Tag Archives: Silkies

Chick freedom day

Feisty and her chicks liberated themselves today.  They usually let me know when they’re ready for the big world by starting to leak out.  Thing is, Foxy’s chicks are days older, and they weren’t the ones to start getting out.Once Feisty was out and about though, Foxy got excited.One has such beautiful wings. Who, me?

I helped them out by lifting up the side of the chickery, and they started leaking out.  One.  Two. Threeand four. No, I’m back in.All out.  First day totally at large is a big day.  They drew some onlookers too.

Hens and their chicks

Daisy’s chicks have the greatest outfits right now.  Worthy of Björk.   Silver is still specialCotton’s chicks are little screamers.  Always yelling, no apparent reason.   They’re moved up to the big Silkie house with the grownup hens.Making the rounds of the dish, literally.

Feisty’s chicks are the newest.Foxy’s four:And Galahad’s chicks! Monopolizing a feed dish.

A fleet of broody Silkies

Everyone is outside today!  First day out for Foxy and her full-size chicks.  She’s overdue for it, but it’s been rainy.  Cotton and Daisy know all about out, but have also been in for a bit due to weather.

Look who’s sniffin’ around – the Colonel

Ten to one one of these hens (Cotton) is going to fly out and go big world today.  And tonight, one set of them has to go to the big house – move in with the other hens in Silkieland.  That means the hens will all scrap to sort out their order again, but the chicks will like that a lot.

The greenhouse looks a little different with the vacancies!  Can actually walk through it again, now all the chickeries are outside.  Inside, there are now only broody hens parked:  an astonishing five of them.  Outside, Silkieland is a little sparse, with all these girls in setting on eggs.  The most recent two were settled in a nest box together, apparently broody, but without eggs.  I gave them the interference test (Touch them.  Do they puff up, stick up their tails, and screech-growl?)

Grrrr! Yes, we’re broody!

They’re broody.  I thought, they went broody together, I can put them in a box together.  They’ll be like sisters, and hatch their eggs together, and the chicks will grow up together– won’t that be cute?

No, not cute.  I prepared a box (the very well used Apples box that has done a lot of time by now), and settled the two of them into it, giving them each a few eggs.  I came back in a few minutes, and both of them were in there in full fury, puffed up, heads down, beak to beak, snarling at each other.  One had promptly stolen all the eggs and had them under her, and the other wanted to be on them and was trying to bulldoze in.  Ok then, individual boxes.  And Ursa Minor also went broody again at the same time.  The little star.  I can just plunk her in a box, middle of the day, she doesn’t skip a beat. Long as there’s some eggs where I’m going. 

Some hens need to be coddled or they’ll break up.  I had one Brahma broody in the coop  (a Brahma!  So exciting!), and tried three times to move her into a broody box (an XL one), and she wasn’t having it.  In the morning, she’d be off her eggs and freakin’ out.  Finally I tried to make a better nest in the coop, a raised dais of hay, and just that broke her up for good.  Touchy.  I’m a little Brahma chick!  I think there’s only one, but I can tell it’s a Brahma.  The Brahma behaviour, and the feathered feet, are emerging.  Adorable!  I like the big pillowy Brahmas.

The other two hens in the covered wagons are due soon.  Fiesty may be hatching now.  Her head was up and she didn’t try to bite a piece out of me this morning.  She’s a terror.

She doesn’t peck.  She’s gone beyond that.  She pinches – grabs a piece and pulls, and she recently integrated a twist.  I bet she was Miss Popularity in the chicken schoolyard.  She’s the only hen to have drawn blood from me, and she has a knack for hitting the skin between thumb and forefinger or on my wrist.  She snake strikes from the dark recesses of the broody kennel when I reach in with food or water (I squawk.  I’ve been tempted to throw it at her).  Every morning, I get thanked for breakfast like this . Until today, so I suspect something is different.  Other than the savage daily attacks, she’s a good sitter.  I like it when they settle on their eggs and stay, without too much rummaging around, moving them around – that increases the chances that they lose one.

Daisy’s chicks are in scruffling stage- feathers sticking out in all directions

If hens were dwarves:  Fiesty, Cranky, Dopey, Whiny, Lazy, Screechy, and Fluffy

Three new chicks

Foxy has managed to hatch 3 of 4 chicks.  She somehow broke all her first eggs, and I gave her a second batch, so she has been setting longer than usual.

She’s used her confinement productively to start regrowing her moulted feathers.One. Two. Three! They’re full size eggs and chicks, looks like two Ameracauna crosses and a Chanticleer.Seems like the danger zone.

Foxy is notably the least good-looking of all the Silkie hens, always grubby and making no effort at all.  Just a slovenly chicken.  It’s funny how different they are.  Most times setting hens will try to shit away from their eggs, so they aren’t sitting in it for days on it.  Makes sense, right?  At least they direct it all in one pile not right under them, and at best they get up and go outside the box to relieve themselves.  Not this one.  Nope.

But she was determinedly broody, so I let her work, even though I had to muck her out in a way I usually don’t.

Next door, Daisy is a determined digger.  She must have legs of steel.  She goes all day, preferring the greenhouse  where she can dig deep holes to the outdoor grass.  She kicks dirt and straw against the fence with a thump, thump.  Then she fills in the last hole digging a new one next to it, all the while clucking enthusiastically, like what could be better that this!  The chicks are always spattered with dirt.  I assume they’ll inherit quite the work ethic.  At least two weeks old now,  these Silkie babies are not substantially larger than the day-olds next door, although they are clearly more developed, with the tail “spray”, wing tip feathers, and longer legs.

Itty bitty feather slippers

The little Silkie chicks are ridiculously cute.  There’s five of them; these two and Daisy has three, including the late silver arrival (who’s doing very well).  It’s nice to have Silkie chicks under Silkie moms;  I got used to seeing them with the fast-growing, out-sized “regular” babies.  The moms are so doting, and fierce!The five are all still tiny fuzzballs, even ten days old, and you can see their feathered feet.  I can already tell that this little brown one comes from the “extravagantly feathered feet” stock.  Daisy’s been outside, but we had a big rain day (another one!) and they went back under cover.  Just like yesterday, a thunderstorm rolled over suddenly and torrentially.  SO loud in the greenhouse. I got wings!This silver one is so special.

A lot of pictures, for a day I didn’t take any pictures

All the things I didn’t take pictures of today:

Moving the piggies into some lush new jungle land.  I paid for it in bug bites, but they’re piggy pleased.

Chris and Cream Puff canoodling.  They really are always together.

Two new chicks, little Silkie chicks.

Two new broodies, and wooo Nelly, one of them is vicious!  This one was broody without eggs.  I wasn’t sure she was broody because she was sitting, but not on eggs, and she didn’t know what to do with herself because she didn’t have eggs, so she was moving around.  But I experimentally put her in a covered wagon with eggs, and she is definitely broody, and taking no chances at losing her big chance, now she has eggs!  She attacks!  She’s a biter, not a pecker, and it really pinches.

Cleaning out the box of death (probably best not pictured) and revamping it.  Now there are no holes in the lid – that was a design flaw. Flies in ≥  grubs out.

Preventing a mass red wiggler escape.   I had to extract some castings, because WOW I have a thriving population of worms, and I think they may have been feeling crowded.  Amazing! I’m going to sell some next.  Who needs a worm compost starter worm pack? But sifting through castings and wet shredded paper compost doesn’t jive well with using a camera.

The little barred rock/Silkie (“Barred Rock with a hairdo”) getting trapped inside the greenhouse adjunct garden.

The four little chicks who got stranded under the wrong pine tree when they followed a couple teenagers too far from their Mom.  They needed assistance to find their way back.  Them:  There she is!  Mom!  Here we are!  Mom:  Ah crap.  I was enjoying that break.

Sounds like a big day, and it was, bigger than my usual lately, but not what I’m still optimistically calling my “normal”, even as that normal retreats into the past.  I’m still “battling” Lyme disease (First world lucky, I pop a pill twice daily – that’s not even a skirmish), and the Lyme, or the prolonged use of Lyme meds, is currently manifesting like a mild flu with narcolepsy, and I am at half productivity, at best.  Any day I don’t slip further behind is a BIG win.

I did get some pictures just before bedtime.  These little rascals all crowded up in the chicken door-within-a-door.  They like to pose in the doorway every evening, just not usually all at once.  There are a couple leghorn blends!  Awesome!  Sometimes they look a bit leggy, with the super erect tails.I put rings around the peppers.  What I should have done is put tomato cages around them before they grew up, but now it’s too late, and I had sticker shock at buying 35 tomato cages in one go (now I wish I had). Otherwise, the weight of the developing peppers makes the branches fall outward and snap off, because the stems aren’t terribly strong without a breeze in the GH.  In lieu of tomato cages, I put a circlet of baling wire around each plant, strung up to the tomato suspension guylines.  Better than nothing.Galahad is like Excuse me, you haven’t noticed, she’s not supposed to be in here! Apples and Sprout, being their adorable selves.  Sprout spends more time with her siblings now, but remains very loyal to stepmommy.Chris atop the honeymoon coop.  Needs reroofing. Oh, and today there was a walnut in this coop.  What the heck?  A stand-in egg?  Did a chipmunk move it in?  The walnuts are starting to drop.What the heck is Cleopatra doing way up in the walnut tree at bedtime?!


Cuteness is a full time job around here.

The rooster is making himself comfortable in the food tray.  I’m just gonna lay down right here. The three pine trees I pruned up are seeing the use I imagined.   Ursa and her chicks are under this one, and the teens have decamped from Pine Tree One (leaving that one to the grownups) to their own clubhouse tree, where they are cuddling (too much!).  All the trees now have established dust baths, too.  There’s a new addition!   One teeny tiny little silver chick.  I dreamed another chick hatched last night, and I remembered dreaming it, and then it turned out to be true!

Daisy was up off her three unhatched eggs yesterday, after giving them two extra days.  She shoved them out of her box and ignored them.  When she went to bed, though, I tucked the eggs back under her for the night, just in case.

Good thing!  This little baby is adorable!  The first silver chick ever.  Maybe one of Annie Smith Peck’s.Am I doing it right?

This little tiny chick is half the size of its siblings just two days older, and it is having a rough go.  It can’t stand up on its legs, isn’t very good at moving around, can barely stay right side up, and keeps getting run over by the siblings. It just wants to spend its first day alive tucked under Mom, but Mom already has active toddlers to take care of, and she’s hard to keep up with.

She’s doing her best.   Scratch scratch, eat, eat, sit on the baby.  It made it through its first day, so I think it will make it.  Going to be the slow learner for weeks, though, before those two days cease to matter.

More warm days

Almost bedtime. Philippe PetitPuffcheeks demonstrating the hot weather “airplane stance” to perfection.  Ailerons out for cooling breezes.It’s possible I have an olive-sided flycatcher visiting (need positive ID).  It’s a species at risk in NS, and it seemed to be shopping for snacks off the side of our house, possibly wasps.  It was making repeat visits and swooping at the corner of the house.

Remember that “wild” rabbit?  It did not quite allow me to get a picture, but it was taking a dirt bath, writhing around like a chicken, in the sand pile outside our door last evening.  Very undignified.

More chicks!

Ursa Minor’s looking smug (it’s funny how they always look smug or proud when they get their chicks, but it is an achievement that cost endurance and attention).  Four chicks!  How exciting, she got all of hers.There’s one!There’s another one.  These two new moms got transferred out of their broody kennels into boxes and chickeries today, so I could clean the kennels for the next tenants.Daisy finally got her suite upgrade.This one (tentatively “Wolverina” is still so fierce!  She only has two chicks hatched, which isn’t good, but she’s sticking to her eggs.  They were both model sitters, so the problem must be with the eggs.  It’s sad when they don’t get all their chicks. Side by side chickeries.There’s a kennel vacancy (not for long I don’t think).  That’s Sprout and Apples enjoying greenhouse privileges.