Friday, March 11, 2016

A Week Later...It's Nearly mid-March

Wasn't really a week after my last post, but it sure seems like it. Time really flies.

So. Spring has apparently sprung around here. Really nice, warm days. The past couple of days we've been up to near 80°.
I'm ready to get gardening.
Though I probably won't until after Easter.

I've been hanging laundry out on the line to dry - my favorite thing!

My wild flowers (aka weeds) are growing in; pretty blue Speedwell, white Chickweed, yellow Dandelion, and Buttercups (not pictured), purple Deadnettle.
I've been seeing some Bees already!

I've still been dividing most of my days between working around the house, and volunteering at the food pantry. (Still nothing good to say about that.)

We got J's brother buried and had the Memorial Service.
(You don't want to hear what I have to say about that, either.
I can't think too much about it or I lay awake all night fuming.)

My chickens are doing well.  I'm getting typically 4 to 5 eggs a day now.
The Ameraucana (blue egg layer) only lays three or four times a week.

I had gotten 7 eggs one day and thought that they were each all laying now, but shortly after that, my Buff Orphington hen went broody, so it was more likely that she laid a clutch of eggs to try and hatch.
(Which would never happen, since I don't have roosters. None of the eggs my chickens lay are fertile.)

As far as I knew, I was happy with my little flock. Seven chickens is plenty for my little farmstead, I get sufficient eggs to eat and share.

One day they will stop laying and I'll have to think about making them into dinner, but that's probably another year or two away.

But then one day someone in one of the local egg & chicken groups I'm in posted a, "Coming Soon, Chick Moms!" with a pic of Tractor Supply Chick Days signs, and I thought, 'I need chicks' (?).

I never raised chicks before, and to be honest, I wasn't that excited to do so.

Still, though, it kept nagging at me. Maybe I'd like some more "blue egg layers".
Had it not been for the 25 chick minimum order, I probably would have went ahead and ordered a few.

A few days later, Cousin Joe was over and we got talking about chicks and he said if I got any chicks or wanted to hatch any eggs, he had an incubator and already has a place to raise chicks and he'd raise them for me 'til the got big enough to live outside.

I still wasn't sure I wanted to buy 25 chicks.....then a few days later, someone posted they had EE hatching eggs for sale.

EE is an Easter Egger chicken, which is a mixed breed of Americauna or Aracauna with other breeds of chickens.
Depending on the "color gene" they catch, EE's may lay blue, brown, pink, or green eggs.

So I bought (nearly) 2 dozen of eggs from the lady.
She was short four, so put in a couple of English game bantams, and a couple of Serama bantams.
One of the EE eggs was bad, so we're at 19 currently.
I figure with a..I don't know, 2/3 hatch success rate...and some of them being roosters, I should get at least 5 or 6 Easter Egger hens when alls done.
Just a guess. I may figuring too high on the hatch success rate. We'll see.

The same day I went and bought the hatching eggs and took them to Cousin Joe's, was the same day I got 7 eggs from my flock, and then my Buff hen went broody.

Poor chicky, she sat in that nest day in and day out, setting on eggs that would never hatch, not to mention I'd come steal them from her every evening.

I felt sorry for her, but at the same time I thought, 'this might be something interesting'.

I messaged a neighboring farmsteader that I knew raised chickens, etc. and asked if she had a few fertile eggs, didn't care how many or what kind, for my poor broody hen to sit on.

She did, so I went and got them and brought them and stuck them in Buff's nest.
(She was in it, I had to move her out to put the eggs in, then return her to it.)

I could have broken her from her broody by forcing her off the nest, but I thought it might be a new, interesting experience to let her try to hatch some chicks, and (hopefully) care for and raise them herself.

I like the idea of the hen(s) hatching/raising chicks the way nature intended (not in an incubator or under a light in a brooder)....even though I have to substitute the eggs for fertile ones from other chicken parents, because I want to deal with roosters even less than I want to raise chicks.

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