Chickies

Well, it’s been two weeks since our second lot of chickies hatched. All of them are feathering up quite nicely and growing well, and the best thing is that we’ve lost none of them. With the last lot we’d already lost two of the day olds we’d bought in for Scales to raise. Still, there’s a long way to go before I’ll be confident of their survival.

Below are tonight’s photos of the chickies with the broody hen in their outside house. The goldy brown one is a wheaten Araucana, the dark one is a black Araucana, the two light ones are a Light Sussex and a mixed breed farm chickie (there’s a little bit of black on the farm chickies wings – then again, I’ve just noticed a little bit of black on the wings of the Light Sussex too, so maybe the farm chickie is a pure breed afterall).

Arabella's Chickies 2

Arabella's Chickies 3

Arabella's Chickies 5

These are photos of the hand raised three – goldy one is the other wheaten Araucana, light one is a Light Sussex and the one with black wings is another mixed breed farm chickie.

Plumage

Plumage

image

Hatching – Day Two

3 chickies hatched yesterday (day 21). One Araucana & two Light Sussex. Still waiting for four more eggs to hatch – I think I saw another egg pipping. Maybe.

Kathy’s bringing her broody chook, the chickies and any unhatched eggs over. We’ll put any unhatched eggs in the bator and set the others up in The Broody Hen House and put two of our incubator chickies under her.

Xav desperately wants to hand raise one, so we’re keeping the Araucana chickie for him. If any more eggs hatch Kael will hand raise one too.

Of course if the broody doesn’t accept these chicks we’ll be hand raising all of them plus any eggs that hatch. At the last minute Kael decided he wanted to keep one of our incubstor chickies too, so the broody (who I’ve decided to call Arabella Topknot) only ended upmwith one extra chickie. We’re handraising a Light Sussex ss well as an Araucana.

Only one more egg hatched, another of Kathy’s mixed breed farm chickies. This one is white with a black tyre track on it’s head. We’re hand-raising it with the other two and have called it Skid.

Boys and Chickens

Boys and Chickens

Fertilised Eggs – Day Twenty

Well it’s day 20 now and these eggs should be hatching over the next four days. I’m really nervous. What if none of my $50 eggs hatch??? I’m hoping for an 80% hatch rate as I think it’s pretty unlikely to get a 100%, although that would be pretty awesome, but really I’d be happy with 50%.

Spoke to Kathy last night about what we’re going to do once the eggs hatch. We’ve decided that we’ll let each other know when the eggs start hatching and I’ll bring over any chicks on Sunday and Monday nights (if they’re hatching on time) to put under the broody.

After two days Kathy will bring the broody and chicks to my place and we’ll house them in the chickie house (need to paint it this arvo then and give it a good clean out). I think I’ll put it under the olives out the back near the kids’ sandpit.

If after two days we still have some unhatched eggs we’ll put them in the incubator for a couple mored days and see if we get any more chicks hatching. I’d better have a brooder ready just in case. I’ve got the box, just need to figure out how to do the light.

The Fertilised Eggs Drama!

Scales went broody again, so after umming and ahhing for a while I ordered some fertilised eggs. This time of year finding eggs is a little tricky as all chooks everywhere are going into moult and their laying drops right off. So my order of Araucana and Light Sussex eggs arrive on the same day I notice that Scales doesn’t seem quite so broody!

Sure enough, after letting the eggs rest for 24 hours (important to do after receiving eggs via the post) Scales is most definitely NOT broody! To be sure I locked her in the nesting box with a couple of unfertilised eggs. She was hanging to get out the next day. Needless to say her lack of said broodiness sent me into a bit of a tail spin. I’d paid $50 for these eggs and now I was without nature’s perfect chick raising machine, meaning I was going to have to do it myself. Problem, I don’t have an incubator! Aaaah!!!

I’ve heard tales of people incubating eggs in an electric frying pan, but when push came to shove it was very hard to find reliable information out there as to how to do it, yet an awful lot of people believed it to be possible or had heard of someone doing it. In fact one of my friends hatched some guinea fowl eggs in one, although they only had three days to go and just needed some extra help. Anyways, it’s got me more than a little curious, I’m so curious I’m going to try it later, but with some less expensive eggs! When I do I’ll blog about my experiences.

After checking out the frying pan option I finally remembered there were people I could call who are a wealth of information when it comes to chooks. Only took me a couple of days to remember, and the first one I called had a broody hen! I went over the next day (which happened to be a Saturday) with my precious eggs and Xav. Upon arrival I was told there was someone else with another broody hen or duck and an incubator! So after a cuppa and some very yummy Anzac slice (the biscuits had all run together) we went off to meet my potential saviour.

They had ducks, chooks, geese and turkeys, two dogs, a cat (with which Xav was extremely taken) and numerous other animals including a cow and some sheep. Anyway, after much talking and getting to know each other I was presented with an incubator and shown how to use it. It’s now sitting on the fooseball table lid merrily humming away with four Araucana eggs and three Light Sussex. The other five I left for the broody. Sixteen days later the broody is still sitting and the machine is still humming away. It is well and truly time to candle the eggs to see if any of them are fertile. Not that I’ve ever done it before and I have to admit that I’ve been putting it off – I’m a teensy bit scared that I may have wasted my money. Maybe tomorrow…

Chookie Delay

No Chooks today, so sad 🙁

I had a phone call from my chook supplier last night telling me that he wasn’t happy with the quality of some of the birds he was sourcing for me, so could I wait another month? He didn’t want to sell me chooks that were poor quality. I’m very, very grateful for that.

I’m disappointed though. Was soooo looking forward to picking up our girls today, but I’d prefer to wait than get substandard chooks. Not all of them were substandard. I could have got half my flock, but then I’d have to deal with introducing new birds to an established flock. Something I’m trying to avoid in the beginning of my chook keeping career.

On the upside, I’m really glad I’m getting my chooks through this guy – he’s looking after me and not out to rip me off. He knew I’d be disappointed (I’ve been talking to him for the last four months about which chooks I should get) but he said he’d much prefer me to be disappointed now than disappointed in the long term with poor quality chooks. Besides, it would make him look bad and I’d probably never buy from him again!

He did say that if he’s able to source those other breeds I’m after before next market day, he’ll deliver them sooner. The delay gives me the chance to finish one or two small things in the coop that are bugging me, especially setting up the enclosed space for our broody chook and future chickens.

It also give me time to research the geodesic dome chicken tractor and put one together, maybe even before the girls arrive. We’ll be using it as a day run. That way the girls can help me turn the weedy mess that calls itself a lawn, into beautiful, productive (eventually) circle gardens.