I have a handicapped chicken. I’ve no idea what’s wrong with her, but her right leg doesn’t support her weight. She hops and tries to step on her right leg but it collapses under her. I’ve grabbed her for inspection, and she happily hangs out in the football hold while I inspect her leg. I’ve gone all over her foot for slivers, and massaged all up her leg, but she doesn’t ever flinch, just sternly watches me palpating her stuck-out leg.
The first couple days she stayed in or right next to the coop, and then she roamed a little farther, but not all the way to our house like the flock goes every day. She seems to not want to get too far from the coop. I’ve had to put bowls of water in the woods in her range. It’s tricky to leave food out where she will find it before all the other chickens do.
She doesn’t seem to be in any pain, but she’s obviously limited and subdued. She’s got that injured animal wariness, hiding herself in the brush. It’s a mystery what is going on for her if there’s nothing she winces at, but she can’t walk on it.
I had another chicken die. No known cause, but she was an old chicken, one of the original set. I was getting eggs out of the coop and she was in there, and she didn’t skedaddle indignantly like they usually do. I moved her aside, and she settled down like she was going to rest a bit more.
I checked on her a little later and she was still there. I stroked her head and back (a dead giveaway that she wasn’t feeling well). Her upside down lids closed and she fell asleep while I pet her.
I checked on her in an hour and she had tucked her head under her wing and died:(
I’ve been assembling bee supers and frames. They look so nice, all fresh.
The idea is that if the bees are ready to swarm this year (so far they are thriving and vital, so I’m hoping for the best), that there will be a move-in-ready apartment conveniently right next door!
My idea is to leave the bottom super empty, maybe a couple frames in the top box, to be spacious like a swarm box. Since I haven’t built a swarm box yet, I need to build supers anyway, and I want to have something ready in the event of a sudden swarm, then this is a better-than-nothing measure.
I was assembling frames in my tiny camper, and stocking them outside, when the robber bees arrived. They were doing their nervous, zigzag robber bee thing, investigating the new wax frames with enthusiasm.
More and more bees arrived (they were uncannily camera shy though). I started to get nervous, and promptly put up a box in the field for them to inspect.
They haven’t made any moves on it, but they know it’s there.
This has been such a drab, cold!, protracted spring, that there hasn’t been a day warm enough for me to make a full hive inspection. I feel like I should. I am heartened that it takes a long time to find a Varroa mite on the bottom board, they are sucking back the syrup I give them, and they have at least doubled last year’s numbers, judging by the comings and goings. So far they seem to be caring for themselves quite well. I hope I can give them a third super in time.
Right on time:) At the end of the day I insisted on preparing the red hen’s box for the arrival of chicks- cleaning out her turd mountain and soggy food and replacing her bedding, and lo and behold, there was peeping! OMG, peeping! I picked up the protesting red hen to see and a wet little tadpole of a chick fell out, wriggling on its back like a turtle. Yay, a chick!
It did seem like she was unusually alert all day.
Another chick! A little spotted one, with markings on its back like a spider! Maybe one of the black hen’s eggs, or the red hen’s. Yesterday’s chick is white, now that it’s dried out and fluffy. There’s one more egg with pipping; there’s a little beak visible, but it has not made progress over the day. They are so, unbelievably cute, and tiny! One little chick is weightless in my hand.
Well, the results of the ambiguous candling are now officially confirmed. I removed all the unhatched eggs and looked through them with light again. The opaque eggs at 15 days were full of chicks, and the clear/translucent eggs were eggs either never fertilized or lost for some reason extremely early. Three and three. So the red hen is essentially at 66%, if I gave her three non-viable eggs to start with. The third chick died, and did not complete hatching, which is too bad. To get that close! I unpeeled the shell around it. It is indeed amazing how packed in there they are, and how well developed. They come out and they function completely- standing, eating, digesting, communicating. Amazing.
The two living chicks are toddling around and spending most of their time under mom. The chicks come and go from under her, vigorously nudging when they want back under until they get let in under a breast or a wing. She’s still in her broody bedded-down state, and I’m hoping she’ll come out of it now and start mothering. There’s no plan B if these hens are lousy mothers. I sure hope she’s having them eat and drink when I’m not looking. I’m worried about them falling into even the smallest waterer, and have modified a little tub for mom to drink from. I held each one to the chick nipple and forced them to have a little drink. In lieu of chick starter, they have a fruit and veggie chopped salad and cooked quinoa.
Adorable! The tiny chicks burrow under mom when they get cold, and pop out to look around. They bounce around their box and peep a lot. They glug from the water nipple like pros! Mom is actively participating, very loudly cheeping over new food, poking them under her. They’ve made a mess of their box scratching the food around, and every day I remove mom’s droppings. The chicks are so small their turds are about the size of a buckwheat grain. Although even these chicks are huge compared to songbirds, they seem so tiny to me compared to standard day-old chicks. Already they have their wing feathers appearing on their nubby little wings.
The temperature has dropped a lot, so winter is close enough to smell. The white hen must be due any day now. She went broody a few days after the red hen but I didn’t note it exactly.
After a day in Halifax we came home to a new chick! Already fluffy and poking out from mama’s wing, this one must have hatched early in the day. We prepped up a new chick box for the white hen and moved her and her eggs into it to finish hatching. Yay! I’m counting on more from her. There’s sure to be another chick by morning.
No new chicks in the morning:( I was at work all day, and the text message reports flowed in! A new chick mid morning! Another soggy chick in the afternoon! I came home, and OMG, one of them is smoke grey! One is very yellow! So tiny, amazing all over again. The eggs are cracked in half, opened around the center like a seam, expertly.
Just the few days difference between the sets of chicks and the growth is visible.
Now there are two mom boxes in the coop and the rooster sleeps between them. H.W. thinks he must be really forlorn now everyone’s gone.
It sure seems to me like they’re looking proud!
The white hen has 75% success. One of her four eggs failed as well, and similarly close to done. I cracked the dead egg to see and the nearly completely formed chick was sharing space still with some yolk. It must have died in the last few days. But three very alive, and mobile. The white hen has an amusing defence tactic. She lowers her head and lifts up her butt and makes angry noises. She tries to back her chicks into a corner and guard them like this. The chicks still come leaking out and hopping around, and it doesn’t do anything to stop me from lifting her up to clean under her.