Wednesday, November 28, 2012

New Nuggets

We have two new baby chick!

Well, by new I mean at this point they are a week old.

Our last batch of chicks is now nearly 3 months old, was early "abandoned" by their mother, but have been fending for themselves quite nicely, and has been moved from the broody and hatching cage (where we put mammas sitting on their nests and leave them until the chicks are about a month old) into the regular coop with the rest of the hens and the rooster.

Cipher, calm as can be, hatching her chickies
Back to the new baby chicks though. Our black hen, Cipher, decided that, no matter what I did to encourage her not to, that she was going to sit on some eggs. So we stuffed a total of 6 eggs under her (3 of her own, 3 Isa Brown eggs). We were hoping the Isa Browns would hatch, since that particular breed of chicken is an excellent layer and lays pretty large eggs, but the rooster, being an Australorp, is also of a breed of chickens that lay very well, as well as are good meat chickens. Basically, we were hoping to create a hybrid chicken that was as good a layer as the two breeds and mix up the blood lines a bit (our Australorp hen and rooster are at least half brother and sister, and there's only so long you can keep up with the interbreeding of chicken relatives before you end up with a bunch of lame hens).

Nugget number 2, peeping out from behind mamma's bum
The day before Thanksgiving, we were blessed with two new peepers: fuzzy tan, as we are calling them, Isalorps.

This time, mamma hen is so calm and tame, I was able to put my hand under her to check on the other eggs or even pull the chicks out and handle them. No problems. She doesn't care at all.

Sadly, only 2 of the 6 eggs hatched. Two of the Australorp eggs died while hatching, and when the remaining two eggs were cracked open (4 days after the hatching was done, mamma was fully off the nest, and the eggs were cold), they were completely rotten duds.

But we have two new adorable nuggets, and are enjoying our growing flock.
Pretty little chicks being fed by mamma
See? TAME! I held bread crumbs, mamma picked
them out for the chicks, and eventually the little
things started climbing into my hand to feed.

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