Sunday, August 5, 2012

7-9 Days to Go...

I candled the chicken eggs, as promised, on Friday. I did not snap pictures, though because I wanted to do it quickly so the eggs would not cool too much and also there was only my set of hands to work with.  (Sean and Dale are currently occupied installing a new water heater to live in the basement. I am sure Sean would have helped, but I thought his project more pressing for his time and attention.) Add to that, my camping girls absconded with my good flashlight, so it was harder than usual to see through the shell. Is that enough excuses for my lack of photos?

I think the news is mostly good. With just over a week to go, I only removed 2 eggs that were definitely NOT developing. There are another 10 or so that are questionable, but all the rest seem to be growing and developing from dark, Chickie "globs" into the fluffy peeps we are hoping for.

On Thursday, we decided it was time to move the 2 month old chicks into the main coop where they belong. We had never really intended on them living in the chicken tractor for a long period of time, but it became a necessity while they were small enough to walk through the coop fencing. Having grown sufficiently that this was no longer a problem, we made the move. This freed the tractor for Rufeo (our Rhode Island Red Rooster) and his hens. With the hopes of being able to breed sex link chicks from him, we rehomed 2 Wyandottes and 1 Barred Rock. This arrangement was problematic in that 3 hens would not be suitable in numbers to avoid their being balded by Rufeo's romantic attentions. The 2 Australorp hens in the main coop were being exceptionally territorial to the new chicks; plucking feathers and chasing them mercilessly. So... we added them into the chicken tractor population, which worked out quite nicely for everyone. (The broody hens will also join Rufeo- once they are done sitting on their nests- bringing the ratio of hens to roosters to 7:1, a much better situation for them.)

The new additions to the main coop are settling in just fine. There are still some issues deciding who gets to eat first among the group, but by and large, they have at least been accepted, if not enthusiastically welcomed. They are developing lovely individual coloring traits, which means these will get their own names. In this photo you can see in the fore, a couple of (what we think are) pullets with interesting feathered crests. They are the black facing forward and the white with speckled feathers to the right of her.

Added to the list of unique traits, we hatched a gorgeous pure Americauna with ear tufts (that we suspect is a rooster- No!), a couple of blacks with gold markings and two blacks that resemble nothing so much as mutant crows! Check out the one pictured on the left. What do you think?
In addition to the eggs in the incubator, one of the Wyandotte hens and one of the Barred Rock hens have gone all broody on us and are each sitting on clutches of 10 eggs in separate nest boxes out in the main coop. We have never allowed our hens to hatch out their own chicks, but we thought to give it a try. We were remiss in informing Miss Meaghan of our intentions before she very helpfully collected the eggs for us Thursday afternoon. Sean returned them to some very annoyed hens who were not shy about pecking his hands and squawking their displeasure as he sought to return their treasured orbs. Unbeknownst to the ladies, they are sitting on a variety of eggs from the coops. It will be interesting to see what kind of assortment these hatch to be... if they hatch, that is.

Broody Wyandotte has since become confused about her nest and has moved herself three times. The first time I caught her in the wrong box, I put her into the correct one and she settled in nicely. Later Saturday afternoon, she was back in the wrong box sans eggs. So, thinking she just preferred that box more, I candled the eggs in her first box for evidence of life and put the viable ones under her in her new box. Broody hen moved them into the position she wanted them in and settled herself. When I visited the chickens on Sunday morning, she had moved once again- to a completely different box. The eggs in the nest were stone cold and it was pretty clear she hadn't been sitting on them at all during the night. Since the chicks had already started to develop inside the eggs, I think it is a pretty safe bet that they are no longer viable after many hours of 50 degree temps. This is sad, but sometimes, what happens. I suspect that in Broody Wyandotte's case, the idea of sitting on eggs was -and seems still to be- more interesting than the work actually involved in sitting on eggs. At least, Broody Barred Rock seems to be vigilant in her efforts to hatch a clutch. And, Wyandotte can move to the tractor, instead.

Broody duck(s) are sitting single-mindedly, too. This broodiness seems to be contagious. What started with one, quickly turned into two ducks sharing sitting duties. A third invited herself to the party under the guise that it takes a village. But, when a fourth hen and a drake tried to join the mix, one of the geese stepped in to moderate the debate and get everyone sorted. I captured this exchange on video. No musical soundtrack, though-

For those who cannot see this on a Kindle, try THIS LINK, instead:

Hope you all have a wonderful Sunday.

Thanks for visiting with us today!
Sean & Sonja ♥


  1. That video is too funny! They all want to be the momma. That goose is really gorgeous!

  2. The new chickens are really cute! I want to add some barnyard mixes to our flock one day. They are so interesting.

    Cute video, too. Those ducks aren't messing around! haha.

  3. Have you ever thought about Japanese Silkies? They are my most favoritest ever!!!!
    I guess they may not be the best layers, but boy are they cute!