Tag Archives: chicks

First snow!

First snow in October!  Real snow too, big swirling flakes that are sticking around for a little while.  The Caped Crusader doesn’t wait for me to distribute the food.These are the four middle chicks, having a snow day in the greenhouse.  Snow is pretty much rain, only quiet. The co-mamas and the  7 Silkies.  Adorable.  They’re so tiny.  I’m in dread of stepping on one, since they’re so small and brown and hard to see.   Luckily Marshmallow is fierce.  She runs off any of the other chicks and hens, so I know these little ones are getting enough to eat.

There’s a cuckoo.  Apples’ chick is large than the few days lead she has on the others, and is probably a Silkie cross.

Co-mamas

Brown Bonnet and Marsha (Marshmallow) are cute.  They hang out together, their chicks spilling over into each other.Brown Bonnet is very maternal and relaxed, and all seven of the little Silkie chicks will sometimes be with her. Marsha’s a bit nervous.  At night sometimes they share a box, and they readily share patches of food without competition.  Our kids are the same age (and size), we should be friends. This little one is already developing an extravagant hairdo.

Mini release

She’s got four!  Two and two.  They’re still ridiculously small, but in spite of being the size of golf balls, they are developmentally old enough to be bold adventurers.  Time to prop open the chickeries so they could creep out and join the chicken greenhouse society.  Here they come!Mom immediately dove into a sprawly dirt bath.   Nothing celebrates freedom like throwing dirt over your head.  Brown Bonnet was a bit more furtive.  The chicks readily popped out, But Brown Bonnet wanted to mostly hide behind a board.  

Every morning I have an exploding box of chickens

Every morning I have an exploding box of chickens.  Most have them have pushed out of the cardboard boxes they so tranquilly spent the night in, and are jumping, and pooping, and scrapping all over top of the boxes, frantic to get out.We’re all cooped up!The broody kennels too (now night occupancy for the greenhouse chickens).

They all come busting out, scratching and fluttering, and then vanish, absorbed into the jungle.  They love a good hay bale.

Brown Bonnet has three little chicks, including the chick that Apples hatched.  This was a terrible hatch for her.  Two of her own, successful, and three that failed to make it out of the egg, even with my help.  She was having one hatch every day, and after her first two she was up and off of the eggs except at night (Three’s enough), so the late chicks really struggled (and died).  They’re so tiny.   They look like they could fit comfortably in a ping pong ball, because they could.  Just got out of smaller quarters. One white, one spider brown, and one white with rust accents (Apples’)

New hen boxes

The hens with chicks got an apartment reno.  It was time to retire those battered old boxes.  So I set up a new condo system, each with a little bed of hay.  But will they use them?All the other chickens came and inspected of course. Well, I left the most popular box, double occupancy in a pinch.Oh!  A promising amount of attention.Look Mom, we found a new place!They approved.  2/3 were occupied, and it was much nicer to transport these boxes with closed lids.

Chocolate and the white chocolates started out in a new box, but ended up in the old box.One of Foxy’s chicks (the biggest set) is cute, with the little neck beard,and dark brown cape.  I’m pretty sure he’s a little rooster, with those big thick legs. He looks like a small turkey.

Overcrowding

I went out at bedtime to close everyone up, which means picking up the cardboard boxes that the wild chicks and the moms they’re still attached to have retired into, and carrying them into the safe box in the greenhouse for the night.  There’s a lineup of three boxes.

One was empty.

Oh, great.  Foxy and her set have found someplace to sleep outside.  I put the other two boxes away, did a quick low crawl to look around the base of the brush piles where they like to rest (wow, they’ve got a proper labyrinth in there), and went for a flashlight and headlamp to mount a search.  On the way back, I thought I’d better double check the box contents to make sure I knew exactly who I was looking for.

Foxy and Feisty and their seven chicks between them were all jammed into one box!  The smallest box.  That box does seem to be preferred.  I could just imagine the growling. Yeah, well I want this box too.  I called dibs.  I’m not leaving.  Fine!  I’m not leaving either.

As long as they’re happy.   In their 140 square inches of real estate.  Mental note:  they will not be happy in the morning – must not delay letting them out.

They weren’t:  Nine birds in a 10x 14 box , what were they thinking?Ursa has a mom-hopper.  Ursa’s got attitude. First the yellow one.Then the black ones – corner warming.

An experiment in chick freedom

Ursa Minor was protesting the confines of the chickery, so I tried something.  I let all the moms and chicks loose.  This is not rain day, these are the tiny chicks in their first few days of life, that are typically in chickeries in the greenhouse (warm and dry), before they go out to chickeries on grass for a few days, before they run wild with their moms (a staged transition to free-range).So I propped up the chickeries so they could leave, but still get back in their familiar box.  Clever stayed in for hours. Ursa shot out and within a minute, was demonstrating hole digging in the tomatoes. Hers are the smallest chicks too.  The others have an edge by a couple days or at least some hours.  But she’s a real go-getter.No time to lose!  I’ve done this before.  Can’t waste a minute with early chickhood education!Thinking about it. Domino’s thinking harder about it.     Oh!  Big moves!  This is the cost of chickens on the loose.  The danger to low hanging fruit.  It’s negligible.I think I see a tomato right now.

Chick party in the greenhouse

Rain day!

It did not start well.  The forecast, usually accurate to the hour, was predicting rain starting at 9pm tonight.  At 6am, pat. pat pat. patpatpatpatpat! 

I leapt up.  I needed to give the pigs access to their house.  Yesterday I’d moved their house (thank god!), but I hadn’t cut out the path to reroute the electric fence around it.  Really crappy work that I planned to do today before the rain (plenty of time!), as I was so tired and sore yesterday.  Instead, in the dark before dawn, in the rain, while the pigs watched me impatiently, grunting.  Hey.  It’s raining.  ME:  You’re waterproof, you tyrants.

I got the brush cut out, and the fence patched around it, and they grunted right in.  They just prefer to be in their house in the rain.   I checked the forecast.  It had changed, imagine that.  Yes, it is indeed raining right now.  And it’s now predicted to rain all day.  That means the pigs will spend all day in their house.

Amazingly, I enticed Galahad to go back into the greenhouse.  I figured he’d prefer that, but didn’t think it would work.  I’ve never asked him to go back into the greenhouse during the day.   And I released all the moms and their chicks inside the greenhouse! That’s Foxy, Fiesty, and  Chocolate at large, plus Ursa, Clever and (unnamed) in their chickeries.The chicks wouldn’t have any problems in the rain, but it would be hard on the hens, as soon as the chicks try to use Mom for an umbrella.  Silkies aren’t even water resistant.They were over the moon!  This was the most exciting thing ever, apparently.  Galahad etc weren’t too demonstrative, but content to be inside.  We live here, what’s the big deal?  The chicks and moms acted like they just got heli-dropped into Disneyland.  The cheeping!  The clucking!  The scampering! Oh the places you’ll scratch!  Oh the things you’ll peck!An hour later and they were still centralized on just the first fraction of the greenhouse.

It turned out to be a grey day more than a rain day, and I let Galahad out again for most of the day.  It started coming down again early evening.   The chicks were all late going to bed:)  Best day ever!

new chicks

Clever’s chicks made it!  (sort of).  I didn’t expect them to because the eggs were poopy, and that can choke off the exchange of air and humidity to the developing chick.  She rolled one egg away from her a week ago, and it was rotten.  I should have known she knew her other two were alive.

However, one died after hatching.  This is quite rare, for a chick to die after hatching under a mom, and after being alive long enough to dry out and fluff up.   The chick death rate when you’ve got mother hens is very low.  No medicated feed necessary – coccidosis and pasted bum are non-issues (very thankfully).  But it happens. Sad.  She only has one chick now, and that’s not fair, because she was an excellent sitter and I’m sure will be a great mom.  It’s a very noisy chick.  A leghorn, I think.  So they came out of the broodery into a greenhouse chickery (cue dirt bath), and Apples went in (!).  She settled right in, sitting on her eggs.

Then I lifted the lid to feed the other two broodies, and got a big surprise!Hm.  She’s got a dirty butt.

Three quiet little chicks!  Two dominoes!  I was hoping for more Copper Marans.  These will be Inky and Velvet duplicates.  And one leghorn cross. So cute.Did you say something about my butt?

Speaking of Copper Marans, Cleopatra, bio-mom of all the black chicks this year, is pulling a new stunt.  She jumps into Silkieland to lay an egg in their coop.  Cuckoo, cuckoo!  Then she acts like she has no idea how to get out again.  Every day.

OMG I can’t get out!
Oh, right.
Perchable moment

That’s Flash just to the left of the stick on the coop- a rare capture.  S/He’s a little brown keet (a “pearl”), but his first one or two flight feathers are white, so when she extends her wings, or hasn’t folded them back in completely, you see the flash of white.  It’s distinctive.   You can see the white line in this picture.