Sunday, September 27, 2009

The Flock

We actually put the little chicks in with the big chicks Thursday. It's going okay. I do wish they were getting along a bit better. The big chicks are still pecking at the little chicks, but not maliciously, just to keep the little chicks in their place. You can see in the photo how the little chicks keep together and the big chicks keep together. Occasionally, we intervene, but we aren't there all the time. I guess they'll figure everything out, but I wish they could be nicer to each other. Egg update: three yesterday. Kevin says I'm a slave driver. I want an egg from every chick every day. If that's being a slave driver, then, yes, I am.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Red Letter Day

Today is a red letter day for me. The chicks layed four perfect eggs! I've never had so many in one day before. Two of the big chicks layed today and two of the little chicks as well. I'm pretty sure Birdie and Bee are my big chick layers, and I think Rosemary and Ethel, the twins, are my little chick layers. I could be wrong and it's Myrtle, not Ethel, laying, but I'm almost 100% sure Rosemary is laying. All the eggs are brown, except for Rosemary's, which are the pretty green-grey. Of course, when they all start laying I'll be ectastic.

We've been letting the little chicks visit in the big pen, and I think there is some slight improvement, but the big chicks are still pecking a bit on the little ones. Friday night /Saturday is the big move. I don't like maintaining two areas, and the little ones need access to the nesting boxes. Kevin made a makeshift nesting box for the little ones, but they should be in the coop with the others.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Nice Surprise

Rembember how I said that I couldn't believe the new chicks were 6 months old? Well, Rosemary, at least, could very well be because guess what I found this afternoon? An Egg! I'd been in the hammock and had heard some familiar egg-laying sounds, but when I went to check if any of the big chicks had layed anything, there was nothing. Imagine my surprise when I looked over at the pen and found an egg in the little chicks' feed dish. I guess that was the best she could do for a nesting box under the circumstances. Yesterday, when we were out with the chicks, we noticed how anxious Rosie was acting, and we thought she might be looking for a place to lay an egg, but since she didn't, I didn't think about it anymore. It's nice to know that our original instincts were correct.

At first, I thought it was a white egg, because it definitely wasn't brown, but upon closer inspection, it looks more gray-green. It's about the size of Birdie's eggs, which is surprising considering how much bigger Birdie is than the new girls. I'll be glad when we can have all the chicks together. It will make everything much easier for them and me.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

The New Chicks

I got three new chicks last night. I'd been checking Craigslist and corresponding with a man in Alabama when we found a guy in "Gulf Breeze" (really Midway) who had chicks for sale, so Kevin and I went out to look at them last night. The "farm" was quite eclectic. We saw many chickens and turkeys plus I saw a piglet and Kevin saw some rabbits. I ended up getting three chicks. The man said they were 6 months old, but they are much smaller and less wattley than my three. The new three are very pretty and have feathers on their feet. I think they are cochins, which if I had researched a bit more I may have rethought. They are supposed to be very friendly and motherly, but not necessarily good layers. We'll see.

We brought them home in a cat carrier and let them sleep in it in the coop. This morning I let them out and sat with them for a while. Pecking orders are very real things, and Bee is the peckiest. She is the most aggressive with the new chicks, but the little white one, Myrtle, stood her ground pretty well. The other two, Rosemary (gold) and Ethyl (black), are a bit more cowed. Kevin put in a couple more higher perches and they like being up high. Other than being a bit far from the food and water, I like them being up high. My three can get used to the new girls, but not be so intimidated.

I'll be checking on them frequently throughout the day.

Rosemary and Ethel


Addendum: I put the new chicks in the old pen, and it is next to the coop. The new chicks were fine, but the old chicks weren't sharing the food and water very well. Now they can see each other, but they each have their own foods and waters. I'll probably let them be seperated for a while to get used to each other.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

The First Dozen, Sort Of

I've been out of town for family occasions, but here are my first dozen eggs (minus the four we ate already).

Monday, September 7, 2009

Labor Day

Two interesting things today:

First, another one of the hens is laying eggs. Yah, right? Well, we'll see. Here's my hesitation. Every night the hens go to sleep in exactly the same place, and every morning I clean the droppings. This morning besides the droppings there was also what looked like the inside of an egg. One of the chickens layed a shell-less egg. According Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens, the go-to manual on chickens, there are a few possible reasons for this. One is that it's a first egg, which, of course, this one is. Another, is that the hen was nervous or scared or for some reason had to lay it quickly before the shell could form (shells form at the last minute apparently), and third, the chicken has a vitamin deficiency. Now, if it is Honey laying the egg, it could be the third reason. Honey has a crossed beak and is as tall as the other two, but because she has a harder time eating, she is thinner than the other two. Let's hope tomorrow I have at least two good eggs. It's going to be hard to correct the vitamin deficiency in Honey, if that's what it is.

Also, there is a possibility that Bee is laying as well. There was an egg in the pen, but it had fallen and gotten cracked. It wasn't where Birdie usually lays, so I'm not sure if it was hers or not. Although I didn't see an egg from her today, so it could have been hers. We'll see.

The other possibly interesting thing is that we trimmed Honey's beak today. Well, Kevin did. Thankfully, he does all the hard things. I held Honey and he cut away at it with a dog nail clipper. We had to be careful not to go too far, just as we would for a dog's nails actually, but he trimmed a good 1/4 to 1/2 inch off, so hopefully she'll be able to eat better now.

Here's a before picture. She reminds me of Gonzo with how curved her beak is.

Here are a couple of after pictures. The top pic shows how much we trimmed off, but the bottom one shows just how crossed it is.