Broody Suite

Spring is beginning to look like a reality here in northern Pennsylvana. The snow from our mid-March blowout is starting to melt, the grass is turning green, there were robins in the front yard… and the chickens had gone from 5-9 eggs a day (January/Feb) to 18-22 eggs a day. My average for the month is 17.something per day. I have few who stagger, so it’s highly possible every one is laying.

The next thing you know *cough*it’s already happened*cough* someone will go broody.

I have this vision in my head of the ultimate chicken coop. Sadly, I have a limited space to work with in the barn. My own allotted chicken space and that’s it. Unless I convince DH to build a second coop, we’re pretty much working with that same space. But I’m constantly trying work in changes and tweaks that might result in something closer to the ideal of my imagination.

We’ve been remodeling the house, and last spring, we did the kitchen, tearing out all the old cabinetry that has been there for close to 40 years.

This full sized until had an old dual oven in the empty spaces.  Today, I gotto looking at it and realized that it would make a good ‘maternity suite.’  Kind of like last year’s ideas to put them under the laying beds, or the cat carrier idea (which worked, although it was cramped due to height constraints.)

But this?  Could be ideal because could remove the doors, hang curtains for privacy and it was was wide inside to put both a decent sized nest AND a feeder/waterer.

After getting permission from Dad (whose cabinet it is) and asking DH to cut it down, this is what we came up with:

And… as luck seems to have it, I might actually have a broody hen.

 

 

This is Maicey. She is My Girl’s favorite hen out of all the others. Maicey has never gone broody before, but it sure looks like it.  I’m going to give her a couple of days to see is she sticks with it and give her some of the barnyard mix. I’ve saved out one of Abby’s and Hershey’s (I was there when they laid them luckily) and hopefully some of Pavelle’s.   I don’t buy specialty eggs (from breeders or hatchery) for new broodies. Too much of a chance they will be like Ashley, or mean to the babies.

If she stays broody, Maicey will be the first to try out the new broody accommodations.

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.

 

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.

 

 

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.