Do you remember the seven eggs that the silkie hen hatched? Five of those chicks turned out to be roosters! Beautiful as they were, they had to go. In their place, I got three 3-week old hens from Craigs’ list. Their breed is Cuckoo Maran, a medium size chicken that lays deep brown eggs. They are in the chick pen now. At least the owner says they’re hens…
And the silkie is broody again. This time, I’ve ordered female day-old chicks for her to raise–I’m not taking any chances. Continue reading “Babies” →
For those of you who follow the chicken saga, I wrote about my attempts to incubate or have my broody hen hatch some chicks. I have to report failure on both counts. Nothing in my homemade incubator hatched. I wasn’t so surprised at this, as I had some initial problems regulating the temperature. But for whatever reason, the eggs under the broody hen also failed to hatch. After 23 days, I took them out. Three had complete chicken embryos inside, but not alive. I don’t’ have any idea why, as she was a very diligent setter. I slipped seven day-old chicks from the feed store under her the night I took away the eggs, a mix of Rhode Island Red and Americana chicks.
Two of the Americanas are black, as is the mother. For whatever reason, she rejected the two black chicks. She refused to let them be, but pecked at and chased them around the cage. A self-loathing racist hen? In any case, I had to take the black chicks out and foster them inside. Continue reading “The failed hatch” →
One of the young hens has begun to sit on eggs, or get “broody,” as chicken folk say. (Yet another metaphor from the world of chickens.) With a great deal of perseverance (though not much discrimination), she was sitting on one wooden egg in the hen house until I moved her to a separate box and put some real eggs under her. I got the eggs from an accommodating hatchery in Pennsylvania, who shipped them in bubble wrap. For 21 days the hen will barely get up, perhaps rising once a day to eat, drink and eliminate, and then renew her slow vigil on the eggs. Talk about confinement! I’m not going to disturb her by opening the door and taking her picture. She has enough to deal with.
Actually, I had put a few of my hens’ eggs under her for the first ten days, until the new eggs arrived. She had to start over with the new batch. Continue reading “Broody” →
We’re back, and on the day we returned, the eggs the broody hen had been setting on hatched. We have six new baby chicks, all offspring of Malawi and his hens. Surely at least one will be a rooster. Really, hopefully only one, with the rest hens!
WE have many garden and chick chores to attend to–more later!