Tuesday, December 15, 2009

41. December has arrived...

Happy December!
While you might not have heard from us for a long while, the coop is still as active as ever!

After Cassanova left us to his new good home, Pablo and Reubens skirted around the flock not too sure of what their role was... But sooner or later, as life moves on the farm, one of them figured out a new boss roo was needed. Pablo seems to be stepping up to fill that role and our flock is taking shape as yet another newly formed cohesive mix of hens and roos from here and there.

Here is a video of a few of the new girls investigating the first snow of the yesr:

It is Pablo who calls them back inside the coop while I tend to the fallen netting that served as the roof before the snowfall brought it down.

The four hens are still unnamed - more on that soon!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

40. Changing of the Guard.

Hi again from the coop!

It has been awhile since last post, but that does not mean nothing is new!
Cassanova, our Golden Laced Polish rooster who filled in for Dotte, the beloved Blue Laced Red Wyandotte we lost to a fox attack in March, will most likely be moving on next week. If all goes well he will be up in a more northern county living out yet another life as a rooster to a flock that has lost its way and needs guidance...
I have been looking for a new home for him because we decided to keep two of our spring-hatched roosters... And here they are:
Pablo (named becase he looks like a painting aka. Picasso) is up on the stump and Reubens (again, after the painter) has his back to us, to the left of Pablo. They are both quite a bit larger than Cassanova (not to mention QUIETER!!). Between the two roosters, our 17 hens should be well guarded... When Cassanova moves on there will be some adjustment, but so far we have not had any battles between the brothers so we will keep our fingers crossed!

Here is Pablo up closer:

And, good old Cassanova... May he live a long and healthy life with his new flock, making all the noise he wishes up in Duchess county!!
Be well you punk!
Even though you chased us and crowed at all hours of the day, you will be missed!

Monday, July 6, 2009

39. Growing Up & Moving Out

The little chicks have turned into chickens - although it will still be a month and a half before the new hens lay eggs. While our hatching statistics were great, the final results were not - out of the 12 eggs, we ended up with four pullets (hens) and eight cockerels (roosters)!! I recently placed an add on craigslist and at backyardchickens.com hoping for a prompt pick-up of the soon-to-be-crowers... Yikes!

With that said, we have decided to keep two of the new roos and re-home the rest, including the Golden Laced Polish, Cassanova (aka Punk), since he is quite loud and not properly congratulated for his efforts. As I write I am hoping they will all get to live out good and useful rooster lives without becoming soup too soon... but, alas, so goes the life of a rooster in these parts.

Here are some pictures of the new lovlies!
Above is an Ameraucana rooster - he is very big and just gorgeous.
The above hen is one of the four females from the new hatch. She had an Araucana mom so she will lay blue/green eggs!
These two are also keepers. Their mom was an Australorp. On the left is a rooster and on the right a hen. They are two of three we had turn out gray/blue. We were so excited when we saw that one of the blues was a girl!!

As of yet, these birds are all unnamed. We plan on going away for a week after the other roosters are re-homed, and when we come back hopefully the resettling coop drama will be over and then the naming will begin!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

38: May = GREEN!!

Who knew we missed the colors of our environment until they peeked out from behind closed buds and sleeping trees? Now that spring is here, not just the birds are singing... we are all happy that warmer days are on the rise.

Our little birds? They are big!
Our big birds? They are bossy! Such is life on the farm.

Last time I posted, the little ones had a makeshift daytime outdoor pen that looked like this:
Now the chicks and the chickens live together in the coop (albeit separated by a cage at night just in case anyone gets any ideas of the negative sort while 'cooped' up!)

This is what it looks like with newly completed fencing:
The big birds free-range during the day if they are lucky while the new ones remain inside the fence. This week I am hoping to get some close up photos of the new birds - since we were not sure who was a keeper (female) and who was getting passed on (male), we have not named any yet. But, one thing is for sure, they are GORGEOUS!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

37. A Week Later = Even Bigger!

Today was an amazingly fantastic sunny day for April and I put out the new chicks again... They love it outside! I am amazed at how big they grew since last week.
We put them in a new cage since they rapidly filled up all the space in the rigged up baby-crib. Above are some of the cuties -their colors are amazing!
This guy is so nice looking with his blue-laced feathers. On the branch in the background is a pullet (female) a little lighter and no lacing, but we get to keep her for sure!

Here are the chicks outgrowing the brooder.
Pretty soon they will have to move out to an enclosure in the coop!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

36. New Chicks: First Day Out!

Last weekend the weather was outstanding and we put the new little chickies outside for some fun in the sun...
The colors are gorgeous! Because of the Blue-Laced-Red Wyandotte daddy, most of the chicks have some blue lacing on their feathers. Three are all blue!
The little guy above is one of the two roosters of the all-blues. We have some decisions to make later on in the season as to which roos we keep - it will be a tough choice!
And how are the big birds taking to the new chicks?
Here is Buttercup, an Ameraucana (and potential momma!) checking out the new birds.

Monday, April 6, 2009

35. growing, Growing, GROWING!

Yes, the chicks are getting bigger - the fluff they were born with is working its way out while new feathers (the first set of two) are coming in...
These two are a week old and hatched out of the blue Ameraucana eggs. They are now oficially EE's (Easter-Eggers) and will most likely lay green eggs (I've read that a cross between a brown layer and a blue will end up with green eggs). They are still unnamed, as all the chicks are. Since we had a roo named Dottie we don't want to make the same mistake again!
This photo shows almost two week old chicks - the brown sitting one is an EE and the black one is either an Australorp cross or a Black Star (both brown egg layers).

Still no clue for certain about pullets (female) to cockerels (male), but we've guessed at least 4 potential future crowers based on behavior!
This little one shows signs of being a rooster, but we really won't know for sure for a few more weeks... He/She is a cross of the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte and a brown egg laying hen, but we are not sure which. This is very similar to what Dottie, the daddy, looked like as a chick!
So cute!

Monday, March 23, 2009

34. Just Hatched!

Amazing, amazing, AMAZING!!

We incubated 12 eggs, 5 blue/green Ameraucana and 7 brown Cochin, Astraulorp, and Black Star. ALL 12 Hatched!!! After hand turning the eggs 3 times a day and maintaining the temperature and water levels inside, they began to pip (poke holes), zip (cut a line of holes across the shell) and hatch 19 days after incubation. Wow!

The baby chicks are now all settled in a brooder fabricated out of a clear plastic storage bin and a red heat lamp. They are doing very well! We have 5 that look unmistakably Ameraucana, three that are grey/black and 4 that are yellow. Adorable! And just in time for spring!
Here is some of the new hatch... Cute!

Monday, March 9, 2009

33. News!

Perhaps we are crazy...
12 eggs incubating, due March 21st and yesterday I picked up a new roo!
His name is Cassanova, he is a gorgeous Golden Laced Polish. Neat-O!

He is still in the integration phase - but so far so good!

Here's a clip of this morning in the coop:

Sunday, March 1, 2009

32. Sad News...

We lost two this week!
Our Buff-Laced Polish "Lucille" was attacked in the early evening by a predator. Dottie, our Wyandotte rooster came to her rescue, put up a great fight, but lost his life due to terrible injuries sustained. We are sooooooo sad!!

However, on a fluke we decided to ask around other backyard chicken keepers and found an incubator... So, we popped in a dozen choice eggs and in three weeks might have some new chicks!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

31. Ice & Snow, Snow & Ice!

As the calendar turns another month and spring is ahead in the not so distant future, I can look back at the winter we have survived through thus far, amazed that we (the chickens, the coop and us) all made it!
Ice & snow were plentiful this year and made for cold treks out to the coop to keep the supply of fresh water from freezing into blocks. We added a heated dog bowl last month which was a good idea, as temps were down in the single digits for a few days. Even so, the girls clucked and brawwwwked their days, providing us with eggs (albeit less than in months with more light).

On a side note, Patty seems to have fully incorporated herself into the flock.This could be in part due to the little feather-headed Buff Laced Polish who is at bottom of the pecking order but might not realize it because she can hardly see. One of these days we are going out there with scissors to give her a new feather-do!