Friday, 20 August 2010

Friday chick update.

Well, despite all my fears and worries, things seem to be going ok in the brooder.

Queenie is showing she's a devoted mother type, and the chicks are eating their chick crumbs, and drinking their water nicely.

They seem to be growing quite quickly already and fluffing up well.

Here's a little film made this morning of the chicks at the watering hole - the whole family taking a break!


Monday, 16 August 2010

Chick update No.3

I say 'chick update No.3' as I put two updates on the bottom of my last post - I didn't want to seem TOO obsessed!

Today's post will comprise of this first bit - then further down at the bottom there will be updated news as it happens (or pretty much anyway!).

Not a lot to report today so far. We still have four chicks, and they are looking cuter than ever!

I had to make sure the remaining eggs were nicely under Queenie, as she seems to occasionally forget they are there - but then again, it's all new to her and she has a lot to cope with right now!

I very carefully lifted Queenie off the remaining eggs, her chicks were peeping out to see what was going on, to put her in front of her food and water. She was very unsteady on her feet, and so would mine be if I'd had been sitting for the amount of time she has - but she managed to eat some, drink some, and leave behind the biggest, stinkiest deposit I have ever seen from a chicken!

...still, you probably didn't want to know that last bit!


Here's what the chicks look like this morning...

And one of the chicks eating her tasty chick crumbs!



Sunday, 15 August 2010

Two chicks have hatched!!

After all the fretting and worrying about whether or not I had done everything right...

...should I have moved the eggs?

...will the hen sit still on the eggs long enough?

...have I provided a good enough brooder for the hen and the chicks? looks as though I can relax just a little bit today, as yesterday was the day the first two chicks hatched out of their eggs!

I realised this morning, that the broody hen was in fact Queenie. Queenie was one of the chickens we rescued a couple of years back, and was and still is, the only hen to actually stand up to Rhydian. I remember when she came in, Rhydian started to boss her around, when she reared up, with all her neck feathers standing on end - it made her look like a spitting cobra - the effect was so dramatic! She has been the one most friendly towards me - I feel awful I didn't realise it was her.

I went over this morning to let the rest of the ladies (and Rhydian) out to free range as usual, and to check on the broody hen and the eggs. Inside the coop I heard some definite 'cheeps', so excitedly I open the door and looked inside - there was a little tiny, white head peeping out from under Queenie's rear feathers!

I snuck inside a bit further and sat down on the hay next to the brooder, when ANOTHER head popped out. This one was a light brown colour with a dark stripe on it's head, and looked so cute!

While I was there I couldn't help but pick one up and just marvel at the whole aspect of a new life starting. This was totally unexpected - and I've only had a couple of days to adjust to the thought of possibly having chicks hatching - I just hope that I can look after them well enough for them to survive and prosper.

As I was sitting there, I filled up the small 1kg feeder with chick crumbs and the coffee cap with water (washed out thoroughly of course!). I then held both in front of Queenie one at a time so she knew that they were food and drink for her babies. Hopefully she will show the chicks how to eat and drink properly - at least that's the plan!

Here's a photo of them clambering a bit under the watchful eye of Queenie.

I also took a few little movies - they can be seen on my Youtube channel here, as well as this one below.

You can hear their little cheeps, but you can also hear Queenie telling the chicks to behave themselves!

I'll be keeping regular updates on these little things, so keep checking back for the latest news!


The newest addition to our family!



We now have FOUR chicks!


Saturday, 14 August 2010

Mother hen

Today I spent a little time making a brooder for the eggs I found.

It's only a bit of 12mm OSB with some old shelf bits for sides, but it will the new home for (hopefully) any chicks that may hatch over the next week or so. I also covered two out of four of the coop roof vents so the end where the brooder sits is in the darker section, which should keep her nice and calm.

Most of the eggs are Silkie eggs, but two are brown and have come from the hybrid layers we rescued from the farm two years ago. Rhydian is our only male, and he is a Silkie so I wonder what will come out of the brown eggs - will they be hybrid brown colour, will they be white, or will they be a strange mix of the two - it remains to be seen.

The weirdest thing about all this happened after I had made a new nest for the broody hen and the eggs. I had just lifted the hen off the eggs and was in the process of moving them ever so carefully, when I heard a cheep and felt the egg I was lifting move!

To be honest, I nearly dropped the egg as I wasn't expecting it to do that!

After the hen had finished drinking and eating from the containers I had put in the old coop, I put her on top of the eggs, and she nuzzled them as she got herself comfortable. The food and water are outside the brooder so she doesn't make it too dirty, and can stretch her legs when she wants something.

The last thing I did was to make sure the door was shut and locked. She is definitely living the dream of having her own secure apartment!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Stiggy loves the chicks!

A weird thing happened today. I went to collect the eggs as per usual, but in a strange place, there were a number of eggs, so I picked one up. It weighed more than the others so I got my torch and checked them.

8 of the eggs seemed to have chicks inside!

I hope to raised at least a few of the chicks - I'm really hoping they survive!

I am in contact with the man most knowledgeable about these things - Don!

Oh.... and I also have about 8-10 baby stick insects.... seems like our home is growing into a farm!