Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Feathering out

It is continuing to astonish me that the little baby chickens are so much more chickeny than our past broods. They're starting to get more and more feathers, and they're not gonna be cute for much longer... but they are now!

Still cute!

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Cheep Cheep!

A few weeks ago, while bumbling around in the dark,  I had the pants scared off of me by the strangest of noises. Not a growl, not a squawk, not a screech, not a cluck (of any kind) .... but definitely a loud noise that made me want to retrace my steps. Except I don't really do that. Instead, I fumbled around in my pocket to find my phone and in the light of the screen (don't tell me you don't do the same), I saw one of our lorpies huddled in a corner. Hissing.

Recently we've been finding a lot of this:

They like to hide them sometimes
So finding a chicken in a random spot nestled in didn't seem to weird. Except they always go back to their coop at night. Which is when it sunk in. We had a broody hen on our hands.

Broodiness in hens is not something most chicken keepers like - it takes them out of egg production, they still need to be fed, they get super mean (see above. They will also bite you if you get too close), you might end up with more chicks/mouths to feed, and often require separate housing.

We were thrilled.

First of all, we currently have more eggs than we know what to do with. We had wanted to sell eggs this year, but what with everything going on in our lives and being super swamped with work, it has not happened. So. One hen NOT laying was actually helpful.

Secondly, we will be wanting to add new layers next spring. Yes, even though we have too many eggs. Mainly because we lose some hens in the summer to heat, hawks, etc, and also because once they're two years old they molt (during which they don't lay), and then they go off their lay in the winter. A few spring chickens (ha!) helps guarantee that we get SOME eggs over the winter.

After said lorpie turned into p-chicken (which is short for 'pancake chicken'. She literally turned into a pancake she went so wide and flat), we were curious to see if she'd stay broody or not (our last one gave up after sitting on a golf ball for a few days). The weather went super cold...and boy if she didn't sit there on those eggs with that glassy-eyed stoney glare in weather that went from 16 degrees to 60 degrees and back again.

Yesterday after getting home from work/school/etc, Redneck and the Acorn rushed in to tell me we had babies. 3!! Two yellows ones and a black one. It's been a little while since I'd seen brand new chicks, and boy are they teensy!! (duh. They're literally egg sized...)

He kept trying to jump out of our hands!


Teaching the babes to forage
I could literally spend all day watching them. Mama hen is totally unperturbed by the other chickens and dogs roaming about peering in, and goes about her day teaching them how to be chickens. They already (at 2 days old) act way more 'chickeny' than chicks raised without a mama. Can't wait to see how they progress!