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Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sad Day for Goldie

I was in Florida yesterday on assignment and returned home to find the chicks that just hatched are gone. Unfortunately one of the chicks was crushed only halfway out of the shell but two chicks were hatched. Goldie is still sitting on the remaining three eggs. Their coop door was closed and secured before dark last night so I'm not sure what could have happened. We can't find any trace of them. I'll let her sit for another couple of days and is none of the other eggs hatch, we'll have to break her broodiness.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Updates on the flock

The chicks are big now and they should be at almost 9 weeks old! I put them outside when they were about three weeks old because it was so hot outside and I worried that lowering the temperature on the babies would give them a tough adjustment to the hellish temperatures outside. They've done great there and it was nice to not have chicks take over the storage room. I did make an impulse purchase immediately after we got the chicks and bought two Americana chicks from the feed store. One got wet (I think) and died within two days. They other was thriving with the baby flock until last weekend. The chicks were receiving their favorite treat - watermelon - when I noticed we were one short. I found a gruesome scene in the coop - a possum or similar night creature snuck into the coop and ate the whole middle part of the remaining Americana. We now have a chicken cemetery in the backyard.

There is at least one rooster in the six young chicks but maybe as many as four or five. Their fate hangs in the balance... Hopefully we'll know in the next month. After the hateful Sampson I have no more desire to have full size roosters in our flock. I volunteered at a local sustainable family farm on their chicken slaughter day with the hopes I'll be able to do the same when the need arises. I never thought having chickens would get me so very close to my food in more ways than our eggs.

In the meantime I read about Japanese Bantams and we have four in the storage room. The advantage of these guys is that they are beautiful, the bantam crow is miniaturized, and this particular breed is an ornamental garden bird that won't tear up grass or your garden. But they seem like a very fragile breed. We started with three and one died, got three more and one of those died. I am very worried about putting them outside.

We also had a Buff Orphington go broody on us. I tried to break her by pulling the eggs out from under her and locking her out of the coop, but in the end she was so determined to sit the she would sit all day and night on nothing. So I went to Bagience Farms and got six eggs for her to sit on. Three are Americana (the easter egger chickens) and three assorted bantam eggs (one Rosecomb, one Japanese, and one Old English). This was probably a mistake - I read later that the bantam eggs hatch early. We'll see if she allows all of them to hatch or stops sitting after the little eggs hatch.

I just went outside to find one of the eggs is hatching! She has been sitting on them 18 days - the big eggs should take 21.

So the little urban farm has grown...