Thursday, October 28, 2010

Chicken story continued.....

So spring came and I had decided to hatch chicks, from my flocks eggs. I saved eggs then sorted them out for the best and set 24 eggs, 10 green, 10 brown, and 4 white. I set them to hatch on May 4 my mom's birthdays (the original flocks birthday is St. Patrick's day). Everything was going fine in till day 17 when my mom's cat Rita while sleeping on top of the incubator (which I had tried to prevent her from doing) turned up the heat to 107 degrees. I was terrified that they where all died, but gave them a chance. But on day 20 me and my sister where so excited when we heard chirping meaning at least one was alive.

So day 21 came and my mom woke me up and said I need to look in the incubator. Here's what I saw:
But I had to go to school but when I came home there was 11 little chicks waiting for me. Unfortunately they where playing roll the unhatched eggs so they move to a warm brooder:
But there was more hatching to come:
But out of 24 eggs 20 hatched. The 4 that didn't hatch I opened up to see what had happened. Two (one green and one brown) hadn't developed and two (one green and one brown) died on day 17 during the the temperature spike.

I quickly saw that the 10 gallon aquarium was not going to work for a brooder so I brought up my big one:
 Here are the majority of chicks by breed/cross:
All 4 WL/EE crosses
4 out of the 5 EEs the other was pure white
BR crosses
BA/EE crosses
CM/EE cross

But they grew and I fell for different individuals, from either their looks or friendliness. My favorite was a WL/EE mix who was a sweet heart. Here is a picture of him helping me on the computer at about 2 weeks:
 At 4wks they moved outside, to my chicken tractor. On about their 2 or 3 day outside one of the EE chicks broke his toe:
So he and one of the WL/EE chicks moved inside for the night in an attempt to treat his foot. But it turned out he had perfect timing, that night a raccoon broke in and killed 6 chicks including all the other colored EEs. So I moved them to my run with a cage inside which they could come into to get inside. And after that 1 chick disappeared for no apparent reason. So I was down to 13, but they did well and at about 5wks I took more pictures to try to figure out sex and mix.
My friendly little WL/EE

BR cross
BR cross

BR cross
BR cross

At 7-8wks they started to free-range with the adults.
Friendly WL/EE
and some of my favorite pictures at 9wks:
Little Yellow Legs
But Little Yellow Legs at about 12wks was killed by a raccoon, when she roosted in a tree.

I'll start with the broody hens and their babies in the next post.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

I just need to talk....well type....

Okay here is how my chicken keeping went:

I ordered 16 birds got 22. What I ordered:
5 EE pullets
2 RIR pullets
3 CM pullets
2 WL pullets
2 BR pullets
2 BA pullets

Here is what I ended up getting:
4 EE pullets
1 EE roosters
2 RIR pullets
5 CM pullets
2 WL pullets
2 BR pullets
4 BR roosters
2 BA pullets
The babies at 8wks
They lived inside about 4wks then they moved into their coop, they where cute and fairly friendly. Me and my sister end up naming some of them Chipmunk (EE) a yellow chick with chipmunk strips (my now head rooster), Kentucky Derby (EE) most of the time now as KD she was a pure white chick who later got caramel coloring. Who got her name for running laps around the brooder and leaping over anyone in her way. Spectacle (EE) who got her name for her fancy eye markings as a chick, Big Mama (EE) who was named that because of when I opened the box she was sitting in the corner with here wings around two other chicks. Easter who was named for being a EE. Fred and George (RIR) because they were red haired (well feathered) twins.

And the ones named latter Juliet and Dolly (BR), Betty and Vanna (WL), Freddy my so sweet BR rooster, Romeo (BR) rooster named to match Juliet. Oh and Dinner and I want to kill you, which I'll explain latter.

At about 6-8wks they learned to free-range with me or my sister to watch them to prevent them from going into the woods. They learned that I was the source of treats, to follow me around as I learned to let the free-range alone and explore. I also learned that Chipmunk was not the girl as I ordered, but a pretty little rooster. I figured out who the roosters where. I learned that one little BR rooster was willing to sit on my lap and let me pet and hold him. 

But at about 15-16wks Easter just disappeared, I never found any remains or figured out what happened to her. At about 17wks when I was on vacation the first 3 eggs where layed, 2 brown and 1 white. Then slowly more eggs came, including the 1st green one. I was a bit sad about no blue eggs, but happy about green.

Fall came I separated the 3 extra BR roosters because their was too many roosters per hens. I left only Chipmunk and Freddy in with the girls. And then something happened to Freddy's leg, I never figured out what happened if he had jump off something too high or just got injured in a spat with Chipmunk. But he could not walk right, he stopped crowing. I moved him inside, I moved him to safety. He got better in some ways worse in others he was stronger, but laying on his belly so much caused a sore. But he had become my sweetheart he loved to he held and petted. He learned to roost on my arm so I could carry him on my arm. But the time came when I thought he was ready to move outside to be a chicken again. I was wrong, he ended up dieing several weeks later due to a infection in the sore that I didn't see in time. One of the worse things about his death was not only didn't I save him, I couldn't even bury him the ground was frozen.

So another BR rooster joined the girls he was named Romeo
but the first winter went pretty well, but frozen water is a pain.

 So spring came around the two extra roosters became mean and pains in the butt. They ended up being named Dinner and I want to kill you. Dinner was the tamer, less aggressive of the two. But I want to kill you wanted to kill me and any other human.

 So we took them to my grandmother's and butchered them, I cried, this had been my babies no matter how mean they turned out.

I think this is a long enough post I'll continue in another post. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Bottle Gourd Harvest 2010

 First a bloom from this spring:


The small ones being washed:

The total harvest:

My little sister is going to painting 2 at the moment one as a Jack'O lantern and one as a ghost. But she is looking for any other ideas for them you might have.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Yesterday's tomato harvest and I'm down to 13 hens....

I harvested the last of the tomatoes including the green and the stupid raccoon is back and seems to like taking out my older named girls including Vanna (my last WL), Fred (one of my 2 RIRs), and Juliet (one of my 2 BRs). 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The taste of Promise...

I have been meaning to post this for about a couple weeks, but I harvested our one and only surviving watermelon:
Moon and Star Watermelon next to a pumpkin which I didn't grow. 
Turns out even though the vine looked done with it is wasn't, so it wasn't ripe, but you could taste the possibility in it and I'll be growing them again next year.But it had Huge seeds which was interesting.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Raccoon attack....

     This morning my first thought walking out of the door was "Oh no, Oh no...." because one of my BA/EEs was standing in the yard and she had been in my locked up coop sleeping last time I had seen her. So I grabbed a flashlight and ran to the coop. The first thing I say was feathers and the hole.....
First let me say that the hole was made in a raccoon attack this summer, I had metal sheets on both sides to try to prevent another attack. But I had removed the inside sheet because it kept falling on the hens.
     So back to this morning, after seeing the feathers the first thing I look at were foot prints, raccoon foot prints. Then I flew into doing a head count and counting the hen outside I got a head count of 16 hens, Chipmunk, Red, and all the extra boys. That is two hens short, next thought was "One of the barred girls (either a BR or EE/BR cross) is died and someone else is died or just hiding in the woods". I came back inside and unfortunately had to go to school.
     I came home, cut some sunflower heads and started seeing which hens where around. One of the BR girls is gone, but in my really fast not that accurate count (moving chickens are hard to count) that showed about 15 outside and 2 in the coop which means if I didn't count someone twice, I have only lost one girl. I'm not sure which of the BR girls is gone though I had 2, Juliet and Dolly.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rain, Rain go away come again another day!

Rain, rain go away was always a song me and my sister sang ( and still do) when it rains and we didn't want it to, which was most of the time as little kids. But now as a gardener I have learned to love, while maybe not love but at least appreciate rain. But no today I need to get things done outside, like patch up the chicken, clean the chicken coop, finish fencing at least my small garden (I'm planning to add some new beds next year that need fenced, too), and start my final harvest for the year which includes carrots, bottle gourds, tomatoes, and sunflower heads. But you don't always get what you what, but for some reason the chickens seem to not care about rain they even seem to enjoy the rain (even if it is 50 degrees out there).

Chipumk, Red, a CM hen, and a WL/EE hen.

Monday, October 4, 2010

ALF Goods

These are the treats that I bought our dog Nick.

Some very yummy Reesie Cup fudge that I get every year.

 A Christmas cactus

 Blue/Lavender Iris, I think that is what the sign said, I bought two of them at 50 cents each.

 A wreath my mom bought for the front door.

I also bought two bars of soap Rose and Melon Berry.