Chickies 7½ Weeks On…

I’m happy to say that all seven chickies are alive and well! They’ve gone from this –
Hand raised chickies

to this –

Puffball at 7 weeks old

Puffball at 7 weeks old


Fluffball at seven weeks old

Fluffball at seven weeks old

I couldn’t get a nice photo of the three of them together, and believe me, I tried!

It’s amazing how quickly they grow. At seven and a half weeks old these guys are pretty much all feathered up and look like miniature versions of the adults, and in less than a year they’ll be producing eggs! I’m glad my kids don’t grow so fast!!

What have I learnt from this incubating and hand-raising experience? It’s fun, but it’s so much easier if the hen does it! I have discovered that I truly prefer the natural way – it takes longer, but there’s less mess and less fuss. So even though fertilised eggs were available at the Euroa Poultry Auction, I didn’t have a broody hen, and resisted the temptation. I have to say though, I was severely tempted the ducks, especially a lovely blue muscovy girl. We’re not ready for ducks so I resisted. However I did buy Kathy a lovely Araucana rooster who was heading for chop.

I’ve also noticed that the two pure bred, hand-raised chickies are much slower on the uptake when it comes to eating bugs. Skid, the farm chickie of the trio, snaps up earwigs and cockroaches with undisguised relish, while the other two regard them with a somewhat puzzled expression on their cute little faces. Yet the ones outside, pure breds and mixed, with Arabella Topknot have no such problems as they eagerly search for bugs and run about my feet like excited puppies.

At five weeks old the hand-raised trio went from the lounge room to the laundry – they kept escaping from the brooder! On one particular day I came home to find them all sitting in front of the fire! Very cute and all, except for the minefield I had to negotiate to get in the front door! Thank goodness we don’t have carpet so it was easily cleaned!!

Keeping Warm!

Keeping Warm!

We have decided that whatever their sex, the hand-raised trio are our pets and are going to become the first members of our home flock. Personally I’m hoping they’ll all be girls, and if we have to have a rooster, I’m hoping that Puffball (Light Sussex), Kael and I both like the idea of crossing him with our Araucanas to see if we can get a meatier blue egg layers. Won’t know for a while yet, I’m guessing though… However, the four chickies with Arabella Topknot are not our pets, so the roosters are in for a short, but happy life. I’m hoping for one Araucana and one Light Sussex rooster from this lot, but if I don’t get an Araucana roo I know where I can get one! The home flock will be used to work the garden beds I’m establishing close to the house – the chickies have already shown me multiple times just how eager they are to help with the gardening. When I’m pulling weeds, they’re there; when I’m digging holes, they’re there; when I’m spreading mulch, they’re there. You get the idea.

At almost eight weeks the chickies are doing well, but I know we’ve still got a ways to go before I’ll be reasonably confident of their survival – most of the first lot of chickies made it to six weeks, it was after that they started dropping like flies.

Laying Again!

Well the chooks went on a five week break from their egg laying duties, Welzy anyway, everyone else took considerably longer to moult and start laying again. My three white egg layers stopped laying in mid March, while everyone else kept going ’til just after Easter, and didn’t start again ’til June.

Welzy the WelsummerXLightSussex, Cana the Araucana and Miss Ruby the Croad Langshan were my champion layers and were the last to drop off laying – Welzy outlasted them all. Welzy and Miss Ruby started laying in June at the same time as the white egg layers who’d had an extra month off! Cana however, has only started laying again now in mid July.

It was quite disappointing having to buy in eggs! But the girls have ve started laying again and we’re extremely grateful to be eating our own free range organic eggs. The very first egg was a giant white one and a double yolker which Xavier had on toast for breakfast.

First egg and a Double Yolker!

First egg and a Double Yolker!

Once again Welzy is my champion egg layer and laying about five eggs a week, but Miss Ruby is right up there with her. And just in the last week the two Gold Laced Wyandotte pullets that survived our first disasterous chook season, have started laying. It’s so nice to have eggs again.

We’re getting just over two eggs a day out of five chooks (only half of them are laying) and those white egg layers of mine have been disappointing when it comes to egg production as they’ve stopped laying again! I think the two Spanish girls are going to relegated to the home flock with the pet chickens and bunnies – if they’re not laying they can scratch and hunt for bugs instead!

I’ve been told that if I can hatch out some chickies around Christmas then they’re more likely to lay through winter, so I’ll see if we can make that happen. I’m so glad the girls are laying again – it’s so nice using an egg from one of your own chooks – the beautiful golden yolks turn our custards and cakes really yellow without the aid of food colouring!