The Easter Egger Curse

If you’ve been following my blog at all, you’d know that DH and I have been on a quest for some time now in regards to Easter Eggers.   That is to say, we want them and they are eluding us.

All the EEs we have attempted to let Miss Abby brood have either died (infertile eggs, broken eggs, died after hatch, etc), disappeared (the two missing ones from this last hatch) or been a rooster (Esther).

I had boldly declared that these last two – whom I preemptively named Leia and Padme in honor of Little Dude’s Star Wars fixation – were being kept no matter what they turned out to be.  Boy,girl, hen, roo. Did not matter.  I was keeping them.

I am keeping them.  Both them.

Even though Leia decided to CROW at me this morning at breakfast time, crushing my hopes that she was just a tall henny.  But no.

My Leia is not Leia.   He is… TBD.  I guess we’re going to vote on a new name tonight at dinner.  Options are Luke, Han, Chewie, or (possibly) Anakin.   But no Darth Anything… I will NOT be raising little Sith Lords.

 

 

The Scaredy Babies

Abby’s little ‘egger babies’ (as I have affectionately called her Easter Egger chicks since they hatched in November) are babies no longer.  Sort of.

They are approaching 17 weeks now and, of all our chicks, are a bit antisocial and – dare I say it – scaredy cats.  Scaredy birds even.

What are they afraid of?  I’m not really sure.   The first and most logical answer is Double Dots and The Big Hens.  Because when they were little chicks, Momma taught them that The Big Hens were to be respected at a safe distance.  And Dots, while not necessarily mean, is big.  And BIG = Scary in little eyes.

Yeah, that makes sense.

But there is also the niggling memory of the two other Easter Egger babies.  The ones who vanished on the day Abby took her four little ones on their first outing into the Run.  She had been missing the outdoors and it was a nice, not cold, not rainy or snowy day and she went out, expecting her Littles to follow her.  I had taken a picture of them contemplating the door, but thought they wouldn’t go because they were afraid.  You could hear it in their voices.  Later, at lock up, I made the discovery that two of the babies were not there with Abby.  And the next day, I made an even worse discovery – blood droplets on the ramp of the run.  They had gone out.  And there had been Trouble.

No bodies.  No other signs of struggle.  But Abigail, the ever constant helicopter momma, kept her two remaining chicks close to her side and safe inside the coop for the rest of the winter.  Unlike Pip, her first winter baby, these two rarely saw the light of day unless it came through the coop window.  And then it got snowy and no one went out anyway.

Regardless, it’s almost spring now, and things are turning green, and Abby is off doing Hen Things and no longer mothering chicks.  So no one has told the Easter Eggers that it’s safe to go outside now.  Oh sure, they see everyone else rushing outside when I open the door to the run.  But do they follow?

Nope.

In fact, the only time these two go outdoors is when I pick their little butts up and carry them outside.  And when I do, they only stay outside if too many Big Hens are blocking their route back into the coop.  Because, it turns out that despite being almost as big as the rest of the flock now, they are still terrified of the Big Hens.

I have no real feelf or whether they are hens or roos.  I suspect hens, as there is a decided lack of saddle feathers, so I have been calling them Leia (the dark one) and Padme (the lighter one).  Because Little Dude wanted Star Wars names and I didn’t want to name them Darth Maul and Darth Vader.

However, more recently, my friendly little Leia has started to concern.  In rare video footage of them – gasp – outside, you can see Leia showing more of a rooster-like stance.

 

As the caption suggests, I can’t really tell.  Leia has roo-like qualities in this picture.  At 17 weeks, still no signs of saddle feathers, but she’s still taller and more upright than little Padme?  Could I have a little Luke or Chewbacca on my hands?

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.

 

The Flock Update

Well, I promised an actual flock update, because I haven’t given one in a while.

There’s not much to say about the old ones.  They hate the nasty Cold White and some of them are still in various stages of molt.

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Like Amy,who waited until the week of Christmas to drop all her feathers at once.  You can’t see it from this picture,but her entire underside is BARE NAKED.  It happened over night.  She is currently in the prickly ‘porcupine’ stage.

Is this normal molting?  I envisioned them losing their feathers in October/November…not January! And yet, aside from Amy, I know I have at least four more hens who are in the midst of a slow molt.  Does it always take this long?  I’m so glad we haven’t have negative temperatures, because they would freeze!  Especially Amy!  I mean, look at her!

I’ve been feeding them Feather Fixer  mixed in with their regular food, because I heard it helps them molt quicker/get over it faster.  Whatever.  I don’t think its working. Or else it is working and they would be molting until June without it???  Again, is this normal for it so long???

Seriously,because I feel so bad for the poor cranky things!

Now…since it is cold and windy today, and the flock all opted to stay inside and bug me while I attempted to clean their beds and fill the feeding tubes, I did manage to get pictures of Ashley’s Babies.  They are eleven weeks old. as of yesterday.

The tricky part is that all the white ones – Max and the Dalmies – kind of remind me of Eugenie at that age.  She was big,had a slightly pink face, which stood because she is white, and I wasn’t sure at first if she was a henny or a slow-developing roo.  Keep that in mind as you look at the white chicks.  Feel free to click the pics to make them bigger.

Miracle Max

Max looked like a boy when he/she was little,but now I see inklings of a little hen.

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Max on the right.  Dalmie # 1 on the left. A behind view.

Dalmie #1

I think this is the same one I named Dalmie #1 in previous pics. Not sure.

Dalmie #2

Dalmie #2.

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Dalmie #2 (center) with Felicia and Pip

A gentle reminder that as per Twiglet’s comments on prior posts, we think Pip is the father of the Dalmies.

Felicia 

So… I’m betting anything that Felicia is really Felix.  If this chick starts laying eggs in the spring, I will be so surprised.

Well, that’s the scoop on Ashley’s Babies.   If you’re up for a game of “Henny or Roo?”  Feel free to take your best guesses in the comments.

ETA:  If anyone is interested in comparing these chicks to Dani and Eugenie at roughly the same age…

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Eugenie,of course, is the white one!

 

And now… here’s a special treat… Abby’s baby Easter Eggers.  The will be 8 weeks on Thursday.

These chicks don’t have names.  I’m trying not to name them until I know what they are.  That, and Little Dude wants to name them after Sith Lords.  And I don’t want an Easter Egger named Darth Maul.  *sigh*

The darker chick is smaller, really skittish and mouthy. Based on behavior alone, I think she’s a hen.  She is curious about me, but afraid to come close.  She likes treats and will eat out of my hand and then yell at me for more when I walk away.

The yellow/buff-ish one is bigger and less skittish, but standoffish.  Like a little rooster-in-training.  He also likes treats but doesn’t demand them, like his sibling.

Now… these chicks are staying.  When the other 2 vanished without a trace, I told DH that under no circumstances were we sending either of these to Freezer Camp if they were roosters.   Why?  Because he told me I could keep Esther if I really, really wanted, but I flip flopped, and then he said “well, you do have Abby’s 6 eggs.”  So I aired on the side of Abby having potentially 6 new EE chicks.

This is why you don’t count your chicks before they hatch, people.  Pavel hasn’t forgiven me for sending her favorite brother to Freezer Camp… and Abby only has two chicks.

So…unless the little yellow/buff one has major dominance issues with Dots and Pip, these chicks are here to stay.  No matter what.

I’ll end this post by pointing out anew section of the blog I’ve just started working on.  Meet The Chickens, a series of bio pages for my flock so that when I say  Dots, Abby, Jolene, Wilda… you know who I mean.  I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but for various reasons, I just haven’t.  Mostly because I have over 30 birds at any given time and it’s hard to pinpoint their personalities at a glance.  Look for me to do a page or two a month, highlight each bird. Hopefully by the end of 2017, I’ll have gotten them all on there.   Right now, it’s just Dots.  🙂

Happy Birthdays and Sad Goodbyes

So today is Pip’s birthday.   He is 1 years old today! 

Isn’t he handsome?  I gave him banana for a morning treat.   He shared it with a henny.  He’s a good boy!  

And now, for the bad news.  

Abby is down to two baby Easter Eggers.  I don’t know what happened to the other two.  They were there with her yesterday morning.  Little Dude and went to clean the coop after church and they were all there.  

I took pictures of them for their 1st week-aversary post.   

All FOUR of them.  

This morning there are only two.  

I can’t even guess what happened.   😦 

Chicks!

So here’s an update on all the chicks.   Abby’s and Ashley’s both.

So, I’ll start with Abby’s chicks.  Most of her eggs hatched yesterday, a day early.

Five of them hatched yesterday, and Abby held on to the other egg until mid morning and then she moved off the nest to eat and drink.  When she does that, I know the egg won’t hatch, so I removed it.

Of the five remaining babies, one of them passed sometime this afternoon.  I found it when I came back from grocery shopping.  Sad because it was the cutest one (IHMO) and the one I liked the looks of the best.

I am very disappointed about the little yellow-ish colored one. He was different looking from the others.

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Pip!

Okay, so Pip isn’t one of Abby’s new Littles, but he washer very first Little.  He spent most of yesterday going in and out of the coop, pacing and just seemed to be hanging out. He and Abby have a special bond. I have often observed that even though most people don’t give chickens credit for ‘family ties’ in the way we humans think of family, Pip and Abby seem to have it.  He has ‘helped’ watch after her other hatches, being the protective big brother to Pavel, Hershey and the Boys all summer.  He is respectful of her.  In my mind, he was pacing the coop yesterday because he could hear the change in her soft buck-bucks and hear the peeps of the babies,and he knew that his Momma was having her babies.

Today is a different story and he was outside helping Papa Dots watch over the flock!  But yesterday he was waiting to be a big brother again. Pip, btw, will be 1 year old on the 29th. Happy Birthday, Baby Boy!

Now… Ashley’s babies… some of whom could either be Pip’s little siblings or offspring depending on which hens mated with which rooster… are going to be four weeks old this Sunday.

They are STILL here. They are, however, very difficult to ‘pen down’ to get pictures of. Ashley has kind of reared them to be wild.   I walk out to watch them and they run as far away from me as they can.

I did manage to scoop them up and get some comparative pictures tonight, so we can see how they are, and make some early guesses on Hen or Roo.

First up here is Miracle Max.  Max is the biggest.  No longer yellow, he is mostly white, reminding me a lot of Eugenie.  He (I’m guessing Roo) has a big comb, which is already slightly pinkish and the beginnings of jowly wattles.

This one is is Dalmie #1.   She has a black spot on her back and a little higher up on her shoulders, otherwise all white. Smaller comb and almost non-existent wattles. She’s slim in body and has slightly more slender legs.

In case you can’t guess, I’m betting on a little henny with this one.

This is the Dalmie #2.  He has a big comb and the start of jowly wattles, but his comb isn’t as pink as Max’s.   He’s mostly white, but with a strip of black in his tail and a splotch of up in his hackle feathers.

I included a picture of his feet. Both of the Dalmie’s have slightly grey legs.  It’s like a combination of the Golden Comet yellow with the grey of the Australorp.   I’m willing to bet anything that the Dalmies are white Australorp crosses.

 

This is Felicia, aka the Cinnamon Bun.  I promised a friend I would name one Bye Felicia… and this is the one we chose to bear that name… and I can’t decide if Felicia is really Felicia…. or Felipe.   Smaller comb, but bigger than Dalmie #1’s.  Slightly noticeable jowls… but not quite.

This chick also is one of the bolder of the four, and I’ve seen him/her butt chests with Max.  That’s usually a sign of a boy, except that I’ve seen hens do it, too, even at that age.

Felicia is my Question Mark.  Hen, Roo… this chick is going to keep me guessing.

And while you all are guessing … here’s a video I took this morning of the four of them, plus Ashley, playing  a rousing game of “It’s mine! It’s mine!” with something they foraged out of the grass.

 

One of these days, I need to write down my thoughts on the different types of chicken parenting I have observed this year. Abby, Claire and Ashley each have exhibited vastly different styles of chick raising. Abby is a helicopter mom, always close to her chicks, always near by. Vicious if you threaten them. She isn’t afraid to lay into the hen or rooster who get close to her babies. She barely trusts me with them. Claire is an overseer, who leads her babies outside,demonstrates skills and watches them practice til they learn. She lets them roam, but guards the space she’s designated as theirs. No one goes in or out without her leave. Ashley is very hands off and scatter brained. Her babies follow her, learn from watching, but she often just wanders off and leaves them alone while she forages elsewhere. They freak out, cry and cry until she returns. Vastly different from my other mother hens.

Yes, that is a post for another day,when I have more time to collect and present my thoughts. 🙂

 

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.

 

 

Broody Ashley

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so this is Ashe, all grown up into the very lovely Ashley. My Girl insists we call her Ashley, since she isn’t a boy, but I still call her Ashe.

Ashley is 6 1/2 months old and very broody.  She spent two weeks being buck-bucky and pulling her feathers out of her chest.  Literally, she was bald on her underside but wasn’t sitting on eggs.  I actually thought she was sick or something, because she’s too young to molt.

Last Thursday, she was walking around puffed up and screaming at everyone, challenging other hens at bedtime.  Being really confrontational.  Still not on a nest.  I’m thinking, “someone pissed Ashe off!”

Friday morning, she had chosen a nest and tucked in on two eggs. That was the point where I said “ahhh!  This is what a broody Australorp looks like!”

She spent Friday and Saturday nest hopping, mostly because she kept choosing nests that other hens like to lay eggs in.  The other hens, some of them older and scarier, forced her out of said nests.  The nest thing is a common problem.  I don’t exactly know why because we have 28 laying boxes.  That’s one box for each laying hen, plus a couple empties.  But they lay in … 4 – 6 of them.

I know… I have nothing.  I don’t understand chicken logic.  I’m pretty sure it isn’t logic.  But there you have it.  28 boxes, 24 hens, 3 more young pullets who start laying soon… plenty of boxes.   They use a max of 6.  (If I ever convince DH to revamp the coop in any major ways, I will insist on fewer boxes, maybe like 12 or 15, and more roosting areas.  Perches and ladders.  But I would need to convince him first. ;-))

By Sunday night, however, Ashley had managed to find a box no one cared about, settled in on a ceramic egg (I have an egg eater.  I slipped ceramic eggs into some of the boxes to discourage her until I can figure out which hen she is. We’re all betting on Stacey, given her weird behavior but have not caught her doing anything naughty.)  and puffed up grumpy.  When she stayed there, same nest through half of Monday, I selected six of our own eggs and slipped them under her.

 

Ashe’s eggs.  I do NOT know which hens are responsible for these eggs.  Given the color and size, I am hoping a good sampling of all my breeds.  At least as far as the mommas are concerned. 

The darker eggs are most likely Rhode Island Red, or possibly the sexlink/Comets.  I chose a sampling of colors and sizes, to get hopefully, some eggs from my older and younger flock.

Dots and Pip have both been active mating with their girl friends, so either could be the Papa.

I had considered sending away for more Easter Eggers.  But the nice lady I bought Pavel and her brothers from couldn’t verify fertility this last in the year, and My Pet Chicken couldn’t ship until next week.  Given that it’s going to be getting colder in the next few weeks, I really didn’t want to make her wait a whole week sitting on a ceramic egg.

Especially not when she’s so young yet and I don’t know what kind of momma she will be.  I’d much rather give my own eggs to newbies, until I see how they will react to babies.  Abby and Claire can have ‘pay for babies’ because I know, now, that they will be awesome moms.

Hatch Day is October 24th.  I’ll probably candle the eggs sometime next week, at the 2 week mark.  There’s not going to be much to see before then anyway.

Fertility, based on last weeks dozen eggs, is at least 3/4.  This is NOT scientific.  I took a fresh dozen eggs and made up a pan of scrambled eggs to feed the chickens.  Protein for the molters.   I checked each egg as I cracked it.  I counted 9 bulls-eyes out of the 12 and the remaining 3, I simply couldn’t see from the way the yolk dropped into my bowl.  Not scientific, no.  But it does mean I should get a small handful of babies.

The only hitch in this is that I was planning our Fall Coop Cleaning for the next couple of weeks and now I’m going to have to clean and spray for mites AROUND a broody hen.  because moving her would be stupid.

They never make it easy, do they?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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. 🙂