Sunday, May 29, 2011

Time out or time up?

The aptly named "Vulture" has always been the meanest hen and is pictured here with telltale feathers in her beak. They say that if you hold an aggressive chicken periodically it will mellow them out, but it doesn't seem to work with this one. She has always had it out for Penguin and she shows no mercy for the chicks either. We're thinking that she'll go into the stewpot next month if we have a female chick to replace her.

This chick shown below looks like a female so far. At this age they're so feisty -- this one jumped up on my shoulder.

Baxter foiled

Our favorite neighborhood cat spends a lot of time watching the chickens through the new netting.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Netting over chicken run

This week the chicks -- 3 weeks old -- are joining the others in the coop. To keep out the neighborhood cats and other predators, we put a net over the whole run. Covering every gap was a lot of work. We've been meaning to do this for a while -- it will be safer for the full grown birds as well.

Second photo: Chicks still get warm and sleep under mom.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

First outing

The hen and chicks spent some time outside today. Mom is teaching the little ones how to follow her around. I was surprised when she headed down the stairs, so I lured them into the chicken tractor (with food) so they could stay out for a while.

Indoor chickens

It was raining yesterday and we wanted to be able to watch our hen Penguin and her brood, so we set up a rubbermaid bin and brought them inside for the day. Most of the chicks are 3 days old.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Yay -- Mom and 5 chicks!

Helping a chick hatch

With 4 chicks hatched, mother hen Penguin left the nest yesterday to take the babies to the food and water. The last 2 eggs were abandoned. One had a pipped shell and chick peeping inside, so we took it to take a closer look. This egg, which was the largest of all of them, was pipped on the small end of the egg (the wrong end), which maybe was the problem. We brought it inside, but without a proper incubator set up, we decided to help it hatch.

In the photos you can see where we chipped off the shell without removing the membrane. We were trying to keep plenty of warmth and humidity -- and ended up pulling out the steamer pan! We used a washcloth and spray bottle to keep the membrane moist. Finally the chick hatched out of the membrane and we put it under its mother.