Friday, April 10, 2009

Our hatched chickens

First I'll show you some of the hens.
We have buff laced polish,


RI reds




Araucanas







Here's the roosters:

The leghorn

The Araucana


The RI Red

Here are the littlest ones, born within the last couple weeks. They are still in our basement, under the heat lamp.


Here are the older chicks, born within the last couple months.
They are outside in a coop, no heat lamp.









We had a barred rock too, which you can see in some of these chicks.



Friday, February 20, 2009

Our First Hatching

As we calculated, our first chick arrived today; right on time. When we got up this morning, around 6, there was a circle cracked in the egg. After watching it for a while, we heard the first "cheep"- I was so excited!! The kids spent the morning fighting for position looking into the window hoping the chicken would "hurry up" and hatch already.

I had an appointment so we had to leave for a couple hours mid day. When we got home around 3, the chicken was waiting for us.

HOW CUTE!!!!
This is all that was left of the egg after the chicken worked it's way out. I guess it eats the yoke? I was disappointed that we missed the whole thing; but as my daughter pointed out- we have another one due to hatch tomorrow.

We set up the coop in the basement again. All of us were sitting around watching it try to figure out how to use its new legs. This is so cool- much better than getting them thru the mail.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Good & the Bad

We have learned so much from having chickens. Nothing as much though, as about the circle of life. We have both good and bad over the weekend. I guess the bad first- we lost our beloved Pumpkin to a hawk on Saturday. She was a favorite of everyone, especially Megan, from the very beginning.

She was a buffed laced polish. Very beautiful, very friendly, very stupid. I'm sorry to say that- but they really are. They wander off and get lost, they have gone a couple houses up the street, and on Saturday she had gone into the vineyard 2 houses the other way and was grabbed by a hawk there. This must be the reason they are such a rare breed.

Poor Megan, she was heartbroken. But- we have good news. We have a full incubator and our first chick due this week. (Is this what happens when you stop having babies yourself???- I am not going crazy am I???)

We hope that maybe some of the eggs in there are from Pumpkin or Cream who is still with us.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

He is definitely a rooster

I have previously mentioned that we thought we had a rooster in the mix of the young chickens. He is. My seven year old daughter came up from the coop yesterday afternoon hollering about how he is definitely a rooster because he was chasing all the girls around and pecking at them. My husband concurred that he was trying to grab a hold of any/ all of the chickens he could. They were all running away from him- poor guy. I have seen the big rooster at work- he holds them down by his beak on the back of their neck. They expect it from him- I don't think they know what to make of another rooster. I change my mind- poor girls!!!

We have continued to get 2 eggs a day this week, and one is usually brown. We now have 8 eggs in the incubator. Adam took out 2 yesterday as they showed no signs of growing. The oldest one is so big in there, you can't even see what is what any more. And- one of the brown ones is fertilized - I was shocked! But- I guess when there are two roosters at work.....

Saturday, February 7, 2009

RI Red laying ?!?!

Yesterday we got 2 eggs from the chickens for the first time in months. And, one was brown- you know what that means - one of the RI reds are laying. How exciting. They are only 3 and 1/2 months old. Is that even possible? I don't know, but no one else is a brown egg layer, that I know of.

We finally got a light going too, comes on an hour before sunrise and 2 hours after sunset. We hope that helps some with egg production. All of the eggs have been going into the incubator. We now have 7 in there. The first one that we put in on Jan 30th is growing the best. You can see the chick and the eye and its moving all around- it is really amazing. Every morning (and most nights too) we candle it and see the changes, which are on a daily basis. What a great learning experience for the kids (and adults too). I just hope we have good luck after they have hatched. The couple people I have talked to about hatching eggs have told me many of the chicks don't make it. We have tried to take our own pictures, but our camera takes terrible pictures in the dark. But in looking for some pictures I found this site. http://lancaster.unl.edu/4h/Embryology/ They have information, pictures and video on hatching and candling and just about anything else you can think of. They have an egg cam, and they even have a facebook page!

If you have some information to share about hatching, I'd love to hear it as we are new to this!

Saturday, January 31, 2009

automated chicken door & egg hatching




I took pictures of the "baby" chickens- who are now bigger than the older ones. It is so interesting to see how the different breeds mature.




And how about this guy(?) we thing he might be a rooster as he has been bigger than the rest since he got here. No definitive proof yet. We love the beards they are developing, not a good picture for that here, but most of the aracaunas have them.






Here it is- the up & running automated chicken door! Just flick the switch & up it goes. I don't think the chickens are impressed, but I am. We have plans to make it automated do it will go up and down on its own- but we need different parts (I believe).





We put two eggs into the incubator the kids got for Christmas. We have candled them and could have, possibly, we don't really know, might have seen something. We put them in on the 30th and the 31st- so about 21 days will put us around Feb 20th. We don't even know who is laying now, so I can't wait to see what happens.





video video

Thursday, January 15, 2009

All is quiet

Not much new with the chickens these days. Yesterday we got a heated water bucket, finally. The winter weather here is usually relatively mild. Not this year, its been record breaking cold I bet. So I never thought we would need a heated bucket, but their water has frozen solid more than once. I have had to bring it up to the house to thaw it and refill for them. The good news is that it is a five gallon bucket, so it will last longer now too. We were afraid it would be too high for them to get their heads into it, so we surrounded it with hay. All set!

I got my first McMurray catalogue in the mail yesterday. Wow! It is something to look through their stock on line, but it is very different to flip through page after page of birds. I saw the pheasants, they really are beautiful. But when I read they had to be ordered in multiples of 30 I thought maybe we weren't quite ready for that yet. I really want a peacock, and they only need to bought in multiples of 8. Maybe...

PS- At the end of the day when Adam went down to close up their door (which isn't necessary to open anyway because they won't even step out the door when there is snow on the ground) he said the water in the bucket was steaming. crazy!
And the linear actuator came in the mail today too- unfortunately it seems to have taken apart and incorrectly put back together with a missing screw.