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.

 

See How We’ve Grown!

On Thursday, Pavelle’s two little chicks will be three weeks old. Last week, she moved them out of the cat carrier nursery where they hatched and into the nests. I know, I know, we’re not supposed to encourage our chickens to sleep in the nests, but YOU explain that to a broody momma with babies to protect. Especially my little attack pineapple. Seriously, it’s much better to just let Pavelle handle her babies in her own way and clean up after them than it is to try and impose my will on her.

Other things to note… I was quite wrong about them not having feathered legs. The bigger of the two, who came from an olive EE-cross egg does, in fact, have feathered legs. Given the overall size of the chick and yellow coloring, I am guessing Sylvester the Buff Brahma to be the father.

They go outside almost every day now. Almost because we’ve had very up and down weather, and on the cooler, rainier days, Pavelle does not stray too far from the coop.

Here are some pictures of them from around the 1 1/2 – 2 week mark. If you look closely at the bigger, non-black chick’s legs, you can see the feathers on the sides.

 

And now here are some pics from over this past weekend.

 

 

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!!

More Co-parenting, Sort Of

This is just a brief update on the fate of Claire and the chicks of Baby Land.

The last time, I mentioned that Eugenie had gone back to Hen Things when the babies were 5 weeks old.

They are now 7 1/2 weeks old and Claire has yet to go back to Hen Things. She does wander away from them or them from her… occasionally. But for the most part, they are together. Just without Eugenie.

Not that you would notice a difference, because more recently, Pavelle and her baby AJ have been hanging out with them.

The older chicks treat AJ very well, and Claire seems to tolerate Pavelle so long as her babies don’t get pecked.

Pavelle’s Babies – Week 1

Yesterday, Pavelle’s wee little chicks celebrated their One Week-aversary.  They are living happily in a cat carrier under the laying beds, with their food in the corner in front of them and a place to go for shelter.   Pavelle being as small as she is, they have room to move around freely in there.  She brings them out in the morning and afternoons, teaches them to dig and scratch in the deep litter bedding and is slowly introducing them to the other chickens.

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Little ‘Feather Butt’ – aka the one with the feathers on his feet.  This one is the biggest of the three chicks.   He/she is friendly and inquisitive, not afraid of the bigger birds or me.  And he/she stood up to Dots when he tried to tidbit with their chick feed.   Ran right up to him and cheeped in Dot’s face.  So he/she has inherited Pavelle’s bravery in the face of birds 50x his size.
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Miini- Pav.  🙂  Mini-Pav is the smallest of the three chicks, and does not yet have as pronounced wing feathers as the other two have.  He/she is also the shyest one, preferring to hang back where Feather Butt and Egger Baby will run forward.
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The Egger Baby.   The somewhere in-between middle chick.  Not the biggest, not the smallest.  Curious enough to stick her head out and look at stuff (me, the Bigs) but not brave enough to be the first one out there.

Feather Butt and Mini-Pav do not have the pronounced foreheads that their mother had as a chick.  A reminder that they are cross-breeds and not pure anything.   Pavelle likely has some Polish in with her Pavlovskaya … and Pip, of course, the Rhode Island Red and sexlink genetics.   So maybe they won’t have crests and funny hair-dos like their momma.   Or maybe they will?  Who knows at this point?

I give you – the Babies!

The weather has been up and down, and Pavelle has yet to decide if she wants to take them outside. I’ve seen her bring them to the door and peek out, but has not attempted to lead them any further.

I’ll admit, I am both excited and fearing that day and a little glad that she has not.  The last chicks I watched go outside for the first time .. vanished, and Abby kept the remaining babies hidden for the rest of the winter.     So caution on Pavelle’s part is not without good reason.

ETA:  Okay, I wrote that part up there *points up*  and then went to the barn to let everyone and THIS happened, just to prove me wrong…

 

Feather Butt was the one balking.  I finally stopped the video and went to put Mini-Pav and Egger Baby back inside because it became so obvious that Pavelle was not able to convince Feather Butt that it was, in fact, safe.   But there you have it… it’s a good bet that she will get them outside sooner rather than later.   To be fair, there is only so much she can teach them inside the coop.  The big wide world awaits!

Today marks Day 14 for Little Dude’s 4-H hatching project.We’ll be candling again tonight and on Saturday.   Sunday-Tuesday are Lockdown Days.    The incubator has been an interesting experience in frustration and balance.  Finding and KEEPING the right temperature and humidity both.  I personally like giving the eggs to broody hens.

 

Broody/Baby Watch – the One With the Feathered Toes 

This will be the last “broody watch” post, as there are no more babies to be had. Pavelle’s wee little ones were getting restless so I went and candled the remaining two eggs. You could see something watery sloshing around inside each. Rotten yolks. Yuck! Rather than risk them breaking overnight, we chucked them and moved Pavelle and the babies to their new nest on the floor. Which, happily, Pavelle accepted. Hopefully, the overnight sleep will help her to feel at home there with the little ones. It has food, water and shelter. All the things a momma and her babies need.

And now to the title of this post – the One with the Feathered Toes.

One of Pavelle’s babies had feathered feet. For those of you who do not know, my little Pavelle is a Pavlovskaya hen, or partial Pavlovskaya.

The Pavlovskaya hen is Russia’s most ancient chicken breed. Its origins are lost in the murky depths of history, but by the time Russians began to take stock of their native chicken breeds in the late 1800s Pavlovskaya hens were already virtually extinct. Many centuries ago this breed emerged in the town of Pavlovo, a small enclave of peasants and craftsmen about 200 miles east of Moscow. The town was known for a number of unique agricultural specialties including the breeding of fighting geese, canaries, and the cultivation of lemons. Some poultry historians believe that the Pavlovkskaya hens are the foundational breed that gave rise to more recently developed crested breeds like the Polish, Barthuhners, and Brabanters.

~ Greenfire Farms – Pavlovskaya

Pavlovskaya’s have feathered feet and the very originals had five toes, it is said.  Somewhere in the recent attempts to bring them back from extinction, the fifth toe has vanished from some blood lines.

Pavelle came to me as an egg from a breeder who had a pair of what she was told were Pavlovs, but she believed them to be not-quite pure because they lacked the feathered feet.  Pavelle also has no feathers on her toesies.

So you can imagine my excitement when I saw this:

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Little tufts of yellow feathers on the ankles of this wee little chick!

It means that, whatever else she is, my little Pavelle is definitely in some part Pavlovskaya, and so is this wee little babe who looks nothing like her momma in every other way.

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You can even see some feathering on her legs, too.
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Although, even close up, it looks like she’s just got wood chips stuck to her.
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I’m cute little Pavlovskaya/RiR/Comet cross, aren’t I?

Totally adorable!!! I can’t wait to see how she grows into those feathered feet!

Broody/Baby Watch – Breakfast with Momma 

Proof that Pavelle and the Mini-Me look alike.   On the left… Abby, with wee little Pavelle sitting in front.  On the right… Pavelle and Mini-Me.

The two remaining Easter Eggs have not done anything. I tell myself that today is Day 21 and official Hatch Day, so they could still do something, but there aren’t even pips, and Pavelle has pushed them to the back of the nest. I’m thinking these three might be it, but I’m willing to give it another day just in case.

Broody/Baby Watch – Pavelle’s Lock Down 

Yesterday was Day 19 for Pavelle and her sweet baby eggs and that means Lock Down.

For those of you who do not know about hatching eggs, a chicken egg takes twenty-one days to hatch. The last three days, Days 19-21, are what people who use incubators call ‘lock down days’ because under no circumstances are you supposed to open the incubator on those days, until the last chick has hatched.  This is because in those last three days, the babies do the most growing in preparation to come out of their shells.

When I let my hens sit on eggs, I make sure not to mess with them during those days, so they can do their own thing.

Yesterday, I went to check for eggs and discovered that Pavelle had a brown egg sticking out from under her.  She frequently steals other hens eggs from neighboring nests.  She had TWO brown eggs, actually… but was also missing one of her her six eggs.   I didn’t see signs of eaten shell, but one of the brown eggs I had retrieved from under her had yolk on it, so I assumed the worst.

I know what happened to it now, and I’ll get to that in a minute.  But first…

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I found this little Easter Egger chick this morning, on Day 20.  It is a bright yellow with brown/black on the top of it’s head, with puffy little EE cheeks.

I found this

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I know I am a cutie 🙂

Pavelle actually had a total of three chicks under her this morning when I left the coop – two of her Pavlov-mix babies and one Easter Egger. There are two EE remaining. Given this is Day 20, and hatch day is technically tomorrow, I won’t worry too much about the other eggs until Wednesday or Thursday.

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I set her up with some food and water, in the nest with her to discourage other hens from trying to sit with her in the nest (because that is another reason she keeps getting other hen eggs. They are trying to ‘share’ the nest with her.)

Hopefully, at least one of the other eggs will hatch. The one is EE#2 and we all know I have been iffy about the contents of that one.

This morning when I removed the broken eggs shells from under her, I discovered the missing Pavelle-egg. It apparently tried to hatch YESTERDAY on Day 19, and died. I found it half-buried in the bedding under Pavelle and the live chicks. 😦

I’m used to having them hatch on Day 20 or 21. Day 19 might be a little too early?

I will report back tomorrow with (hopefully) the last chicks and pics of all of them.  Pavelle is a bite-y momma, so it’s hard to get pics of them right now.

 

Broody Watch – Candling Pavel’s Eggs 

Today marked the end of the first week for Pavelle and her eggs.   With the exception of Abby’s first-time hatch, I have been candling once a week leading up to Lock Down, to give me a better idea of how many chicks to anticipate.   Nothing was more disappointing than finding out Ava’s egg was infertile and that Pip was destined to be a singleton chick. (Of course, he has made up for it by being a good big brother to Abby’s subsequent hatches, so there is that.)

In preparation for Little Dude’s 4-H eggs, I have made a first time attempt at photographing the eggs as we candled them.

It’s only a week out and it’s kind of difficult at this point to accurately predict.  Also, the darker the egg shell, the harder it is to really tell what’s going on in there.

Luckily for Pavelle, her eggs are white-shelled and came out fairly clear.  You can see signs of development in all three eggs, which is promising.

Padme’s Easter Egger greens, however, are difficult.  I had a hard time with them when we gave some to Abby, too.   #1 and #3 are dark, with an outline.  This is how Abby’s EE eggs were, the ones that hatched.  I didn’t see much in the way of veins or anything with those very dark ones, but I got babies out of them.  I’m going to say, for now, that they have babies.  #2 — appears to be clear and empty.  I don’t see anything at all going on in there.  I’m going to wait until next Tuesday to level a final verdict on it.

But for now, I’m predicting five chicks.