Broody Hens & Baby Chicks

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So this is my little Pavlovskya-mix hen, Pavelle. You’ll all seen pictures of her before, because she is a very unique little bird.

Back in March, Pavelle went broody, but I refused to let her have eggs then because it was still too cold and snowy for little wee things.  She went broody again last month, and after a few days of watching her, we decided to let her have a couple of eggs.

Which hatched into the cutest little babies…

This one was the first one to hatch, a brown and yellowish chick that came from one of our olive egg layers.

The olive egg layers are all the children of last year’s Easter Eggers, Padme (the hen) and Luke (the ill-fated rooster.  Yes, he did father three little hens and one rooster before we sent him to freezer camp).  Best guess as to which hen supplied the egg?  The size of the egg suggested Iggy (the EE cross Pavelle raised last year) or Cocoa and Nutmeg.  Cocoa and Nutmeg I call my “Rhode Island Eggers” because they are the color of my RiRs and have EE cheeks.  I suspect their bio-moms were RiR with Luke as the father.

It will be interesting to see how this little one feathers out, won’t it?

And this little precious came from a small brown eggs.  I have a lot of smaller brown eggs right now, because all of the chicks from Little Dude’s Hatching Egg project are laying now.   This one, as you can see, is all-black and tiny.

I have only one all-black hen, little Bella, the ‘Mad Scientist’ chick that My Pet Chicken slipped into our order.

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Bella, the Mad Scientist. Which is just another word for some kind of cross. My Pet Chicken couldn’t even tell me what breeds went into making her.

Bella must be the bio/egg mom to the little wee black baby.

As to who sired them?  I have three roosters, and haven’t been around much to see who has been hanging out with whom.  I know what Philip (my little Leapy Boy) and Sylvester both have small followings and they are mostly the younger girls.  But it’s hard to tell right now.  Neither of them have feathered legs, which is possible with both of those two roosters.

And lastly… I will leave you with this…

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The Australorp in this video is Briar Rose. She seems to think she is going broody right now.

I guess it really is spring here on the farm… finally!

Well, It’s Spring

(We hope it’s spring anyway. Winter has not wanted to give up this year!)

And that means the return of green grass and bugs in the chicken pasture…

Darcy hunting for something yummy.
Chipmunk ♥️
Darcy, still hunting
Down by the pond
The crowd by the food dish.

And broody hens…

Yes, my little Pavelle is broody. She is puffed up like a little prickly pineapple and yells at you when you walk by, let alone look at her.

This is actually the second time she has gone broody since March, but it was colder then and still pretty snowy. I managed to convince her that it wasn’t a good idea at the time. Took all of four days for her to realize that it would not be fun to have babies in the snow.

She’s more determined this time around. I’ve decided that of she is still in “attack pineapple mode” (Pavelle’s version of broody) by Friday, I will give her a couple of eggs. Three or four. She will either give up by then or be full blown broody.

And the spring time fun begins.

Last weekend, I cleared some of the deep bedding out of the coop.

We still need to do some spring cleaning on the pasture itsself, but it’s been to snowy still to do much.

And I’ll leave you all with this message from Maicey…

Hello!!

My Flock Turns Three

Three years ago today, I became the proud Chicken Momma to 20 little sexlinked chicks.   Seventeen little yellow roo-lings and three sweet little hens.

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Weren’t they cuties? Looking back on it, we are pretty sure that the little rooster napping on My Girl’s chest is no other than Double Dots himself. He still loves to be picked up and cuddled, my little lap rooster. I suspect he discovered his love of hugs on that first night.

Of those original twenty, only two remain… Double Dots and his sister, Abigail.

I’ve talked about them a lot, because no one has personality than these two,   Dots is, of course, my main rooster.   He’s is a fierce protector, a gentle lover of his ladies, and an all around lovable bird.  Abby is the quintessential ‘mother hen’ and the boss of the flock.  She let’s Dots ‘think’ he is, but really, it’s her and always has been.

 

Here they are now, in pictures taken just this morning.   For three, they are still healthy and happy, although Abby gets a little cross with the younger hens and Dots is always grumbling about the ‘little roosters’ who are helping him watch the flock.

Happy birthday, Abby and Dots!  Here’s to many more!

 

One of These Eggs…

One of these eggs is not like the others

One of these eggs just doesn’t belong.

Can you tell us which egg is not like the others

By the time we finish this song?

So… thanks to Luke and Padme, I had four Easter Egger cross chicks hatched this past spring/summer. I was told they would told olive colored eggs and have been waiting to see it happen.

Looks like I got one!!!

Chickens In Sweaters

Every winter, this image or one similar to it shows up on my Facebook feed.  Inevitably, someone will tag me in it because they know I have chickens and that I love my chickens.

Now, I will tell you that because I love my chickens, I will never, never, never ever put a sweater on them.

They look cute, yes, but in reality, they are very bad for chickens.

First of all, chickens do not need sweaters to keep warm.  They have their own downy fluff and feathers to hep regulate their body temperature and keep them warm in the winter.

(Which by the way, is also why they don’t need a heated coop, either. )

Secondly, sweaters trap moisture and dirt inside, and provide an excellent home for parasites such as lice and mites.  Lice and mites are very bad for our chickens.

Third, sweaters can break pin feathers.  Pin feathers are the delicate, vein filled feathers on your chickens.   If broken, they will bleed.  If you don’t catch it and stop the bleeding, your chicken can actually die(worst case).

In the winter, when most well-meaning, but ill-informed people think chickens need sweaters, chickens are molting, and those pin feathers are very prominent with the growth of new sweaters.

Which leads to the Fourth… sweaters on chickens will actually impede the growth of new feathers.

Fifth… sweaters leaves chickens vulnerable to predator attacks (because a hawk or bigger bird can grab up a sweater and carry off your favorite bird) and accidental mating injuries (think talons caught in the knitting).  Not to mention getting caught on chicken wire and branches and stuff around your coop and foraging areas.

Lastly, sweaters prevent your chickens from dust bathing and preening, which is how they keep clean.

Please educate yourselves about this issue and say “No” to the custom of chicken sweaters. 

The Autumn Chicken Report

Or is it the Late Autumn Chicken Report?  Because winter is almost here people.   As reported in my last post, the chickens are in various stages of molt.  They look pathetic, although some of the earlier molters are almost feathered back.

Hopefully, the others will hurry up and NOT still be half naked by the time the snow starts sticking.

October (or rather the end of October) meant the return of Halloween, jack o’lanterns and pumpkin seeds.  I’ve always been jealous of pictures and videos of peoples’chickens pecking holes in pumpkins left out for them.  Mine do not do that. They ignore whole pumpkins like the plague and even broken up ones, they would just eat the seeds and not the pulp.

This year, however, they were more than interested in our post-Halloween offerings and devoured not only the pumpkin seeds and guts shown above, but six medium sized jack o’lanterns over the course of the first week of November.

I am glad they enjoyed it,  because in the next couple of weeks, I was tasked with the painful process of deciding which of them Summer Boys stayed and which ones were sent off to Freezer Camp.  If you’ve read my blog before, you know that I have a general weakness for roosters.   Between their beautiful plumage and strong, unique personalities, how could I not fall in love with the little buggers?  But every year, we hatch an average of 5-8 roosters and I’m only allowed to keep a minimum of three, depending on the size of my hen-to-rooster ratio.

This year, including Dots and Luke (saved from last year), we had a grand total of eights roosters.  DH said I could keep three this year, if one of them was Phillip, the smaller rooster hatched out of one of Pavelle’s little white eggs.   He is about half of Dot’s size and not likely to get much bigger.

So while the chickens were blissfully enjoying the pumpkin treats, I was looking at my roosters, talking to them, interacting with them, and trying to decide who should stay and help Dots keep his flock safe.

This is NEVER an easy decision for me, and the last time I had to do it, a mistake was made.   

I will probably never forgive myself for allowing DH to take Pip that day instead of Luke.  I miss him.  Everyday, I miss that little guy.   He was our first chick ever and worked well his father and mother in taking care of the flock.

Phillip (or Leapy as I call him sometimes), is Pip’s son from Pavelle and reminds me a lot of him, personality wise.

So, before I go into who got tickets to Freezer Camp, let me introduce to the Summer Babies.

Of these, the roosters were Philip, Gus, Cutie, Sylvester, Apache and A.J.

I have also thought at times that Darcy could really be a Mr. Darcy, but that one is either a late bloomer or a big hen.   So we aired on the side of ‘big hen’ and kept Darcy, for now.  She will winter over that will us time to see if she is really a he.  Or not.

This year, I decided to rectify the mistake of keeping Luke,making him first on the list for Freezer Camp.

We would be keeping Dots (as usual because it’s dumb to get rid of a good rooster, and I learned that the hard way with Pip) and Philip… so I had a spot for one more keeper.

The candidates I was deciding from were Cutie ( a light barred rock from Little Dude’s incubator project) and Sylvester, the only hatched buff brahma.  Of the Summer Boys those two were my favorites.   Cutie because he was so incredibly beautiful and Sylvester because he was raised by my Tweety girl and has always been friendly.

Like last time, I simply couldn’t decide right up til the end.  What it came down to was which one could I pick up without too much hassle.  Cutie always fights me until I got him in my arms.  But then he would settle in.   But he would still fight me.  So on Freezer Camp day, I made the decision in favor of keeping Sylvaster and letting Cutie go.

I hope that it doesn’t turn out like the Luke vs Pip decision.   I really don’t.   I couldn’t take that again.

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Incidentally, it really wasn’t “freezer camp” this year.  We decided to can them instead and got 9 jars, 8 pints and 1 quart of meat out of them.   They will be used to make soups and stews and maybe to grind up for chicken salad.   

 

The last thing we needed to do was give little Not Cocoa a better name.   She is part Easter Egger (because Luke is her papa) and part Rhode Island Red.   We called her Not Cocoa because we named Cocoa first and she is… not Cocoa.

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How hard is it to come up with a good name for me?  I’m adorable!

 

So we’ve been debating it a while, and finally, on Thanksgiving, we came up with a suitable name… Nutmeg.

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Lastly, I’ll leave you all with a picture of Double Dots and his ladies enjoying their Thanksgiving morning breakfast of oatmeal mixed with scratch grain, BOSS, meal worms and cranberries.