Sunday, June 27, 2010

Chick Update ~ Day 10

Today I let Zoner and her 10-day old chicks outside for the first time.  Zoner escaped out of the chicken coop a couple times already in the past couple days without her chicks, but she quickly ran back when she heard her chicks screaming in the coop for her to return.  Today I carried the five chicks outside, and Zoner came running out to join them.

When Zoner was outside, all she wanted to do was take a dirt bath.  She rolled and rolled in the dirt.  The chicks rolled in the dirt, too.  The other chickens all walked by to take a look at the chicks, but no one bothered them too much. 

The chicks are developing tail feathers.

The all-black chick is getting lighter.  It's wing feathers are coming in brown.

I assume the all white chick is a son/daughter of the only white rooster I have, Leggy, and the white pullet, Raspberry.  I didn't get an egg from the only other light colored hen, Freckles, on the day I saved the eggs to hatch.  And all the other white pullets were broody at the time (therefore, not laying eggs).

Is that a beginning of a comb coming in on this little guy?  No!!!  No more roosters!

Leggy and Raspberry, possible parents, watch the chicks from a distance.

It was tough to get the chicks back into the coop tonight.  The chicks don't know how to use the ramp to get into the coop.  I put Zoner inside and expected the chicks to follow.  No, wasn't working.  The chicks screamed because they were alone, Zoner came flying out ready to attack me.  I put a few of the chicks in, thinking Zoner would follow.  No, she stayed with the remaining chicks outside.  Finally, I locked up Zoner inside and had to catch and carry each chick inside to her. 

Hopefully soon the chickens will get used to the chicks being around.  Then maybe I'll trust the other chickens not to bother the chicks and will be able to let them all out together unsupervised.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Name that Bug!

Randy found this really gross millipede in the yard today. 
Or maybe it's a centipede? 

It was almost pretty.
I looked for it online to identify it, but couldn't find it.

I named it Emma.  A girl's name for a pink bug.
After photos were taken of Emma, she was returned to the yard from where she came.

Any ideas on what kind of bug Emma is?

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Chicks ~ Day 7

The chicks are one week old today!

They are still living in the chicken coop with Mama Zoner.  There's 5 of them - 3 striped, one all yellow, and one all black.  They are starting to get their wing feathers.  They are still very small, especially compared to the guinea keets.  

Zoner is a very good mother.  She feeds her babies all the time and protects them from any "threats".  So far I have been the only "threat" (or so Zoner thinks) when I come in to photograph them and feed and water them.  The babies aren't too sure if they should take food from me, they always turn to Zoner to wait for her to cluck that certain noise that means there's food ready for them.  Here's Zoner feeding them.

Little spotted wings and puffy chick bottoms

I can't wait to see how they look when they grow up.  I know soon they'll start getting feathers in and will get that "scruffy" young chicken look!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Guinea Keet Update Day 17

The guinea keets are now 17 days old! 

Sadly, one died this past weekend.  He was the smallest and weakest.  Everyone else is doing fine.  There are 8 left.  They are getting their feathers in and their wings are developing.  And they have learned how to fly!  they are so small and light, they can fly very well!

They are still very small, but they have fully integrated into the chicken flock despite their small stature.  The hens mostly accept them, the roosters want to take care of them as if they are hens by telling them when they find food.  They look funny because they are so small compared to the chickens.

The keets go to any chicken if she clucks.  They don't always listen to Mama Bella when they don't want to.  They are not shy in the least bit.  They've gotten pecked a few times by jealous hens, but they don't seem to mind because they are very fast and seem to get out of the way quickly if needed. 

The keets spend their days outside with the chickens, and in the evening they put themselves to bed in the coop just like the chickens.  The cutest thing about them is that at bedtime, Mama Bella calls them all into the nest box where Bella thinks they were born and they all sleep cuddled up together with her in the nest box.

Here Bella is calling them to the upper nest box, and the keets are all getting ready to jump and go to sleep.  You can see Zoner and her little chicks in this picture!

Here's Bella's head in the nest box above.  She's clucking for them to hurry up and get to bed!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Friday, June 18, 2010

Chicks - Day 1

The chicks were born yesterday - there are 5 of them:
3 striped, one all black, one all yellow.  The black chick has black legs and beak! 

I cannot believe these chicks came from my pullet's eggs.  My own chicks! 
I can't wait to figure out which pullets and roosters are actually the parents of each chick!

Mama Zoner has accepted the chicks, but she is still sitting on 2 remaining eggs.  If the 2 eggs don't hatch by tomorrow, I guess we should to take them from her so Zoner can concentrate on raising the chicks and not sitting on eggs. 

The babies are tired, I took this picture after 5pm.  Chicks need their nap time under mama's breast.

Chick bed time.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Oh Baby!!!!

The babies are here!  The babies are here! 

Are you ready? 

We thought we had one more day to prepare!

Zoner's chicks have started hatching one day early.  They were due tomorrow, but this morning the first one starting breaking out of it's shell.  Now, 12 hours later, 3 have hatched and sadly, 1 has died. 

The first to hatch was yellow with stripes.  #1 is very active and feisty now.  She jumps up to peck Zoner in the face when Zoner ignores her peeps. 

The second one is all yellow, and is larger than the first.  She reminds me of the leghorn rooster (Leggy) we had when he was a chick, she has the exact same look about her head. 

About an hour ago, the third hatched.  #3 is all dark, is very loud, but still is very little and wet from hatching. 

# 4 and 5 were in the process of hatching, #4 halfway out of it's shell and #5 had a hole in it's shell.  I could not see the last 2 eggs.  But there's LOTS of peeps coming from them all! 

The one chick that died was crushed when another hen tried to push her way into the nest box.  Luckily Randy came in and saw the other hen and removed her, then he put some chicken fencing around the nest box to keep other hens out.

Sorry, no pictures today of the babies.  I didn't want to blind the chicks with the flash, or upset Mama Zoner from her duties.  I promise tomorrow there will be pictures!

Today Bella the chicken hen with the 9 guinea keet babies were let outside for the first time.  Outside with the other chickens. 

Bella has been locked in the "nursery", which is a pen made of chicken wire inside the chicken coop.  That way she can see the other chickens and they can see her.  But no one can hurt the babies.  The nursery is big enough that she and the babies can move around, but she's been getting tired of it recently.  The keets are 14 days old now.  We've been letting Bella and the keets out of the nursery for a few hours every day, but kept her confined to the chicken coop and locked all the other chickens out when she was free.

Today Bella happily spent the day outside with her guinea keet babies.  There were a few minor accidents where chickens tried to attack the babies.  One keet got a hurt wing, but it's OK.  It was cleaned up so there's no blood and it was released back to Bella.  Bella got in a few fights, too, protecting her keets.  Tomorrow, Bella and the keets come out of the nursery for good so Zoner and her babies can move in.

Here's a video of Bella and the keets taken this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Big Day is Friday!

It's almost here! 

Everyone's talking, they're all excited.

Excited about what, Lucy?

The big day is almost here!  It's almost Zoner's big day!

Zoner's eggs are due to start hatching Friday!  Just 2 more days!

These will be the first eggs we hatched from our very own chickens.  We started with 10 eggs, one just disappeared, and one broke when a chicken who was trying to push Mama Zoner out of the nest stepped on it.  So there are 8 left.  We haven't touched them in the past 2 weeks, but it seems Zoner pushes them around under her sometimes.  We hope they all make it!  Zoner has been getting very mean, pecking us when we just look in her direction.  Maybe she knows the big day is almost here!  

Till Friday...

Monday, June 14, 2010

Guinea Mysteries

We used to have 3 guinea fowl - 2 hens and one male.  Then the male flew away in February of this year, and he was gone for for 3 months, leaving us with 2 hens.  We figured he died, but miraculously, he came back in May. 
Just like that. 
Just like he had never left, one day he was back, trying to pretend he was always here and we just didn't notice.   

In the end of March the 2 guinea hens starting laying eggs ~ they were 5 months old at the time. 

Then on April 19, 2010, less than a month after they started laying, both guinea hens stopped laying eggs.  They both just stopped, cold turkey.  No more guinea eggs. Done.

The hens were not broody, they never made a nest.  We looked everywhere.

Then in May when the male returned, one of the 2 guinea hens disappeared.  We figured she had to go do her 3 month sabbatical by herself in the woods like the male guinea fowl did. 
Either that, or a fox got her.

Now, yesterday, the 1 remaining guinea hen laid an egg again.  It was a tiny egg, barely an egg, only .2 oz.  Here it is with the chicken eggs we collected yesterday.

And today she laid another.  It's a normal size egg.  It's the teardrop-shaped egg right in the front of these chicken eggs.

Guineas just aren't the same as chickens.  They do things their way.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Day in the ...Garden?

Yesterday was another 90+ degree day here in Maryland.  I spent all day out in the garden weeding.  The ground was so dry it was brittle.  I had to water the garden several times during my weeding so I could pull the weeds out of the earth!

I was out there in the garden so long I listened to an entire book on my iPod - Choke by Stuart Woods.  I've been listening to many Stuart Woods books lately. 

I listen to A LOT of books on my iPod - I work in Washington DC, so I sit in traffic for at least 2 hours a day.  Recently I've been listening to books I download from the local library.  

I got a nice sunburn on my back and shoulders from being outside in the sun all day.  But I love the sun, and enjoyed the heat, so I'm not complaining. 

After a full day of weeding, I'm still not done!  I'll have to try to finish in the evenings this week... 

I harvested quite a bit of green beans.  The Derby Garden bean plants seemed to produce the most beans so far.

The squash, cantaloupes and cucumber have lots of flowers, but only one small squash and a few small cukes were starting to grow. 

A few tomatoes are starting to appear.  The plants look dry.

The carrots are growing fine, but are small. 

It appears a critter has enjoyed most of my sugar snap peas, much to my regret.  They didn't bother the plants much, but ate all the peas!  We're going to have to put a better fence around the garden! 

Possibly it was a rabbit (we've seen one out in front of the house recently) or a woodchuck (Gordita the woodchuck lives in our backyard, and a male woodchuck visits very often).

While I was weeding the garden I dug up these odd, white, soft, seeds.  They appeared to be buried under grass and other weeds in the soft, moist dirt at the edge of the garden.  At first I thought they were some sort of egg because they were soft (like a snake or turtle egg), but they have roots, which make me think they are a seed of some sort.

Any ideas?  I tried to research them online, but had no luck.

I also dug up a little piece of history ~

It's some sort of old iron tool.  It appears to be broken.
This property had a farm on it from the 1700's through the 1900's.  We are always turning up some pieces of history, although we don't always know what they are!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Keet and Chicken Update

The 9 guinea keets are now 8 days old.  They have doubled in size, but they are still very SMALL, if you consider they were the size of an egg when we got them.  They are very active, and their wings are starting to develop.  They totally believe that Bella the chicken hen is their mother; they listen to her every call and sleep under her wings.  Bella has developed into a good mother; she lets the babies eat before she eats, she protects the babies from us and other curious chickens.  The other chickens have tried to attack the babies, so we still keep Bella and the babies separated in their own section of the coop.  When something startles the babies, they tend to run in any direction and scatter, which I think would be bad if they were out with the chickens.  

Here is a video of Bella and the keets that I made this morning.

In other news, Leggy the rooster's eye has totally healed up.  It just took about 3 days of antibiotic water and he was all better.  When he couldn't see out of one eye he got very scared around the other roosters and ran from them all the time.  He wasn't good at judging distances, and had a tough time jumping up to the roost at night.  But when he got better, he got his spunk back, starting chasing the lesser roosters again, went back to his favorite hen, Freckles, and is able to sleep on the roosts just fine again.

This morning when I was in the chicken coop I watched as one of the hens, Chloe, laid an egg in a nest box.  I've seen this before, but never got it on film.  It's interesting how a hen stands all up, concentrates, and seems to work so hard to lay an egg.

And here she just laid the egg and is checking it.  You can barely see it under her.

Have a good weekend!