Luke Crows

The little Easter Egger formerly known as Leia… was voted on and is now Luke.

Snow Birds

I’m needing to post pictures of chickens doing Chicken Things today, and since the temperature decided to warm up and the wind isn’t blowing, they decided to oblige me.

I give you…the snow birds.

On this November Day

I have a lot of things to update on today.

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…

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Stacey is STILL pacing.

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:

  1. Stacey is still laying eggs.  I’ve seen her.
  2. She’s lost weight, and while she’s not starving, she’s a considerable size smaller than her same-breed, same-age flock mates.
  3. She’s obsessive about this.  Like OCD obsessive.
  4. 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.

Not many pictures of Stacey. All she really does anymore is pace. It’s sad.

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 6.0

This will probably be my last Broody Watch post for Claire.  The 4th egg does not appear to be hatching, despite her insistence that she remain sitting on it.  I’m giving it until tonight, but then, if it hasn’t hatched, I’ll be removing it from her nest.

The three chicks she already has are quite active and will soon be ready to explore the world around them.  She can’t help them do that if she’s sitting on a dud egg.

Momma and babies enjoyed a breakfast of scrambled eggs and chick starter this morning.  All three of the babies came out from under Claire to try some of the yummiest.  Scrambled egg is my traditional post-hatching meal for the chicks&mama.

Traditional as in “that’s what I did with Abby, so Claire gets to do it, too.”  Why mess with what works?

I don’t know if it’s evident from the video, but yesterday when I came down to find two of Claire’s chicks running around the laying boxes next to their nest, I decided to take a risk and move Claire, babies, and 4th egg into their newly fashioned maternity suite.

I added food and water, which Claire barely looked at as she settled in on top of the egg and tucked her babies under her for good measure.  She’s still there this morning, so I’m going to take that as a success.  🙂

Oh, yeah… and the babies have been tentatively named.

As they were born during my Dad’s birthday week (tomorrow is his birthday), I decided preemptively to name the chicks in honor of him.  The first born, the little red-head, is Dani (or if she is a he, Danny), the second born, smaller and light tow-headed yellow/white, is Eugenie (Eugene) and the third, a slightly bigger, more yellow chick, is Stevie.

Editing to Add:  I just went down to the coop to see how things were faring and found that Claire had abandoned the other egg.  She moved her three chicks to the nest on the right side of the ‘maternity suite’ and left her egg there.  It was cold, so I removed it.  As expected, it was nothing but a mass of 21-day yolk.  Yuck!  Tossed it in the trash.   Claire, Dani, Eugenie, and Stevie are a whole family now.  

On a totally non-related blog issue, I’m realizing that I need a category/tag for the ‘born on the farm’ babies like Pip and these three.  Am considering calling them a “Windstone Comet Cross” because that’s our farm name, their papa is a Golden Comet and they’re a cross between him and something else.  This is obviously NOT an official name, and they’re really just barnyard mutts, but their my barnyard mutts.

Or, I could call the tag “barnyard mix” too.

Thoughts?  Reader preference?  Do the tags even matter?

 

 

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.

A Diferent 10th Week

Well, I have discovered the one “con” to putting the Littles in the chicken tunnels.

I can’t take decent pictures of them for the week-aversary updates.

Phooey.

Instead, I took random pictures of them in the tunnels and fed them some dandelions so I could watch them play.

And the dandelion salad… sorry it’s not as good as my usual videos. The chicken wire gets in the way, and if I put my phone to the wire so the camera lens is looking through the holes (so no wire shows) I’m too close to the chicks to see more than their backs.

Happy 10th Week, Littles!!!