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).
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.
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.
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.
Max looked like a boy when he/she was little,but now I see inklings of a little hen.
I think this is the same one I named Dalmie #1 in previous pics. Not sure.
A gentle reminder that as per Twiglet’s comments on prior posts, we think Pip is the father of the Dalmies.
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…
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. 🙂
I’ll start with Abby. I reported earlier that she had gone broody while I was fussing over Ashley’s impending hatch date. I decided to order her some Easter Egger eggs to hatch, and they came from My Pet Chicken last Friday.
They shipped quickly, but got sent to the wrong post office, and almost went back to Harrisburg for re-distribution before I caught up with them. It would have taken another week to get them back, almost. Instead, I went to the post office they had been sent to, the next town over, and got them myself. Because there was no way I was making Abby stay on the fake egg longer than she needed to.
Yesterday marked Day 7. Next Friday, I will candle them and see how they are doing. Hopefully, they all will be okay, despite their weird shipping ordeals and the late fall conditions.
Now, onto sadder news…
It’s been months since I first reported the oddity of Pacing Stacey. The situation has not changed. I’ve tried quarantining her, putting her in a smaller cage so hopefully she won’t pace (she did anyway). I’ve tried watching and frequently removing her from the coop. I’ve asked on-line for advice. And last week, I asked a vet.
The vet was astounded and said she has never heard of that before. She is a chicken owner, too. We tossed possibilities around and then she said that IF I brought Stacey in, the most they could do was prescribe antibiotics and hope for the best. I told her I was thinking about euthanizing Stacey. She understood, but added that if I decided to keep her over the winter, to let me know how things progress.
Things I know:
Stacey is still laying eggs. I’ve seen her.
She’s lost weight, and while she’s not starving, she’s a considerable size smaller than her same-breed, same-age flock mates.
She’s obsessive about this. Like OCD obsessive.
The other hens are getting annoyed with her and have started pecking her when she gets close to them.
I don’t see how #4 is going to change over the winter. They will in closer quarters when they are trying to decide if they want to venture into the cold white and most of the older girls are molting. They are cranky. Stacey is annoying. It’s a BAD combination.
Thus, I’ve decided the only course of action, after months of trying to figure this out, is to put us all out of her misery. Euthanize. Freezer Camp. Whatever you want to call it.
I feel bad. I wish I knew something else I could do to take this away from her. Make her normal and happy again. Since I cannot, I must do what’s right for the rest of the flock.
Freezer Camp has been scheduled for tomorrow. Stacey isn’t the only one to go. We will be saying good-bye to the Boys of Summer. Dani, Esther, Snickers, Sumi and Taller.
There was a lot of debate in the last few weeks about keeping one of Abby’s boys.
Esther was the only Easter Egger. But with Abby sitting on six EE eggs, chances of getting another EE roo are good, too.
Sumi and Taller, the Sulmtaler Brothers are a rare breed. I tried to sell them online, but no one wanted them. Then I missed the animal swamp because of my daughter’s cross country meet. Apparently, there was someone there with same-age female Sulmtalers. DH said I could keep one to breed with if I got a hen.
I didn’t get the hen because I missed the swap.
I might have kept Sumi anyway, except I accidentally terrified him a week and ago. It’s a short story. The temperatured drops so that it was switching between sleet and regular rain. He and Esther were hiding under the ramp. I tried to get them both into the coop, wearing my winter hoodie. He’s afraid of me now… like total full on freak out afraid. He flies into a tizzy if I get near him and runs away.
Snickers is a big beautiful beastie, all chocolate brown and fluff. But he’s also a bit untamed and wild. Not mean, just untouchable.
However, Dani is at 22 weeks and the rest of the Boys are at 16 weeks.
And, as noted, most the older girls are molting and cranky. Dots is molting and cranky.
I have one little momma and four wee ones.
And one broody sitting on six eggs,with two weeks to go.
I found blood on the window ledge today where someone was scrapping with someone else.
It’s time thin the flock. It’s time for Freezer Camp. So the Boys of Summer will be joining Stacey on her journey tomorrow.
I’m REALLY going to miss them. We’ve been having crowing concerts the last few mornings and afternoons. Little roosters have such personality and do such amusing things. Not to mention being beautiful. Even Dani, who’s looks I wasn’t impressed with at first, has grown into a handsome, handsome mutt. He’s tall like his papa and brother, and looks like bulkier. Also, if we kept him, I think he’s more dominant than Pip. Pip is definitely NOT an alpha. Dani is.
Here is a good video of Snickers and some of the boys. I took a few more yesterday and the day before, I’ll most them to my Instagram later. There will be available here… or via the sidebar on this page.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Snickers, my handsome Chocolate Orpington boy. He acts like he might have a dominant personality, too, someday.
And Hershey, his sister, who is also very pretty.
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!
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.
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.
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. 🙂
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.
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.
“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.
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.
It’s Tuesday! That’s picture day in the coop… or birthday picture day! Dani, Eugenie and the Easter Egger baby were all born on Tuesdays.
Dani and Eugenie are 9 weeks old today.
While I usually find them together – Claire taught them well, didn’t she? – I have noticed Dani sneaking into the coop with the pullets. He tries to eat with them, and they chase him away. Ah, young crushes!
After he gets chased away, he finds his sister and resumes his duties of watching over her.
They are not much difference in size, honestly, and now about ¾ the size of the March pullets. (Well, some of them. The Orpingtons and the Australorps are HUGE!)
At night, they snuggle in together just below the roosts. Sometimes, Eugenie likes to sleep on the roost with her papa, but Dots is not as receptive to Dani and will chase him. So usually Eugenie will also leave the roost to stay with him.
I worry what will happen to Eugenie when the time comes to decide Dani’s fate. If he is culled, will she become a loner like Pip? Or will Big Brother take her under his wing? Or will she start hanging out with Abby’s babies?
Speaking of Abby’s babies…
This is what week 3 looks like. 🙂
The two Sulmtalers like to chest butt each other and Choc Orp #1 (top left in the college) has a big comb and little red wattles. Yes, I have a minimum of 3 little roosters in this batch. I have no clue how to gauge little Pavel, the Pavlovskaya or the Easter Egger, as all of these are breeds I am unfamiliar with. EE (or Esther, as Little Dude calls him/her) is my biggest chick, with long dark wings and all that orange in the chest and shoulders. So beautiful! Hopefully a little hen I can keep.
Aren’t they adorable?
And lastly… my first ‘Baby Boy.’ Pip. The no-longer Cute and Fluffy… but the Handsome and Funny.
I took these pictures this morning. Pip lead his ladies to the back gate and realized I hadn’t taken a picture of him recently. He really is a beautiful little Pipsqueak. 🙂
Well, last week was an extremely busy one, and not all of it was.
My aunt and uncle came to visit from Florida. It was nice seeing them, but we were trying cram as much stuff into one visit as we could and it didn’t work out well. Especially not with My Girl starting her first real job (as a hostess at a restaurant) and Little Dude having 4-H meetings and birthday parties. So what honestly ended up happening was my Dad took his sister and her husband places and I ran my kids to their places and it was just wound up a crazy exhausting week. For everyone.
In the middle of this, my former sister-in-law’s mother die. It was sudden and not expected and my ex-sil was devastated, not to mention my niece and nephew. Saturday was the funeral. We all (mom, dad, my aunt and uncle, me, My Girl, and a fiend of my niece’s) pitched in to set up and run the after-funeral memorial luncheon. It’s what families do.
Yesterday was DH’s 40th birthday. We did a ‘cowboy’ theme, wore bandanas and cowboy hats. It was simple, but great.
In the chicken world, we’re up to about 12-17 eggs a day now. More of the younger girls are laying and the older ones are moving more fulling into molting. Yay, fun!
Dani and Eugenie are 8 weeks old today.
They don’t often hang out with their mother any more, but today when I was getting pictures of them, I did manage to catch a rare pic of the three of them by the waterer. Mostly, they do their own thing now, which largely entails avoiding upsetting the older girls and hanging out together.
Sometimes, I find them both in the bushes with their big brother Pip. I don’t know if they’re starting a club for former “Littles” or what but he tolerates them pretty well and doesn’t mind if they hang with him and his ladies.
Yes, Pip is getting his own ladies. About 5 or 6 from what I can tell, who prefer him to Dots. Yay, Pip! 🙂 His voice is also deepening. He is growing up.
Pip also likes to help his mother with her new babies. They are two weeks old now and I’ve seen Pip watching over them and teaching them how to scratch.
Well, here they all are…Abby’s littles one, at 2 weeks. These are the ones who’ve survived so much just to get here. Starting on the top row, we have Choc Orp #2, Choc Orp #1, Baby Sulmtaler #2, (row 2) Pavel, Esther, and Baby Sulmtaler #1. # indicates birth order. Esther is the oldest.
Little Dude says Esther is the easter egger’s name. Regardless if it’s a boy or girl. I’m hoping little girl, because I can’t keep them if they are boys. I’m only allowed 2 roosters. Dh’s edict.
But look at ‘Esther’s’ wings! They are longer and more filled out than the rest of his/her siblings.
I’m beginning to see where some of what Abby did with Pip last winter was not just a winter thing, but how she is going to raise all her chicks. She kept them all indoors for about a week (with the exception of the little choc orp who somehow got outside and stayed outdoors overnight). Then she started encouraging them to come out. The first handful of days, she couldn’t get them all to go back up the ramp after they’d come down it, so she would up sleeping on the steps at night with them until Little Dude and I came to lock up and then we would scoop her and her babies up and put them in the coop.
Sunday,she managed to take them in on her own before we got there. 🙂
Unlike Claire, who encouraged independence and exploration, Abby keeps her six remaining chicks close to her, secured in the weeds around the steps and in the run. They don’t go much further than that, but she teaches them how to find things to eat by digging in the dirt and how to find shelter and shade in the weeds and tall grass.
No fence climbing or forays to the pond like Claire allowed Dani and Eugenie.
It’s amazing how different their mother styles are.