Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Chickens Update

 The first four chick(en)s hatched in the incubator back in mid-March are about 14 weeks old now.
There are 3 roosters and 1 hen.  (I believe.)

The roosters have started crowing within the past couple of weeks. They aren't too loud yet, though.

The three to the left are roosters, the far right one I believe is a hen.
My plan is to group one rooster with two or three hens from the 9-batch and hopefully sell them as a "starter pack" for new backyard chicken farmers.

There are roosters in the 9-batch, but the eggs came from the same farm so I don't know which/if the chickens are related and am not sure about breeding chicken siblings.

The 9-batch chick(en)s are about 13 weeks now.
They still hang together in a group mostly. Buff, their Hatch-Mother, doesn't really have anything to do with them anymore.

(Buff tried to go broody again right before Hawk hatched the last 4-pack of chicks. I put her off the nest a few times but she was persisting. I decided I'd get her some eggs when I got back from Florida, but when I got back she was no longer broody, so that was good. I didn't need more chicks right now.)

The 9-batch roos haven't started crowing yet - thank goodness, but then again, kind of weird because they're only like a week behind the First Four. Seems like they would have started crowing by now.

I'm still not totally sure which of the 9-batch are roos and which are hens.  I'm fairly sure these two are roos:

I thought the black&white was a hen, but something the other day (I can't remember what now?) made me think it might be rooster afterall.  Also, it's huge, bigger even than some of the suspected roos.

Pretty sure the black one is a hen. I plan to couple her with the white rooster of the First Four, and see if they make black&white checked babies.

The white chick (lol) on the left is the last, little baby yellow chick of the 9-batch. She has a few names: Number 9, Lucky 13, but I just call her Baby.  Pretty sure she's a girl, too.
I plan on her being Blackie's sister wife with White Roo.

The one on the right...I don't know much about. I think it's a hen. She's generic-looking to me, until I see her in the pictures, I don't know that I've even ever really seen her in the flock.
I don't think she typically looks like she's walking on stilts like she does here, lol.

And then there's the 4-pack, the last batch of babies hatched June 1st.
They're about 3.5 weeks old now.

I think I let the 9-batch out into the flock earlier than 3.5 weeks, but then there was only the several older hens/flockmates.

When I brought the First our home and tried to integrate them in with the original seven and the 9-batch, it didn't work out. I probably didn't really give it enough time, but I couldn't stand to watch them fight and pick and carry on like they were, so I said forget it and put the First Four in their own coop.

So I was worried how these 4 babies were going to fare with the 9 "teens" and didn't want to let them out until they were bigger.
Well, Hawk, their Hatch-Mom, wasn't having it.
She kept throwing temper tantrums whenever I would come and let the other chickens out, but she was stuck in her cage.
She hollered at me, and then it got to where she was flipping their food plate over, and turning the waterer over and all the water would spill out, leaving her and the chicks nothing to drink.
The food spilled out too, but at least it was still in the bottom of the cage where they could eat it if they got hungry enough. The water would just be gone.

Finally I said, fine, go then. Hope your babies don't get eaten.
So I let them out, and they did fine.

Sometimes some of the 9-batch would peck at one of the chicks if it got in their way, but mostly to warn it, not to hurt it. They didn't chase the babies to attack them, and too, Hawk does a pretty good job protecting them and herding them around, making sure they get to eat and scratch and dust bath.

I didn't check their wings at a week old to even try to guess what sex they are, so I have No idea if they are boys or girls.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

The Farmlet Garden

Our little garden is doing pretty well this year.

For what reason I can't remember now, we moved the garden back down to the original location in the lower back yard....about the furthest point from the water hose...and of course we're having somewhat of a drought this year.
I have 3 water hoses stretched across the yard, and water up to twice a day.

We had lost about half of the peppers we'd planted early on, not sure what happened to those. I wasn't sure if I'd planted them too early, but apparently not. The remaining peppers started producing very nicely, and the Early Girl tomatoes produced well.

The Goliath tomatoes have started turning this past week or so, and the Black Russians have a good many tomatoes on stalk, just waiting for them to ripen up. 

I was able to make nearly a pint of Pico de Gallo (fresco salsa) from most of our first harvest (J ate several of the tomatoes before I could get them).

Squash to the left of the trellis, cucumbers to the right, corn behind.

My fishing-line-and-coke-can deer fence has apparently worked very well, and we've had no deer visitors eating up the tomatoes.

I only planted one row of squash, and three rows of cucumbers, but only one row of cukes came up. All the seeds were old(er) and I wasn't sure any of them would come up at all, so we've gotten a few squash and cucumbers here and there.
J gave some squash to the neighbor, and grilled some with burgers yesterday.
I plan to make some dill pickles when I get a few cukes saved up.

It seems like I'm seeing a good bit more bees around this year than previously.  I'm not sure if being further from the house leaves them more undisturbed, or maybe they were there all along and I just didn't see them.  Whichever, I'm glad to see them.

The corn patch is coming along well so far. The plants are tall and looking good, and ears of corn are growing, but it's hard to be too excited until we can actually break open the ears and see they weren't demolished by worms.

Got the pool opened and going. It's very nice on these hot, humid Georgia June days.

The fountain is my favorite.  I love the trickling water sound of it.

Friday, June 17, 2016

So from the June 1st - 2nd hatching, 4 of the 5 eggs ended up hatching a baby chick. 

I don't know the breeds, as the eggs were taken from a few different nests and I didn't note/mark what was what. Will find out eventually, and if 3 of the 4 (or more!) are roosters, like the 1st 4 turned out to be.

The babies are 2 weeks old now. Here's some vid of them at 10 days old.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Chicken Coop Art

When we last left off in my quest for Artsy'ing up the chicken coop wall (Farm Art), I had gotten this far and ran out of ideas.

Well, it just kept sitting there, waiting and waiting, for me to do something. Anything.

So I said, well, I'll paint the comb and beak and wattle and feet and see what happens from there.

Well, people, I don't have any idea what happened from there.

I remember waking up sometime in the wee hours of the morning, thinking about feathers.

LOL, not White feathers.

I don't know why the picture uploaded sideways.
 I glued the frame part I'd popped off the back, onto the front to make it shadow-boxy, and re-spray-painted it blue/green....sky and grass.

I feathered the hen, cut a plastic bowl in half and glued on jute-rope twine, glued on colorful plastic eggs, and added some flowers, grass, butterflies.

I thought I had wanted it to be like, a sign. Pinterest has a lot of chicken coop signs with neat or witty sayings.

The best I could come up with was "Eggstravaganza!" waving across the sky.
My son Cricutted the letters out for me, but it didn't go exactly as I'd pictured, and the vinyl didn't want to stick to the painted surface too well.

Then last week I went to my sister's to attend my nephew's graduation, and she took me to the Goodwill OUTLET. Wooooohooooooo!

Anyway, I found a small metal Sun that looked made for this.
So crazy. Nothing ever works out like that.

After that I called it done and got J to hang in the coop for me.

The chickens were so funny, they all gathered up and stood there looking at it like they were watching tv or a movie, lol. 

Or judging a work of art in an art gallery, hahaha.

I didn't get it hanged (forgot about it at the time)(outta sight, outta mind) but I found this Old Time Pottery chicken topiary framed print at a thrift store 50¢ sale last week.

Found this chicken couple...I think it's a door draft stopper?....at the same 50¢ sale. Planning to put a shelf for them to sit on on the coop wall.

Wednesday, June 01, 2016

More New Baby Chicks at the Farmlet

Back in mid-May I had posted that I had a Hen on the nest (broody), and had tried to get some fertile eggs from one of the ladies I had gotten them from before, but hadn't been able to hook up with her, and that I needed to find somewhere else to get some eggs for her to set on....

So I did, finally, visit another local farm and purchased 5 random breed eggs and stuck them up under her.

June 3rd was the predicted birth date for the hatching, but last time some of the eggs started hatching a couple of days earlier than expected. Even if any of these didn't hatch early, I figured it was a good time to go ahead and move Hawk and the eggs to the "nursery" today.

As I was moving the eggs from the nest to the nursery-cage, I dropped egg #4! Eeep.
(I numbered the eggs with Sharpie marker so I could tell them from the other brown eggs the other hens like to crawl in the nest and lay too.)

When I picked it up, I saw a small hole in the egg. I could still hear peeping from inside the egg, but wasn't sure if it still needed more time to cook, and was afraid I might have caused it to die before it could be born.

This evening, when I went to close the coop up for the night, I decided to check the egg, to see if I could still hear peeping.

Yep, I heard peeping alright!  Meet Baby #4.

Baby #3 should be here sometime tonight.

It was pretty freaky to see the chick, alive, in the eggshell like that. I have a fear of being buried alive (to the point I don't want to be buried when I'm dead), and it made me feel....uncomfortable to think of the new little baby chick, trapped in the shell, trying to get out. Sometimes they don't make it out alive. 
But you're not supposed to "help" them out, I'm not sure why not, but I don't want to do something wrong, so I stuck it back under the Hen, and hope everything goes as it's supposed to.