Sunday, October 23, 2016

Update on new chickens

Chickens at 12 weeks - almost full size. Fancypants is still "mothering" them and seems healthy.

Kate: hopefully a pullet? Straight even tail and smaller size. Tame.

"Jacklyn": large aggressive bird with thick legs and a rooster tail :-(
Farrah: pullet or roo? I can't tell yet. 

Friday, September 16, 2016

Worried about worn out Mom

Fancypants and chicks resting up away from the other hens
This past week I've noticed a marked change in our mother hen Fancypants Johnson. She's 7 years old and has taken a beating raising the latest batch of chicks. The other chickens chase them away from the feeders, attacking the mother and pulling out chunks of feathers. Poor thing has gotten thin, lethargic and her breathing is laboured.

What can be done? They have getaways, like the roost in the photo. Also I put food and water out in different places so it is harder for the other chickens to guard it. When I am out there -- usually twice a day, I hand feed them or put them out in the yard with a feeder so they can eat in peace. Tough to know how much to intervene.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Managing chicks at 3 weeks

Farrah, Jacklyn, and Kate
Brooder converted to safe haven for chicks in the run. Keeps laying hens out of their medicated feed. 

Making more of an effort this time around to handle the chicks so that they are tame

Everyone's crazy about corn on the cob

Friday, August 5, 2016

Scratching for bugs with mom

Mother hen showing the chicks the best place to look for bugs (by the compost bins). I've seen her peck at bugs and start clucking to show the chicks where they are. Also she'll also pick them up and drop them for the chicks to eat.

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Summer hatching -- 3 new chicks

We tried a big hatch this summer -- we're hoping for a couple of hens to add to our aging flock. In early July we set 9 fertile eggs under our trusty broody hen Fancypants Johnson. She is seven years old and this will be her fourth time as a mother!

Since we don't have a rooster, we bought fertile eggs from a small farm in Bellingham where they have a variety of standard hen breeds that they cross with Silkie and Auracana roosters. The eggs were multicoloured -- white, pale blue, and brown. We wanted hens that look unique have a variety of egg colours.

The hatch was not as successful as we had hoped. Four eggs broke under the hen over the last few weeks. Not sure if they were thin-shelled or if they were getting stepped on by other chickens trying to lay eggs in the nest or ... ? Two eggs didn't hatch -- were not fertile after all. So we ended up with 3 chicks -- hopefully at least one will be female. All have feathered legs and look to me like Silkie-crosses.

1 day old! A blue, white and light brown egg hatched. 

Three days old in their new brooder.
Silkie-cross breeds. We think Fancypants also is a Silkie-cross, which explains why she is broody every year (they are known for this). 

Learning to use the feeder.

What's going on in there?

Special time in the yard for the rest of the flock.