him a week and ago.  It’s a short story.  The temperatured drops so that it was switching between sleet and regular rain.  He and Esther were hiding under the ramp.  I tried to get them both into the coop, wearing my winter hoodie.  He’s afraid of me now… like total full on freak out afraid.  He flies into a tizzy if I get near him and runs away.

Snickers is a big beautiful beastie, all chocolate brown and fluff.  But he’s also a bit untamed and wild. Not mean, just untouchable.

However, Dani is at 22 weeks and the rest of the Boys are at 16 weeks.

And, as noted, most the older girls are molting and cranky.  Dots is molting and cranky.

I have one little momma and four wee ones.

And one broody sitting on six eggs,with two weeks to go.

I found blood on the window ledge today where someone was scrapping with someone else.

It’s time thin the flock.  It’s time for Freezer Camp.  So the Boys of Summer will be joining Stacey on her journey tomorrow.

I’m REALLY going to miss them.  We’ve been having crowing concerts the last few mornings and afternoons.  Little roosters have such personality and do such amusing things.  Not to mention being beautiful.  Even Dani, who’s looks I wasn’t impressed with at first, has grown into a handsome, handsome mutt.  He’s tall like his papa and brother, and looks like bulkier.  Also, if we kept him, I think he’s more dominant than Pip.  Pip is definitely NOT an alpha.  Dani is.

Here is a good video of Snickers and some of the boys. I took a few more yesterday and the day before, I’ll most them to my Instagram later. There will be available here… or via the sidebar on this page.

Not many pictures of Stacey. All she really does anymore is pace. It’s sad.

Life in the Coop

This is my second Autumn with chickens.  It’s hard to believe that Double Dots, Abigail and their Rhode Island Red flock mates are a year and a half old now!

 

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And Pip, my beautiful baby boy, is going to be a year old at the end of November.  He’s a picture of him from back in September, when the weather was still warm.  His younger siblings have been getting a lot of camera time lately, but only because I’m trying to sell the Sulmtalers and that means taking pictures of them.

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Speaking of… look how handsome they are getting!  From left to right, we have Taller and Sumi.  Sumi is the more dominant,  He crows and everything! Taller is his buddy.

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Dani/Danny, who is now 20 weeks old and turning into a beautiful boy in his own right.  He has found his crow now.  It’s not quite his papa’s and not quite like big brother’s either.   He looks mostly like his Rhode Island Red heritage, except for that white streak in his tail feathers. He’s tall, finally getting some bulk on him.

Dots as begun chasing him, too, so now Pip has a bit of a reprieve in that regards.

I am beginning to wonder if Dani wouldn’t actually wind up being more dominant than Pip if we were to keep him.  His behavior is different than Pip’s, more assertive.  He walks around, growling and trying to catch the ladies’ attentions.  They, naturally, ignore him.

Pip chases him, too.  He and his Papa have similar ideas about the new kid on the block.

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For reference, a recent picture of Dots.  Molting has not been kind to him.  His beautiful tail feathers are gone, gone, gone.  But he still reigns supreme in the flock.

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Pretty Eugenie, who looks so much like her Papa and pretty much no one else.  You’d never know she has an RiR for a momma.

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Snickers, my handsome Chocolate Orpington boy.  He acts like he might have a dominant personality, too, someday.

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And Hershey, his sister, who is also very pretty.

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Pavelle/Pavel.  I took this one just this morning  She is so much smaller than her brothers and sisters. She can actually perch on the chicken wire!

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Es and Pavelle are snuggle buddies at night.  They go up into the rafters together and tuck in for the night.

I am still unsure what to do about Es.  He and his brothers have been listed for sale in the local FB sale communities.  If they aren’t taken by the end of November, they will be off to Freezer Camp.

A new wrinkle in my decision-making process?  Abby, my beautiful Abigail who is the momma to Pip and all these little ones?  Has decided to go broody.  Again.  Her 4th time in less than 2 years of life.

I found her tonight, still in the same nest she was sitting in this morning.  Still puffed up and bucky.  DH wants me to get (he means buy.  I’m looking at My Pet Chicken) hatching eggs for her.  Easter Eggers.

If I do that, then I also have to take Ashley’s babies into considerations.  Two broody momma’s raising babies over the winter?

That’s a lot of babies.  And a lot of potential new roosters.  I’d probably have to give up the idea of keeping one of Abby’s summer boys in favor of these new Littles to be.

 

 

It’s October, Already?

I’m honestly not sure where August and September when. One minute, I’m helping Little Dude with his 4-H projects and the next minute, school is starting, then both my children had their sport seasons start AND the garden started booming.

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These pictures are from last week.  The green beans are still flowering and still producing.   The carrots are doing well, too.  I’ve been slowly harvesting them, cutting into cubes and freezing for soups and stuff over the winter.

The cabbages did well.  I harvested, and discovered that if I left the plant in the ground rather than did the roots up, they will start growing a new head.  I don’t think any of them will be big enough to harvest before frost, but the chickens might enjoy them?

I had decent luck with the broccoli, too.  I need to check them again, but I suspect they will slow down eventually.

I’m waiting to harvest the potatoes and sweet potato. Also, the brussel sprouts, which I’m not sure what to do with.  I’ll probably Youtube “how to harvest brussells sprouts” soon.

Over all, I’m very proud of my experimental garden.  I’m already planning for next year.

Dad’s tomatoes, though… those things were the best.  So far, we’ve done over 30 quarts of whole tomatoes, spaghetti sauce, home made ketchup (first time ever), salsa, chili and home made tomato soup (also a first time ever).  The soup and ketchup were my idea and I can just say — yum!!!

 

And, of course, since this is my ‘chicken blog’ I have to talk about the chickens.  🙂

I have a lot of videos and kooky pics up on my Instagram.

The older ladies and Dots are all in various stages of molting.  Some of them look rougher than others.  Some of them (Abby, for example) barely looking like they’ve lost any feathers at all.  But the over abundance of feathers everywhere is a testament that they are molting.

When does this end?  Winter is fast approaching and I’m looking at my semi-balding birds and thinking “they will freeze!”  And “I can’t knit so so no chicken sweaters!”  Especially not for 30+ birds.

Actually, I am NOT an advocate of chicken sweaters.  They are bad for our birds.  Cute, but bad.  Just say no. Okay?

All the babies are getting bigger.

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Dani and Eugenie.

 

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Pavel or… Pavelle … or who, I have been assured by someone on Instagram is, in fact, a pretty little girl.  🙂  She’s sweet and intelligent and loves to ride on my shoulder and ‘talk’ to me.

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“Esther” who is NOT a girl, but a handsome little cockerel.  I’m torn between renaming him Eddie or simply shortening Esther to Es.

I’m in the process of negotiating with my DH to let me keep him, along with Dots and Pip.  We have enough hens to justify three roosters and Esther is the low boy on the totem pole.  He might fit in just fine.   Plus,I read somewhere that an Easter Egger + a brown-egg layer will produce Olive egg layers.  IF  Es were to mate and I were to hatch those babies, I could potential have olive green eggs some day?

DH is thinking about it.  He wants Easter Eggers.  Es is our only survivor.  It could happen.

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The Sulmtaler Brothers.  I call them Sumi and Taller.  I shouldn’t name them.  If I can’t sell them, they are off to Freezer Camp by the end of November.  But they’re so cute.  And Sumi crows better than Dani does!

The chocolate orps (whom I have no pictures of because they won’t hold still for me) are boy & girl.  The little roo, I call Snickers.  He’s cocky and I think he’s been trying to establish dominance over Sumi.  They’ve been squabbling.   He also tried to mate with an Australorp yesterday. I wish I’d gotten a video of that because she went off on him, claws up and everything.  All the rest of my hens are pretty docile so I’ve never seen that happen before.

The hen is Hershey.  She is sweet, but standoff-ish.  She likes her privacy.

 

 

As the instagram caption says, Stacey as has been acting weird.  She paces the coop ALL DAY.  Always.  It looks like she’s looking for a nest box, but she never gets in one.  I don’t know what’s actually going on and Google is not my friend.

This is Ashley. Aka Ashe… some of you may remember Ashe was the little Australorp who kept the injured Baby company when they were chicks.   She is going to be a momma in about 2 1/2 weeks.  🙂  It will probably be my last Broody of the year, as winter is approaching.

Chicks, Bigger Chicks and Flock Updates

Wow!  It’s been 3 weeks since my last post about pretty much anything.  I’ve been posting things on my Instagram, but it’s easy to post to Insta where I need time to sit and type up a post here.  Especially if I want it formatted nice.

So anyway, yesterday this happened…

… and it happened again today!

Yesterday marked 6 weeks for Abby’s babies.  She celebrated it by, as you can see, laying an egg.  The chicks didn’t really celebrate it.  They were too busy being lost, confused and at times scared.  You see?  Yesterday, there momma decided that they were big enough to fend for themselves and she went back to doing Hen Things.

They day before yesterday?  She was still Momma.  Yesterday, she was Abby the Hen.  Not the Momma.

You see the source of their confusion?

They stick together, not unlike Dani and Eugenie did at that age.

Speaking of…

Eugenie and Dani, age 12 Weeks.
Dani has been crowing, though not often.  He has been increasingly chases by the older hens and sometimes (but not often) Pip.

In the past few weeks, there has been a clear division among the roosters.  Dots has the most hens.  He hols sway over the the whole barnyard.  Pip has a small handful of 3-5 hens who follow him around.  He helps protect and also looks after the younger ones.  Like Eugenie, Dani and Abby’s babies.  He is a good big brother, and turning into a decent boyfriend for the hens who have decided they like him.

Dots still chases Pip.  It’s a rooster thing.  They don’t fight, though.  I’m glad.

Dani has been regulated to Pip’s old status as the flock loner.  Even Eugenie has started hanging out with the pullets and trying to make friends with the other hens. She perches in the rafters at night.  Dani sleeps on the window ledge or the very lowest roost.  They still eat together, though, if no one chases Dani off.

Dani has made attempts to establish dominance over Abby’s chicks.  He challenged one of the Sulmtaler Boys last week.  Sadly, this was when Abby was still Momma and she went after him.  Which totally ruined his chances of having dominance any time soon.

Now that Abby is Not the Momma, things may change.  For now, her babies are sticking together, as there is safety in numbers.  They are also sticking to the weeds and bushes on the side of the fence.  Good coverage.  She taught them well. 🙂

I am looking to Rehome any of the Boys.  If you’re in the NY/PA/Maryland area and don’t mind meeting “somewhere in the middle” you can contact me here, via PM.  Offer includes Dani (RiR/Gold Comet cross) the Sulmtaler Boys, and at least 1 Chocolate Orpington.

I still don’t know about the others yet.  Crossing my fingers for hens.  Especially Pavel.  My heart will be broken if that little chick is a boy.

Okay… update on the status of the coop.

How do you tell if you’re mite/lice free?  I treated the coop twice, as recommended and will probably do so one more time, just for good measure.  Same with the chickens.  Everyone got treated twice.  I still don’t see anything on the birds, other than around Dots and Pip’s vents.  I would need someone to hold them to get pictures, otherwise I can’t explain what I’m seeing.

I’ve been asked if I use DE in my coop.  No, I do not.  But my chickens free range in their pasture all year round. I don’t lock them up, even in the winter.  There are 3 decent dirt bathing spots inside the barnyard, with ample dirt.  One of them is a circle where we burn wood, branches and barnyard debris.  It is loaded with wood ask, which is also good for chickens to bath in.  So I’m not in the habit of buying DE when they have plenty at the ready.

I mentioned the last time that I’m just going to start adding preventative measures to my coop cleaning.  Spraying the walls, roosts, floors and beds when I take out the old bedding.  I’ve been doing that 3-4 times a year with deep little method, so spraying then should not be an issue.

I’m also wondering if I shouldn’t add a rotation of deworming prevention. I do give them things like cucumbers, pumpkin and squash, which I’ve read in several places that the seeds are good for natural deworming.

Anyway… check out the Insta or FB pages.  There’s been videos and pics.  Again, it;s easiet to post a quick pic when I’m busy than sit down to type up a post.  Life gets that way sometimes. 🙂

It’s Tuesday. Picture Time!

It’s Tuesday!  That’s picture day in the coop… or birthday picture day!  Dani, Eugenie and the Easter Egger baby were all born on Tuesdays.  

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Dani and Eugenie are 9 weeks old today.  

While I usually find them together – Claire taught them well, didn’t she? – I have noticed Dani sneaking into the coop with the pullets.  He tries to eat with them, and they chase him away.  Ah, young crushes!  

After he gets chased away, he finds his sister and resumes his duties of watching over her.  

They are not much difference in size, honestly, and now about ¾ the size of the March pullets.  (Well, some of them.  The Orpingtons and the Australorps are HUGE!)

At night, they snuggle in together just below the roosts. Sometimes, Eugenie likes to sleep on the roost with her papa, but Dots is not as receptive to Dani and will chase him.  So usually Eugenie will also leave the roost to stay with him.  

I worry what will happen to Eugenie when the time comes to decide Dani’s fate.  If he is culled, will she become a loner like Pip?  Or will Big Brother take her under his wing?  Or will she start hanging out with Abby’s babies?  

Speaking of Abby’s babies…

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This is what week 3 looks like.  🙂

The two Sulmtalers like to chest butt each other and Choc Orp #1 (top left in the college) has a big comb and little red wattles.  Yes, I have a minimum of 3 little roosters in this batch.  I have no clue how to gauge little Pavel, the Pavlovskaya or the Easter Egger, as all of these are breeds I am unfamiliar with.  EE (or Esther, as Little Dude calls him/her) is my biggest chick, with long dark wings and all that orange in the chest and shoulders.  So beautiful!  Hopefully a little hen I can keep.  

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Aren’t they adorable?

And lastly… my first ‘Baby Boy.’  Pip.  The no-longer Cute and Fluffy… but the Handsome and Funny.

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I took these pictures this morning.  Pip lead his ladies to the back gate and realized I hadn’t taken a picture of him recently.  He really is a beautiful little Pipsqueak.  🙂