Changes They Are A’Comin’

The hot and muggy weather has broken, but I feel it inching back. After the brutal winter, I’m kinda okay with that. I like being

New Nest Boxes

New Nest Boxes

warm. And it allowed me to get the chicks off the heat lamp so much earlier this year than I have been able to in the past. The new box design helped with that — the plastic on the bottom of the front helped reduce drafts and keep in body heat. The design is great as they have plastic bottom for easy cleaning, mesh for air flow and a hole in the top where the heat lamp would normally go. One side swings open and has chest clasp for easy security. Once the chicks are all dispersed, Guapo will be getting an upgrade for his nighttime digs.

I’ve identified the Americuana and Black Star that I’m keeping: Chicken Hawk and Blackie. Chicken Hawk is very aggressive, especially for a hen. Since she won’t be bred, I can live with it (I would not want to pass that aggressive on to future chicken generations). It is surprising to see her assert her “alphaness” over the rest of the chicks — she is very confrontational. I’m interested to see how that behavior plays out when she is integrated with the flock.

I shall call her "Chicken Hawk."

I shall call her “Chicken Hawk.”

The Blue Lace Red Wyandottes will be sorted last. I’m seeing some rooster characteristics emerge but want to be sure before I sell or process. And with the remaining chicks, I want to keep at least one that is close to Wyandotte standards. There is one BLRW, that, if proves to be female, I’m keeping, regardless of how far away she is from the standards. I call her Fluffbutt. Why? She has a beautifully rounded fluffy butt, rather than regular tail feathers. I’m hoping this will stay true as she matures. I think it is a lovely look and want to reproduce it. We’ll see what happens. They are about 9 weeks now and transitioning from crumbles to big girl food. I was bringing them outside on good weather days — that was a pain. Fortunately, they’ve moved outside permanently, to a segregated area in the pen. The fresh air and exercise is good for them, as is the access to bugs and greens.


Penny, Marcia and Kelly (guinea hens) finally decided the eggs won’t hatch after all and gave up. Yeah! Now they can go back to bug hunting. The Japanese Beetles are out in force. We did some “retraining,” i.e., picking the beetles and giving them to the guineas, and that seemed to help. Once the trio were out of the nest and roaming the yard, I quickly gathered up the rancid eggs and threw them out. How do I know they were rancid? Snoop would sneak behind the girls and get an egg and eat it. And boy did it smell! He did this several times as they started to leave the next more and more.

The summer digs.

The summer digs.

But now, one of the hens is broody – Little Red. She may actually hatch some eggs since she was on Guapo’s list. Of course, she’s exhibiting “all these eggz r mine” behavior and I can’t collect any. (I only have one nesting box that all the girls shared.) She doesn’t hiss like the guinea did, but she does peck. Good thing I wear gloves. Typical interaction:

LR: Peck

BHH: I’m just getting eggs.

LR: Peck

BHH: But you’re not even sitting on these.

LR: Peck

BHH: And you’re breaking some; I see yolk all over your chest.

LR: Peck

BHH: What – ever.

Now, it’s just a waiting game with her. She’ll either give up and abandon the eggs in a few weeks, or will actually hatch some. At which time I will need to provide her a secure location away from the flock. I’m not sure how they would interact with the babies, even though these babies were hatched with the flock. My fear is they would be attacked and killed. I simply don’t know and don’t want to take the chance.

On a side note, read my new page about wanting to go back to school. It’s not happening and the story of why may interest you.

Winona meandering around the empty guinea nest.

Winona meandering around the empty guinea nest.

And I’m going to try to be a little more frequent with posts — it’s a little tough working full-time, but hey, I won’t be going to school so my calendar will be opening up.

I’ll leave you with a photo of the beautiful Little Red, trying to become a mama. And don’t forget to show some love — girls gotta eat!

 

 

 

 

 

All your eggz r mine.

All your eggz r mine.

Blue Hen House

Growing Up and Getting Ready for Sale

The chicks are getting so big. They are feathering out nicely. I’ve settled on the Americauna and Black Star I’ll be keeping. It will take a bit longer to figure out the others. I need to cull the roosters first. And these chicks are super healthy. I have not lost a single one.  That is the first time it has happened. Kudos to McMurray Hatcheries.

I’ve put up a temporary pen for them so they can stretch their wings and they’ve moved on up to crumbles. Not quite ready for big girl food. But they are getting there.

Babies went from this to...

Babies went from this to…

 

This! Feathers are coming out nicely.

…This! Feathers are coming out nicely.

 

So the plan is to go up to the livestock auction in a couple of weeks to see what the Americaunas and Black Stars will bring. And then I’ll figure out which of the Blue Lace Red Wyandottes are roosters. Then I’ll make an appointment with the processor so I can get the roosters and hens I don’t want culled. I may bring some of them to the auction in August, I have not totally made up my mind yet.

The big girls and Guapo are fascinated by the chicks.

The big girls and Guapo are fascinated by the chicks.

Bees are doing well. The nuc I bought is kicking butt. The package is struggling, but is hanging in there. I purchased a Russian Queen because the queen that came with the package disappeared. The Russian is still there and the hive is finally building out some comb. Not a lot, but it’s a start. I put them into a queen castle so that there’s less chance of their being infested with spiders or having problems with thieving. I had that happen one time with a struggling hive — putting that hive into a smaller space would have given them a better chance since there would have been less space for the small group of bees to monitor and defend. So, we’ll see what happens with them. Good news is if the big hive continues doing well, I’ll split them next year. Besides survival over the winter, splitting hives is a goal.

Lots of pictures this posting. The flock is doing well. The mites I thought they had — they didn’t. Beulah’s bum feathers started growing back so I think she had a partial molt. The feathers missing behind the combs of the other girls are the result of Guapo being a tad bit aggressive. And, sadly, he did grow spurs. I was so hoping he would not. But he’s still a pretty sweet boy for a rooster. He waits for me to get him at night. He still hates being picked up, but he waits outside the coop for me. Not shabby for a rooster.

Such a beautiful boy, even if he doesn't meet Wyandotte standards.

Such a beautiful boy, even if he doesn’t meet Wyandotte standards.

Now for a entirely different train of thought… what is up with the Supreme Court? How can they open the door to chaos the way they did with the Hobby Lobby decision? Regardless of how you feel about women’s healthcare, this decision has the potential to open up a Pandora’s box. Seriously, do we really WANT our boss in the middle of our healthcare? Or other personal decisions? I really can’t get my head around the fact the supremes think it’s okay for the boss to tell employees what to do with earned benefits. I mean, your paycheck is an earned benefit. Will someone try to extend control over how you spend it? If not, why not? Earned benefits are earned benefits. The only difference is the form they take.

Broody guinea is still broody and getting the others into the act. And they're not eating Japanese beetles! Spending all their time on the eggs -- that I don't think will hatch although I'd love it if they proved me wrong.

Broody guinea is still broody and getting the others into the act. And they’re not eating Japanese beetles! Spending all their time on the eggs — that I don’t think will hatch although I’d love it if they proved me wrong.

And what about the corporate veil? It may take awhile, but this has the potential to cause some real problems for both employees and businesses. Personally, I think if corporations are to be considered people way beyond the scope of conducting business, they should be held completely accountable. Jail terms, not fines, when they break the law.

IMG_0847

I’ll close with a link to some interested facts about our founding fathers. We just celebrated the 4th of July. And my progressive liberal patriotic heart just can’t pass up a chance to remind my conservative friends of some facts. And interesting ones as well. Things I certainly didn’t realize.

Please show some love. Your chickens deserve it!

 

 

Blue Hen House