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.

Broody Watch 5.0

Well, as of this morning, there are three babies hiding under Claire’s considerable red fluff.

The last couple of days, Claire has been a real sweetheart compared to how she normally is.  A part of the ‘broody trance’ stage, she let me pet her, feed her by hand, and lift her up to look at the eggs/babies.   Now that more of them have hatched, the broody trance is giving way to ‘Mama Mode’ and Claire’s true personality is asserting itself.

That is to say, I got bit 5 times trying to get these pictures and video.

Ouch!

There is one last egg, the paler one I mentioned was cracked already.  It’ still cracked, but the crack is bigger.

Claire shows no signed of giving up on it yet, and keeps tucking it underneath her like she’s expecting something.

As tomorrow is Day 21 for that egg and one of the other (already hatched) chicks, I’ll wait and see what she does next.  They have that saying about it – Mama Knows – so if Claire is still waiting for a chick, maybe I should, too?

Then again, it’ been cracked since Monday and no signs of anything coming out, movement, or cheeping.

But I’ll let Claire make that call.  If she abandons the egg in favor of caring for the Wee Ones, I’ll know.

Broody Watch #2

After two days of trying, I finally got the video I took of Claire’s latest outing from the nest onto Youtube.

I can’t help but compare Claire’s broodiness to Abby’s, as before this, Abby was my only point of reference.

When Abby was broody, she was very ‘zoned’ or in what I call her ‘broody trance.’  She rarely got up on her own, and I had to carry her out at least once each morning and each afternoon, so she could take care of the personal matters of eating and pooping.  She wouldn’t even notice when I did it, but sit there in one spot for several minutes, softly buck-buck-bucking to herself.  When she finally snapped out of it, she’d run for the food, the water and back to her nest as quickly as she could.  Only once or twice did she do more than that.  Dirt bathing once on a sunny day.  Abby loves her dirt baths!  But no, the drive to hatch her babies (baby, in the end it was just Pip) was so strong, it eclipsed everything else.  She lost a LOT of weight, especially towards the end.  She still hasn’t gained it all back, really.  Which isn’t a bad thing.  It just means she is isn’t overweight in any way.

Claire is not so entranced yet, even into her second week of broody.  She still screams when people (or, other chickens) come into the coop to lay eggs.  When she leaves the nest, I am treated to spectacles like the video below.  She runs around, bucking loudly (not soft at ALL!) to announce to the world that she is there and they’d all better get out of her way.  At the morning treat dish (it’s not really treats.  I give them 2 scoops of feed + a 3/4 scoop of scratch to start their morning and everything else is what they can forage, and there’s 12 of them, so no one gets a lot)…. as I was saying, at the morning treat dish, she guards it closely, putting her foot in the feed if someone crowds too close.  She yells. She puffs up, flares her tail feathers and spreads her wings wide to make herself look huge and scary.

The morning I took this video – Wednesday, I think – Dots happened to be in the run when she came out.  He hasn’t seen her in a while, as he’s been preoccupied with grandstanding so the Littles roosters know he’s the Boss.  That takes up most of his time now.  So he hasn’t seen her.  Well, he tried to woo her… and… scream… yell… puffed up feathers… Claire does NOT want a man right now.  Sorry, Double Dots.

She’s got one week left of sitting on the nest before the eggs hatch.  If they hatch.  I am still hands-off.  No candling, and the only handling I do is to remove the extra eggs from her nest.  These are eggs she either steals from nearby nests or ones hens lay while Claire is outside.

“Lockdown” begins on Saturday.  That is ‘Day 18’ for the earliest two of the four eggs.  Wednesday the 11th being the day she committed to sitting for real.  When this happens, I intend to feed her scrambled eggs once a day, so she can stay on the nest as much as possible over those last three days.

I did that with Abby, too, but she really, really needed it.  She was so out of it the whole way through her broody that by the time her final three days happened, I was beginning to worry.  (Did I mention she lost waaaay too much weight?)

I’m not seeing where Claire is losing tons of weight, but, as I observed before, she isn’t as entranced as poor Abby was.  But I’m still preparing to make her scrambled eggs for the weekend.

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.

 

Chicken Tunnels, Part 2

Our chicken tunnels became a reality this weekend.

DH spent most of the day on Saturday measuring and building the last of the enclosure and new ramp.

We put the access door on the inside of the ‘grow up coop,’ as a slide up door.  It slides out, and then little ones can go outside at will now.

The first day was difficult for them, because they couldn’t figure out how to go up the ramp and I think they spent a good 4 hours outdoors with no access to water or their food because they wouldn’t go up the ramp.

Little Dude actually squeezed himself into the small chicken door and into the enclosure to “help” them learn the ramp.

Yesterday, we just opened it and let them go on their own. They all did fine.

 

They really do seem to like it and the new found freedom it allow.

And I’m enjoying the chance to see how this change in venue brings out their personalities.  The 6 little boys spent the first day having ‘rooster races’ from one end of the tunnel system to the next.   The girls explored and scratched in the dirt.

Black Jack and Dots got to “face off” on opposite sides of the fence.  Jack in definitely an alpha rooster, and Dots definitely sees him as a tiny little nemesis.  They pace, crow at each other… and there is lots of bluster back and forth.

A part of me would love to keep Black Jack.  He’s a beautiful boy and very friendly otherwise.

But a part of me thinks he and Dots will have an all out war once integration happens.  And let’s face it… integration is going to happen.  I’m aiming for sometime in the 14-17  week range, so that’s really only about a month and a half away.

Does anyone want a beautiful Australorp rooster?  10 weeks old, very friendly and handsome?

 

 

The Week-Aversary Picspam

Because I missed most of the Little’s Week-aversary pics, and because today is Pip’s 16th week…here’s the pics I promised I’d get today.

 

16 Weeks and going strong!  Aren't I handsome?
16 Weeks and going strong! Aren’t I handsome?

Yes, Pip… you are handsome.  Just like your papa, even though he’s white and yellow and you’re red and white.

Pip showed his first signs of leaving ‘awkward adolescence’ behind and heading into ‘horny teenager’ stage this morning.  He tried to mate with his ‘Auntie Riley.’  Riley turned around and bit him and then chased him back into the coop, where he retired to the window sill to sulk and figure out where he went wrong.

He needs to observe Dots more and learn how papa woos the ladies.

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Mystery Bin Chicks… Peanut and Matilda.

 

Peanut and Matilda representing the Mystery Bin Girls this week.  Peanut is still my diva.

 

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Black Australorp chicks, week 2

I’m pretty sure the one on the right is Ash, the chick we brought up to keep Baby company when she was in Chick Containment.

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Buff Orpingtons, Week 2

The little chick on the right is my poor injured chick, Baby, who has a fully recovery. She’s still smaller than everyone else, but I love it when I can say they are no different the rest of the flock. 🙂

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I don’t know if you can see this in the picture…but their eyes are BLUE!!!  I never knew that before.

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And just because… here is Little Dude sitting with his favorite hen, Jolene.