Friday, August 24, 2012

We're expecting....


Ok, so I might have some family members and close friends who read the post title and are a little mad about the fact that I'm talking about chickens and not babies (but really people, who breaks THAT kind of news to close friends and family via a public blog post?).


You may remember that last year at New Years a dog killed all but one of our chickens and our two ducks (I still get a little upset about the ducks.... they were cool ducks). A few months later, we ended up taking two pullets (young hens who had not yet started laying eggs) from my in-laws. We took one beautiful black Australorp and a half Silky half some other breed of chicken we're not sure of. Phillip ended up naming them Cypher and Hawk (but we usually end up calling them by their breed or their color and not their somewhat stupid names).

The thing about some breeds of chickens is that they can be good layers (like our red Iser Brown), good for meat (our little Australorp, though they're good layers too), and good for going broody. There's also breeds that are well known sitters (once they go broody they will not leave the nest unless you force them) or good mothers. Basically, chicken breeds are as diverse as dog breeds, and depending on what you want in your chickens, you get various breeds.

Hawk, aka, the yellow/tan one, sittin' on a whole bunch of eggs.
Spoiled girl, I bring her her own dish of food and water.
Hawk has tried to go broody once before, but outside of their shed, so we had to try and move her at night (chickens are funnily calm at night) so that she wouldn't get eaten by quols. Silly thing.... She decided she didn't like being moved to safety and got off her eggs. Which... was ok since we get to eat the eggs. This is the second time she's gone broody and she's chosen one heck of a spot to hatch her chicks again. It's about four and a half feet off the ground, where our chickens roost at night. So, chicks hatch, try to walk out of the nest and.... not pretty. Phillip is building a small enclosure to put her and the eggs in, to keep them cosey (and safe from plumets to death and out idiot cats, and neighbor's idiot cats) from scraps of wood and chicken wire. We'll move her there sometime this week since she's only got maybe a week left until the eggs hatch.

Apparently the nesting boxes I make sure are full
of soft, fresh hay are not good enough.
It must feel safer to hatch babies 2.5 meters off the ground.
Another fun fact about chickens: once they go broody, you can get them to sit on any eggs, not just their own. So, since our hens have been tandem nesting the little Silky has some Australorp eggs under her as well. We also were given a few eggs of unknown type (two were probably Australorps) from my in-laws  two days after she started sitting, and chucked those under her. (Well, next to her, because to put them under her you'd probably loose fingers she's so angry if you get near her). She (and the black one for some reason started helping) immediately started moving them underneath her.

The good thing? We should end up with a few chicks of multiple possible varieties. I'm hoping for at least two healthy hens to share with people or, well, more eggs, which we also share with people. The bad thing? Our one laying hen, little black Australorp, is still basically sitting on top of the broody Silky and laying eggs. Which that dumb hen then takes under her. So... we have no fresh eggs and will end up with a bunch of rotten and un-viable ones at the end of this sitting. The little lady has already pushed two very rotten ones out from under her, but is sitting pretty on at least seven more eggs.

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