Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Is it already July!?!

The summer is flying by! I can't believe it is already July! The babies that hatched out in May are doing great - they are 8 wks old now and have moved outside. We also have another peababy that has hatched, and our favorite roo, Dusky is a DADDY! We have 5 new silkie babies hatched out of our own eggs.

I've been making more updates over at the ChickNCam home page, so you can visit there for the very latest news.

Only another 6 weeks left for summer vacation...... boo hoo!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Hatch news!

Our Ameraucana eggs have hatched and we ended up with 16 lively babies in the brooder. I'll have the webcam broadcasting from the brooder during the evening hours and the peafowl pen during daylight hours until these little ones are big enough to 'fly the coop'.
The peafowl eggs continue to develop well - the first batch is due out on the 15th and the rest on the 25th.
I'm so glad to say we have a new addition to our family! Lily is a Great Pyrenees and is a 7 wk old ball of fluff! She is so sweet and is already showing the fierce bonding and loyalty known in the breed. She seems to be a very laid-back and smart pup and has just fit right in. She spends a lot of her day taking her puppy naps on my feet under my desk - so cute! We are enjoying sitting with her in our laps while we can - she will be a very large dog when she gets fully grown.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Spring has officially SPRUNG!

I wish you could see the beautiful view out my window today - the sky is Carolina Blue, the new leaves are budding their various shades of green and the whole landscape looks renewed! This picture just doesn't do it justice at all...It makes me feel renewed in my heart and optimistic about the rest of the year to come. Last year was very difficult for me on a personal level, but 2008 is proving to be a much better year so far! God is good to show us the way to personal renewal through his marvelous creation of nature.

Now...on to the chicken news....I've moved the web camera over to the Peacock Palace. Despite some intermittent cable/internet issues, there's been some great viewing as he struts his stuff for the ladies. He tries so hard to impress them but they aren't very interested, usually. He displays pretty much all day long off and on so tune in and you might just catch him doing his best courtship dancing.

The chickens are doing great - really enjoying the spring weather with all the good stuff growing and the insects becoming more active. I let the chickens out into the larger fenced in back yard in the afternoons and have a blast sitting on the deck watching them scratch around and chase the bugs. We are still waiting on our first silkie eggs, but the Barred Rocks and Buff Orps we hatched in December will be laying in the next few weeks judging from their reddening combs and calmer demeanor.
I also have 10 Tractor Supply chicks in the brooder that are about 7-8 weeks old. What kind, you ask? They are 'assorted pullets'. I believe we have 5 Dark Cornish, 3 Blue Andalusians, 1 Production White and 1 Autralorp. Most of them will go to my sister and brother-in-law once they get their coop ready. They had their first outing yesterday and attracted a bit too much attention from the older girls. All of the sudden those cornish girls found themselves on the very bottom of the pecking ladder! It was pretty funny to see, actually. I'm trying to figure out the housing situation out in the pen so I can get these guys out of the building and into the sunshine and fresh air, while still giving them some protection from the older hens while they finish growing out some.

In other news... the bator is full again with lovely GREEN chicken eggs. I'm hoping for a good hatch and will put the hatch-cam up when we start getting pips. They are due to hatch out around May 5th. The eggs are from one of my BYC'rs and are Blue/Black/Splash Amerucaunas. I can't wait to see what we end up with! I started with 28 eggs - removed 5 clears after a week, and the other 23 look good so far. Hopefully it will be a good hatch.

We have also been getting peahen eggs. With all his strutting around, we hadn't witnessed the girls paying him any attention at all, so I wasn't sure if these would be fertile. I popped 6 into the bator a week ago and waited....low and behold we have veining as of day 8, which means FERTILE! I set another 8 eggs on Sunday and we'll see how they do. Peahen eggs take 4 weeks to hatch, so I have to extend my hatching patience even longer than the 21 days for chicken eggs.

At least this hatch I put the incubators out in the building so I am not staring at them all day long. The auto turners make it easier for me to keep my mind off the bators since I'm not having to turn eggs 3x per day too. I'm hopeful we'll have a lot of new chicks and peachicks running around here in the next month! Ahh, there's nothing like warm weather and spring time babies!

Monday, April 7, 2008

Latest Musings...the Blessings of having Chickens

Lots to update on the happenings over the past several weeks so I'll get right to it!

Our peafowl have settled in nicely. It's great to see them out there scratching around in the yard and enjoying their space and the 'Peacock Palace' as their shelter has been dubbed. Of course, when talking about Peafowl, the most amazing thing about them is the peacock's mating display! Our male is dancing and displaying daily now for the girls, as it's spring, and that's egg laying time for peahens. I've included a picture here of his beautiful display.

In chicken news, the girls are laying steadily now. We are getting between 6-8 eggs a day from the 8 grown up girls, and are awaiting the teenagers' first eggs. If you have followed the blog from the start, you will know we hatched out 19 babies in December. There ended up being about 50/50 baby roosters, to add to the 5 (of 9) silkie baby roos. As much as I would have loved to keep at least one of the barred rock roosters, we had to let them go. I found wonderful folks from the BYC forum who were willing to give my roosters good homes. Two went to the Raleigh area, two went to Midland and the rest went to a BYC'r in Eastern Tennessee. We sent 5 4 of the 5 silkie roosters and the rest of the standards to her back a few weeks. It was a really nice weekend getaway to drive up to Ashville to meet her and have some fun with the kids on the way home. We got to see snow and also do some 'gem mining' at a great place where they had an indoor, heated space to sluice and sort the buckets of ore. Good thing too - as it was about 30 degrees outside and the wind was blowing like crazy.

We decided to keep one rooster - Dusky. He's one of the silkies and has always been a favorite of mine. He does crow, but isn't too obnoxious and only during daylight hours. Hopefully the neighbors are not upset about that! He's a beautiful boy and starting to come into his own. We'll have to see if his ladies appreciate him as much as we do! He never wakes me up, but once I'm awake, I love to lie in bed and hear him crowing. I figure if he doesn't wake ME up in the morning with the chicken pen right near our bedroom window, it shouldn't be bothering anyone else!

Finally, some musings about the blessings that having chickens have brought to us. One of the best things about having chickens and eggs have been being able to share our bounty with friends, family and our church family. We were able to provide eggs for our annual Easter breakfast back in March. I also take extras every other week or so to give away. Nothing like feeding the body while we are feeding the soul! Yesterday I had three extra dozen to give away at church and by offering eggs I was able to get to know one of our newer members a little bit better. By chatting over chickens, I found out she grew up in my hometown and we reminiced about people and places we knew in common. What a blessing!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Peafowl and Coop Improvements... Spring is coming!

Wow, didn't realize it'd been so long since an update!

The baby chickens are all doing well and are growing really fast now, and we'll be moving the ones that will be staying with us long-term into the coop with the big girls in a couple more weeks. I did take some time this past week to raise up the small pen's ChickNBarn on stilts. When the barn was on the ground, it was very hard to clean, but now it is much easier with the wire floor and it being elevated. It's taken a week of literally putting the chickens to bed to get them used to going up the ramp, but I think they are FINALLY starting to get the hang of it on their own.

In other poultry news...we have added a trio of peafowl to our menagerie. Unfortunatly their run is out of ChickNCam range, but if the tax man is nice to me, maybe I can get another camera for their area soon! The peafowl are 'Purple Black-shouldered Silver White-eyed Pied' and are really beautiful. They took a few days to get adjusted to live at our house, but are settling in nicely now and enjoying the pretty and warm days we've had over this past week. The picture does not do them justice - this was the first night they came home to us and they were a bit nervous in the dark and in their new surroundings

Monday, February 4, 2008

Growing up.....chicken

It's a dreary day here but the chickens don't seem to mind! They are all out and about scratching around in the mud and rain. I'm looking forward to spring, warmer temperatures and growing things.

I sent four of the Barred Rock babies home with a fellow 'BackYardChickens' forum member on Sunday. She took two of the baby roos and two girls home with her on her way through to near Raleigh. That leaves me 15 of the baby Barred Rock/Buff Orp hatch left here, crammed in with the nine Silkies. I'll be very glad when they get a little bit bigger and can hold their own with the big girls so they can go out into the larger space.

We are getting an average of 6 eggs a day now from the big girls. We have at least one laying double yolked eggs, too. The eggs are so yummy and rich tasting, and such a nice dark yolk color. "Breakfast for Dinner" is becoming one of our favorite meals around here lately! Plus it's nice to have some extra eggs to share with friends and family.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Sad News....

I have some sad news to share today. I went out to the coop to do my morning check and found Hoppy, the one legged silkie, had died during the night. From the looks of things, she either got pushed out, or went out of the barn during the cold and damp night. She must have gotten disoriented in the dark and couldn't find her way back, and died from exposure.

Working with Hoppy was always a roll of the dice from the beginning. Many experienced chicken folk would have told me to euthanize her once her infirmity was apparent at a day old. I couldn't bring myself to euthanize a chick that was otherwise very healthy, and just needed a little extra help to get to the food.

Once they moved out to the coop, she was doing really well with her eating, and actually had started to grow a bit more, but never did seem to have a zest for life like the other chicks. While they were out scratching around in the run, she would be huddled in the corner of the barn, just sitting. I don't know how aware chickens are of their own quality of life, but I just didn't think she was a happy chicken, and many times I had second thoughts about whether I made the right decision in giving her so much support those first few weeks.

Sometime during the night, her fight ended. RIP, little Hoppy!