Saturday, April 30, 2011

More chicks

As of this morning we have 4 hatched chicks, one egg pipping, and one egg with no sign of hatching yet.

When Penguin was just sitting on eggs, we could lure her off the nest with food, but now she won't budge. To show the kids the chicks this morning I had to lift her off, wearing gloves since she has a mean peck now.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


We're getting the coop and run ready for little ones, so we cleaned it out and brought in new straw mulch.

Are you my mother?

New chick and Charlie (our bearded dragon). The other 5 eggs still show no signs of hatching yet. They are due to hatch Friday or Saturday, but for some reason this chick hatched early.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Starting up a brooder inside

We've got the little guy inside in a heated brooder now. We'll put the chicks in here as they come out one by one, then return them to their mother when the last ones are hatching.

First chick -- quick photo

Mom got off the nest to chase another chicken away, so I got a quick photo. With this unexpectedly early hatch, we're scrambling to separate the mom and chicks from the other hens. Just now I shut the other chickens out of the henhouse and set up a roost and nesting box for them below.

This afternoon, I'm taking a crash course by reading on about this kind of situation, (called a "staggered hatch"). This can be a problem because the mother will want to leave the nest with the first chicks to show them where the food and water are, leaving the other eggs to get cold.  So to keep this from happening, we'll need to remove the chicks one by one as they hatch and bring them into a heated brooder. Then when the last eggs are hatching, we'll put them all back under their mother. 

WTF! Chick hatched early!

We just heard peeping from the henhouse and a chick is hatched -- 5 days before we expected! When I finally got my camera, I couldn't get the hen out of the way for a pic.

How did this happen? When we got the eggs from the breeder, he got 2 from the henhouse. Maybe this egg was already incubating?

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Another broody hen

 Spring is in the air ... another hen (Fancypants Johnson) stopped laying eggs and wouldn't leave her nest. When they go broody like this, it's like they're in a trance and can't think of anything except the nest. You remove them and they go right back. 

Since we don't want any more chicks, we are taking measures to "break" her out of it. This involves removing her from the coop so she can't get to the nesting boxes. The chicken tractor (pictured) is coming in handy for this. This cage can be moved around the yard. At night it's warmer and safer for her to be in a cage in the shed. Last time she was broody, it took several days of keeping her away from the nests for her to return to her normal self and start laying eggs again. I guess this means she would be a good mother so hopefully someday the timing will be right to give her a turn.

Meanwhile, we have about 6 days til Penguin (pictured in previous posts) hatches her chicks!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beautiful eggs

This is a better photo of the eggs that our hen Penguin is incubating. She left the nest for a few minutes to eat, so I went and grabbed my camera.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Broody chicken still hanging in there

I'm lifting her off the nest here to show the eggs. They should hatch in a couple of weeks!

Famous chicken owner...Tori Spelling!

Tori Spelling takes her Silkie chicken to an awards show. I've heard that Coco wears a diaper and lives in the house. Update: here's another photo from last month -- Tori with Coco on the movie set. When I first heard about Tori's silkie living inside, etc, I thought it was pretty funny. Who knew that 6 months later I'd have my own silkie in the house!

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Buying eggs for our hen to hatch

One of our hens is determined to sit on a nest for a while (she's "gone broody" -- see Thursday's post).

Today we went out to a breeder and bought some eggs for her to sit on! The kind we got are Black Copper Maran -- the parents are pictured here.
The eggs themselves are a dark brown.

Actually getting the eggs under the chicken wasn't as easy as I thought it would be. Penguin is usually a very sweet chicken -- bottom of the pecking order in fact. When I was putting the eggs under her, she pecked my hand so hard that it drew blood in a couple places. She's sure a protective mother.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Broody hen -- good timing for a hatch?

Penguin has decided to hunker down in the nest box and hatch some eggs. She puffs up and growls when we open the door or even come close. Last year we had a different hen "go broody", but it was too close to our summer holiday and it would have been bad timing to try to hatch chicks. This time we're thinking of getting her some eggs to hatch! (We don't have a rooster around, so our hens' eggs are not fertile. )