Yet Another Chick Update

Chicken picture

The hen who brooded the chicks this spring has lost 2/3 of her brood (we lost the black chick about a week ago…it looked like a snake tried to eat it, but gave up). I’m hoping this is just a first timer making mistakes and not that we have this much predator pressure now that the neighbors don’t have chickens. I suppose we’ll see. Anyway, The hen in this picture is not the mother, but it looks like the chick adopted her anyway. I’ve seen chicks (this clutch and Buffy’s brood) do this to their mother, but never to another chicken. But Buffy never let the rest of the flock get that close to her babies, which probably has a lot to do with it.

As a bonus for listening to more babbling about chickens, have a pig picture. It’s been really dry here, so when I dumped their water to clean and refill it, they were really excited and stuffed their noses into the mud. I haven’t seen a pig nose that dirty in quite a while. What I really want to know is how they can see where they’re going with those ears.

Pigs?

Visits at Work & Chick Updates

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This past weekend, Tony had enough downtime from work that he came out to the farm to hang out while I milked. I wasn’t surprised he didn’t think it was a lot of fun. There are a lot of things I do that aren’t company compatible. Assembling the cans is a one-person job because only employees are allowed in the milk house. Getting the animals from the field was something we did together (that’s the picture above…you can tell because they are all assembled at the fence, rather than scattered around the field). It’s hard to make milking a muti-person job if someone doesn’t have any idea what the routine is. I don’t think he had any interest in trying, even if it would have worked out. This is not me complaining. Filtering the milk and cleaning the cans happens in the milk house, so again, not something he could be part of. Taking the animals out was fun (we saw a hawk and the giant frog…seen in the picture below…it was 7-8 inches long for reference).

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On to chick updates. We started with six, but we’re down to three…one black chick (a Maran cross is my best guess at this point), one buff (potential cross), and one Rhode Island red (potential cross). One was squashed by a snake and two have mysteriously vanished. My best guess is that they went through a gap in the deer fence around the bottom of the house (where their mom couldn’t protect them) and were snatched by something before we let the rest of the flock out. But they’ve got their wing feathers and they’re starting to get their tails, so they’re growing. I’m interested to see whether they are males or females. I’m guessing the Maran mix is a boy (it has really nice gold coloring on its wings…all the female Marans are nearly pure black).

2017 Chicks and Rooster Processing

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We were pretty surprised when one of our seven month old hens decided she was broody, but we’re drowning in eggs, so we thought we would let her hatch a clutch. She had 14-ish eggs and 6 of them hatched (from what I’ve read, 50% hatch rate is about average). We lost one to a small black snake (the snake was rehomed…black snakes are useful…away from the chickens), but otherwise they are doing well so far. We have one Rhode Island red (cross?), one buff Orpington (cross?), and three black chicks. I don’t remember how to tell which is which and most of them (if not all) are crosses.

The hen’s been taking them out of the house since about the second day, which surprised me, since Buffy kept hers in for over a week. They are keeping up with her pretty well. We tossed the babies up into the house for her the first couple of days, but they’ve figured out (somehow) how to get in on their own now.

One of the nice things about this hen (who has no name) is that she’s pretty unconcerned about us messing with her babies, especially compared to Buffy (last year’s mom). It made helping her get her babies into the house a lot easier. Tony also said that as long as the dogs aren’t being too rambunctious, she isn’t bothered by them being around.

In other news, the three roosters were overwhelming the hens, so we finally took care of processing the two we decided not to keep (the buff Orpington and the Rhode Island red). We were surprised at how large they were, but definitely not disappointed. Between their size, the practice I got last year (I spent a day processing chickens on a farm about an hour from home last year), and only doing two, it felt more worthwhile than the days we spent last year culling our flock.