Too Many Broodies

The Broody Bug has bitten my flock – big time!

First, there was Pavelle, who went back in March, but thanks to the cold and snow, I was able to convince her that it wasn’t time for babies.

Then, she went broody again, and as we all know now, has three week old babies.

The week Pavelle’s babies hatched, one of my Australorps went broody. All the way broody.

Briar Rose, a two year old Australorp who has never been broody before.

I gave Briar six eggs. When I candled them the first week, all six were developing nicely. Sadly, half way through the second week, one of the eggs was broken in a next squabble.

Five eggs remain, and they are due to hatch this Sunday.

Briar has been a good broody in the same tradition of Abby and the Buff Orps. She has barely left the next for anything since she started this adventure. She also tolerates me petting her (with screeches but no biting) and allows me to lift her up to count eggs and remove ones she has stolen from other nests.

I’m looking forward to seeing how she does with her babies this weekend.

And while Briar was sitting in her babies, another Australorp went broody.

Ashley.

We all remember Ashley, don’t we?

Ashley, who was a decent enough broody, but a questionable momma last time.

Ashley went hard and fast last week while I was working a full time week and no one was watching what she was doing. After the last time, I had decided that it might not be a good idea to give her eggs again, lest she lose those chicks like she did Maxie and her siblings. Last year when she went broody, I was able to put in the dog crate and break her.

This time? She wasn’t caught in time and she’s so deep in it could take a long while to break.

Also, she’s been pushing Briar off her nest in an attempt to have those babies. I have to remove her twice a day, leading to me wonder which hen will be on the nest when the first baby hatches.

I’ve been debating just giving her a handful of eggs and getting it over with, because maybe she’s matured in the last two years?

But then yesterday… This happened…

Amy, a three year old Rhode Island Red who has never been broody before.

Amy is one of the RiRs who go through the motions every spring but never follow through. She’s done it two years in a row but never actually falls broody. She spent most of mid-April walking around in “thinking about it” mode and then stopped. I assumed that was the end of it.

Silly me.

Yesterday, I found her in a box, puffed up and bucky. I guess with Briar and Ashley acting like it’s fun, she went and jumped off the deep end.

So now I have two extra Broodies. I need to come to a decision about Ashley soon, and now Amy as well.

Do I give them both eggs? Or let Ashley chill out in the dog crate for a while? Can I trust her again after last time?  Decisions, decisions.

 

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.  🙂

Broody Watch #1

Well, today is our first post in the Broody Watch.

I was in the coop for morning chores when Claire decided to get up and do her business.  Or rather, she jumped off the nest and shot out of the coop in a blur of reddish feathers, so fast I barely recognized it for what it was before she was gone.

Once outside, she took a huge and rather stinky broody poop (explained best in this informative post by the Chicken Chick), and then began circling the run and food dish, lunging at anyone who came near her.

While Claire focused on getting food and some sunlight, I snuck into the coop (to finish chores, really) and got a good look at her eggs.

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Claire’s four “sweet baby eggs.” At least, I hope they turn into sweet babies.

They look okay and were plenty warm.  A broody hen can be off the nest for 20-or-so minutes at a time to take care of personal needs.

My Abby girl got into such funks last year (a ‘broody trance’) that I took to picking her up off the nest to get her to eat and drink, at least once a day.  Claire does not, thankfully, have that problem.  Yet.

As Claire was taking her time, I took the opportunity to mark the eggs, just in case someone decided that looked like a good spot to lay her egg (as Amy tried to do this morning).  That way, I wouldn’t take a partially incubated egg and put it in the carton to sell (or eat!).

Claire finally returned to the coop, although, she seemed, for a while, confused whether she wanted in the nest, or water.

 

Randomness

Yesterday, I watched as two of girls fought each other over the exact same laying box.  Never mind that I have 36 laying boxes, and they were the only two girls in need of boxes.

It was an amusing (for me) but also frustrating (for them) battle of wits, which I don’t know who won because I gave up watching in favor of getting breakfast.

Meanwhile, in the coop…

‘All Grown Up Now’

Well, our little Pip is ‘all grown up now’ … in the sense that starting with Saturday and his (?) 9th week-aversary, Abby has finally decided to ‘cut the cord’ and let her chick become a true member of the flock so she can go back to being a hen.

Pip is too big now, anyway, to fit underneath her for cuddle-time anymore.  This is much to Pip’s disappointment.  They still sit next to each other on the roosts, but I’ve watched, as the week has progressed, and she has been spending more time with the rest of the girls, doing girl things, like sunbathing and hunting for things to eat.  Pip has been regulated to following a bit behind the flock, and spends more time now by him (?)self.  Being independent and all.

Abby and Pip, size comparison
Abby and Pip, size comparison
Abby and Pip, size comparison
Abby and Pip, size comparison

The above pictures were taken on Saturday, to show much Pip has grown. The last week-aversary pics, he was not that big, but now is half momma’s size.

Week 9's Photoshoot
Week 9’s Photoshoot
Pip... weeks 1 through 5
Pip… weeks 1 through 5
Pip, weeks 6 through 9
Pip, weeks 6 through 9

Week 9 is generally when I stop chronicling the growth of the chicks.  That’s about when I did it for both the Golds and the Reds.  However, considering Pip has no siblings, if anyone is still interesting in seeing his (?) growth, I could keep going.

I’m sure you’ve noticed by now, that I keep putting a ? after any reference to Pip being a him.  A few weeks ago, I was pretty sure Pip was a baby Roo, but more recently, Pip kinda has a look like a little henny, too.  Compare the pics of Pip and Abby I posted above.

So, I guess gender could still be up in the air. We’ll just to keep waiting to see. Pip is my wild card, so to speak. A cross between the two breeds I raised last spring. There’s no telling what’s going to happen.

Abby (left corner, in the weeds) with her flock once again
Abby (left corner, in the weeds) with her flock once again
Abby sunbathing with the Maicey
Abby sunbathing with the Maicey

With all the nice, sunny weather we’ve had the last week and a half, the hens have certainly been enjoying life.  THIS is what they were doing while other chickens to the south of us have been trying to navigate the dangers of the dreaded White Stuff.

Poor chickens!  If only they knew winter is NOT over yet, no matter what the Ground Hog said.

On the plus side, with the increased sun, my eggs production has gone up from 4 eggs to a  whopping 6!!!

But the exciting thing is this…

The 'Breakfast Bunch' starring Abby, Claire, Amy and Jolene
The ‘Breakfast Bunch’ starring Abby, Claire, Amy and Jolene

YES!

The girl in the top picture is my Abigail, Pip’s loving momma… finally doing the henny thing and laying eggs once again!  Of course, she was laying in the same box Jolene likes to use… so poor Jolene was stuck looking for a place to lay and actually pitched quite a fit about it.

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EGG!   See it!!!  Right there!!!!!

(This is, ironically, the box Abby laid her very first egg in back in August… and also the same box where Pip’s egg was laid back in October.  And ALSO the box where Abby and Pip slept at night for a couple of weeks before Pip gt big enough to fly up to the roosts.  It’s a very popular laying box.)

And… this is our week since Saturday.

Happy Thursday, everyone!!!!