I've had several requests for updated photos of the three baby Toulouse geese, so here ya go! They don't really look like babies anymore, do they!? (Don't forget, you can click on the photos for a pop-up of a larger view of the image.)
Tally (the oldest of the three) is on the right. And while she (?) looks to be almost fully feathered, there's still some growing to be done.
Chatter (one of the younger two) is on the left side of the feeder, and towards the back of this photo is Spruce, the second of the younger two. Admiral (the big rooster) is watching them enjoy a snack at one of the feeders.
Albert, Einstein, and Rocky are enjoying some time perched on the log I have in their yard. Albert and Einstein are while Silkie roosters. Rocky is a black frizzled Cochin. Silkies and frizzles aren't really known for perching on high perches, but they do enjoy a nice place elevated just enough for a different view on the world. The log provides that place for them. They were keeping a keen eye on the garden!
Here's another photo showing the geese. Chatter is the one closest, followed by Spruce, and finally Tally. You can see the baby fuzz still on the necks of Chatter and Spruce. Tally has lost almost all of her little down tufts now. Looks like Albert and Einstein are grabbing a snack, too... one on each side of the feeder.
This is Chatter. Notice the wingtips pointing outwards... that's called Angel Wing. The tips of her (?) wings don't naturally tuck under the rest of her wings, so I am working to correct it. While her feathers are still growing and before her bones stop growing, I have her wingtips lightly wrapped in the correct wing position (not in this photo, though). Hopefully with the wrapping, the muscles and bones will learn the correct placement, and her wings will look "correct" again.
Hope you've enjoyed this little update on the geese, and a few of their friends! I always love sitting out in the chicken yard catching up on the daily gossip. There was lots of it going around today!
My weekend and evenings this week have been spent getting the new coop all set up and ready for residents. I'm not completely done with all the details, but was able to get everyone moved in earlier this week. I haven't taken photos of the coop in detail yet, so I will snap a few shots this weekend and share. Until then, I thought I'd share some of the lucky residents!
I decided that since the coop was small, I would make it the bantam coop (and for now anyway, baby geese coop). This is Wiley in the middle of a bunch of his lady friends. Wiley is the only adult rooster in the coop. And I think he's pretty happy about that! And so are the girls! I think I have a few young male silkies and maybe a young male frizzle or two as well, but they're young enough it's still hard to tell. They can stay in this coop until they start being punks. Then they'll go into the larger coop with the big girls and boys, who will do a better job at keeping them in line.
Oh, and if you're wondering what bantams are, they are small chicken breeds as opposed to standard sized chicken breeds. The larger chicken house and yard (which we've had for several years) will be for the standards, ducks, my other two geese, and a few bantams that will do better just staying where they are.
I was happy to be able to move some of the older bantams into the new coop. This is Lovey, my oldest frizzle Cochin hen (she is the last of the Tiny Tim, Little Buddy, Ginger gang). I'm hoping that with less attention from roosters, her feathers will grow in on her poor little nake head, back, and neck. I'm also hoping that with a little extra TLC, she'll get a little more spunk. She's looking a little rough around the edges.
This is Peeper, the oldest chicken on the farm. She hatched 9 years ago... that's old! She was picked on by other birds from a young age. At one point, she got eye injuries that pretty much left her w/out her outer eyelids. Poor thing! I was thrilled to be able to move her into the new coop where she's not the smallest, or most timid one in the group.
I haven't put the trim up around the chicken door yet... but it's on the project list. I did get a nice ladder built though, with steps spaced just right for short bantam legs! Nutmeg is checking things out.
I will take a few more photos this weekend, and share some of the other details of the coop. I've been getting requests for an update -- thank you for your interest! It's fun sharing their new digs with you!
This chick was also a temporary house guest. At a fairly young age she seemed to develop a palsy which made life in the coop with the other chickens very difficult. She had a hard time keeping up with the other babies, had a hard time keeping herself on her feet, and had a tendency to get stuck places she couldn't get herself out of. So while I was out west visiting friends, Alan brought her inside for extra TLC. I love coming home to house chickens! *grin*
Anyway, I thought you might like a little update on this little cutie!
Turns out, she wasn't a she after all, but a HE! After a few weeks of in-house TLC, he showed great improvement. While he still gets the shakes and sometimes completely topples over, it's not as frequent as before. He now has much better control over his muscles. He returned to the coop with the others, but has his own 3'x4' brooder to hang out in when he has difficult days. I call it his bachelor pad. He's face to face with all the other chickens, and sings to all the ladies.
Today's forecast is promising a high of 99*. Tomorrow's forecast is promising a high of 99*, too. Jeepers... Time to get the frozen water bottles in the chicken waterers. I'd best gather eggs early in the day, too! Don't want those chickens brewing up any deviled eggs when I'm not lookin'!
We've got a wild mama cat who has 5 kittens under our shed. They stay out of the heat, and lay in the shade. Oddly enough, the girl kittens are the friendliest of the bunch. Usually the boys are. When they're old enough they'll go to the vet for a little snippity snip! Alan thinks he might be able to catch the wild mama next week now that the kittens are old enough to eat kitty food and spend the night away from their mama while she's at the vet's office for snipping! This little gal is a cutie, isn't she! I think I'll tell Alan her name is Tangerine. Unless you want to ADOPT her, and then you can name her anything you'd like! *grin*
The rattlesnake pole beans have almost all sprouted around the tee-pee trellis, and I can't wait to see them start vining up the poles! I took this photo two days ago, and already the plants look noticably different, now that they're starting to get more leaves. It's amazing how quickly things change.
Remember our little house chick, Dolly? Well, seems that Dolly thinks SHE is a HE, and is practicing crowing. Yes, yes it's true. Just little squeaks, but that's CROW enough for me! Dolly lives outside now, in a fancy new brooder with two chick-sized friends. Happy as can BE, wild frizzled feathers, and all!
So, speaking of summer ... did you see this image predicting how summer weather is going to progress? UNCLE!!!
I think that calls for daily dips in the pool. Bottom's Up!
Whipper Snapper Designs: Poolside Chicken - #CT954
Remember my setup for making homemade yogurt? Well, how about making gift cards to go along with the homemade yogurt theme! I made this 3.5" square gift card using images from my recently released Whipper Snapper cling set called Garden Fresh. And speaking of yogurt, I'm all out! Time to pull out the ol' canning kettle and heat pad! Mmmm, good!
A peek at the garden reveals that things are slowing coming along. But I have to tell you, I'm battling insects like you wouldn't believe. Cucumber beetles are in numbers like never before, squash bugs have been spotted (and removed) from zucchini plants, and a couple pepper plants have been victim to caterpillars. I'm vigilant at night and do my best bug patrol in the dark, wearing a headlamp and gloves. Squishing cucumber beetles and cutting various plant eating/sucking caterpillars in half isn't my calling, but I do it. ...or maybe it is?
The pole beans (center row) are hinting about climbing the trellis. The bush beans (outer rows) look healthy! I still can't get over how crinkly the first plants look! Something got to them early on, and they still look so strange! We did have the big hail storms and crazy wind that gave them a good beating. The newer plants look "normal" at least!
The flowerbed along the chicken yard is filling in nicely. I noticed a couple volunteer tomato plants, and some volunteer been plants have come up along with lots of seeds I planted for sunflowers, zinnia, and gourds. Should be pretty when it's in bloom! The little tin flower in the photo used to be a rain gauge... but the rain gauge vessel broke. So now it's just a cute tin flower in the garden.
In other news, this coming Friday is my Mom's birthday and I'll be flying up north to spend a long weekend with her and Dad. I'm looking forward to it, for sure! Alan will be staying home on the farm, taking care of all the critters and the garden. It's a lot of work for one person, and he'll have earned BIG HUGS when I get back!
Here's the video I put together following this afternoon's storm. I'm sorry to have missed filming the earlier part of the storm -- I was so involved in watching what was happening! So, I missed the trees blowing sideways, tree branches blowing across the yard, the rain and huge HAIL blowing completely sideways. I'll be better prepared next time!
Here's a bit of what you'll see:
BIG HAIL (at 1:10 and 1:45ish)
My poor tomatoes and other garden plants
The new calf having a milkshake tasting contest, and a RACE!
Rain, rain, RAIN!
5 calves eating hay
Dash on post
If you have trouble viewing the video here on the blog, you can always check it out on YouTube!
This is Bing, one of the reasons I had to surround all of the garden beds with deer netting or short fence. He loves talking to the ladies in the chicken yard, so I've got to keep him out of the flower bed that runs nearly the full length of their yard. He likes snapping off my seedlings! Baaaad rooster! Thank goodness he can't jump my short 3' fence -- those frizzled feathers of his are worthless when it comes to flying.
Shorty is another reason for the netting and fences. He is particularly fond of dusting in the lose soil of the garden beds and planters. Baaaad rooster! But with netting and fences up, he's content to search for bugs and grubs in the grass.
The row of purple pole beans didn't come in very well, so last night I planted more pole bean seeds under the bean trellis. I was out of purple pole bean seeds (dang it!), so I planted green pole bean seeds. Grow, babies, grow!
The first planting of tomato plants are noticeably larger than they were just a few days ago. And the Juliet plants are putting on flowers! So soon!? We'll be setting up our tomato support structure soon ... more on that later.
The peas are noticeably larger too! And so THICK! Apparently I put plenty of seeds in the soil! *grin* Sure, it's a bit too late in the year for getting a good pea crop, but I've got a bed that gets shade most of the day until late afternoon. So, I thought why not plant some peas there... maybe they'll love it, maybe not!
The heirloom tomato starts I planted last weekend are starting to show growth. They might be small now, but let's hope they get mighty! They got goat fertilizer added to their bed ... you can see some of the pellets in the bottom right corner of the photo. Who knew those two silly goats could be so useful!
I had to put up a windbreak on the backside of the sweet pepper bed. We had such strong wind the other day, the plants were nearly laid over! They are MUCH happier now that they have a bit of shelter from the ridiculous wind we get here.
The strawberry plants are growing, too! Well, half of them anyway. I ordered some plants from Gurney's earlier this year, and the order kept being delayed. I wasn't sure they were going to ship at all, so when I saw strawberries on sale at the local farm supply store, I picked up a box. The roots looked a little on the small size, but they weren't dry or showing signs of mold or mildew. I planted them in the lower half of the prepared strawberry bed. Days later, I got the shipping notice for my Gurney's order.... more strawberries were on their way! (Good thing, too!) When the Gurney's order arrived, the roots were MUCH larger, and healthier looking. I planted them right away in the upper half of the prepared bed, and as soon as the next day they were already showing growth! About two weeks time is the difference between both plantings, and STILL the plants I bought from the local farm supply store have YET to show ANY above ground growth. Any bits of green you see in the lower half of the bed are either leaves that have blown in from the hackberry trees, or growth from the little tiny straggler roots from the Gurney's order that I planted in between the rows of roots from the farm supply! Lesson learned!
Not only did we have blue sky and 80 degree temps here on the farm today, we also had several attentive vultures circling the farm this afternoon. The chickens and ducks are always aware of them, and hustle under cover when they're near.
The sun was shining so I went out to see what the critters were up to. Very few of them cooperated for photos. The cows were at the faaaaaaar end of the pasture with the donkeys. The cats and dogs were sleeping in the shade. The goats? Well they would have been in my pockets had I gone into the barnyard! I guess Callio-Pea didn't like that I didn't bring her any snacks!
When I sit on the concrete block, I get quite a bit of attention. They've got to tug at my shirt buttons, tug on my sleeves, and of course be close enough so that if I do have any handouts, they're first in line! If I sit there long enough, things go back to normal. This is Uncle Sam, waiting to see if I have any snacks for him. Sorry dude, no snacks.
An afternoon nap sure sounds like a fine idea... Don't you agree?
While the sun was low on the horizon this evening, I took my camera out to the hen house to see what I could see. What do you know, I saw CHICKENS (and ducks)! Shorty tried to show me where a good place to nest would be, "right here, in the tall grass!"
Inside the hen house, some of the ladies enjoyed perching in the rays of sunshine that were coming through the windows. Ruby had the best spot! (And is it just me, or does she look a little bit like Conan o'Brien?)
Like most areas around the country, the weather here is supposed to get cold this week. Yesterday and today it was in the mid 70's ... Take a look at Tuesday and Wednesday in the above chart ... a low of 14* on Wednesday!? Ice and Snow!? JEEEEPERS!! Best plan on keepin' cozy!
It's time to sell some of the Frizzle boys! This is ZaneGrey, a standard sized frizzled roo. His rare lemon-blue coloring makes him prize-worthy, and he would be a wonderful addition to any flock. He stands proud, keeps a watchful eye out for predators, and adores the ladies.
This is Big Red, a medium sized frizzled roo with nicely feathered legs, great frizzling, and a wonderful mix of red and blue feathers. He's strong and sturdy, attentive to the ladies, and also good at predator alerts.
This is Mr. Cool, with long golden locks that look to be bleached out by a warm California summer sun from a life lived in the sandy surf. Mr. Cool is a medium sized fella, with a unique combination of red, blue and gold coloring, and feathered legs. His long feathers make him extra showy, and extra soft. He would be a wonderful addition to any flock of hens.
Add a little fun to your spring hatch with frizzles! These boys are happy and healthy, and would love their own flocks. Add a frizzled roo to your flock of non-frizzled hens, and put some frizzle in your spring hatch! Email me for pricing.
It is July, right? I'm looking at the 10-day forecast, and am so EXCITED!! Not a 100 degree day to be SEEN! And look at the chance of precipitation numbers! This Pacific Northwest girl thinks it's time to do the dance of joy! But I won't get too excited... I don't want to jinx things. That's just my luck. *grin*
We didn't get rain the entire day, just sprinkles now and then, but the cooler temps were nice. At about 6:30pm I was out doing chores. A bit of sun peeked through the clouds just before the big storm for the night moved into the area. I took some time to snap some random photos just to document the day.
The ducks LOVE the rain. It's QUACK QUACK QUACK all day long, while they splash around in the puddles, and chomp at the rain drops. The chickens don't really like getting wet, but I think they're enjoying the much cooler temperatures we're having. They don't tolerate heat well, and neither do I!
I sure get a lot of attention when I bring the camera into the chicken yard. I'm pretty sure they all think it's a container full of treats for them to snack on. Keeping the duck bills away from my lens is sometimes a challenge. Keeping the duck bills away from my pants and pockets ... impossible.
Dandy (our only male duck, thankfully!) doesn't have time for baby chickens. He is growing into such a handsome fella. And I noticed he's finally getting his little drake tail curl (no photos yet). He's off to find a puddle.
It is my opinion that frizzled chicks are the CUTEST chicks in the coop! Sure, all chicks are cute, but frizzles just have a little something EXTRA to their level of cuteness. A frizzled chicken's feathers curl forward instead of laying flat against the chicken's body. I snapped these photos this afternoon, and am so glad I did!
This little guy (guessing it's a roo, but maybe not!) has more muted colors, but still the blue and gold show through. I think he'll be very pretty as an adult with slightly darker neck coloring, and more penciling pattern on his feathers.
Both of these boys are from the 13 chicks that Edwina hatched out in May. There's a third frizzle chick too, but he wasn't too hip on having a photo session today. Maybe he'll cooperate next time. He's very similar in appearance to the first chick, above.
By the way, I'm interested in selling these little fellas, so if you're in the area and want to add some ultra cuteness to your coop, drop me a note and I can let you know the prices. I'd wager that we will always have frizzles on the farm. I just think they are the CUTEST things!
I know it's not nice to pick favorites.... but this little guy (and I do mean little!) ranks right up there with the OTHER favorite chickens on the farm! ...see, I get away with it by having more than one favorite...
Wiley... he's just the CUTEST! He loves to fly up and land on my shoulder. Though, sometimes he misjudges his landing and ends up landing on my head, but it's forgivable. He also gets very excited when I make happy chicken noises -- he comes running to find me and crows for me! What a charmer... It's so difficult to get across in photos the true size of Wiley. He might stand 8 inches tall. Maybe. If he's standing tall. He's nearly knee high to a grasshopper. ...a Texas-sized grasshopper, that is!
While I'm picking favorites, here's another! This is Tipsy Frizzlewinkle, as named in the pullet naming contest I held a while back. Tipsy is part frizzle and part Silkie. She's really come into her feathers now, and is sooooo frizzled and soft!
The coloring on her feathers is so unique! Each feather has a light colored center that creates a nice center stripe. Then, there's a nice mixture of chocolate brown and gold, which gives her such a great appearance.
Another cutie in the coop is Curly Que, who is also part frizzle (you can tell by her curled feathers), and part Golden Laced Polish. Her feathers are so very soft too, just like Tipsy's feathers!
I have more frizzle cross babies growing up, too! This is another frizzle/Silkie cross. She wasn't too pleased that I put her up on the "BIG CHICKEN" perch for her photo op. She didn't stay long. CHEEP CHEEP CHEEP!
And there's THIS crazy little chick! This little gal's (I'm hoping it's a girl, anyway) feathers are black with silver coloring, and I can't WAIT to see how pretty she gets as she continues to grow! If you think you're having a bad hair day, just remember... it could probably be worse! I tried to get more photos of the babies, but they don't exactly hold still for much more than a fraction of a second. I'll try to do better!
Here are some of the Golden Comet girls. They're not quite old enough to lay eggs yet, but they've been eyeballin' the nest boxes in the morning, so I know it's just a matter of time before I'll be gathering 40 some-odd eggs in the morning (not just from the Golden Comets). The cafe in town should be thrilled!
The Golden Comet ladies are a nice bunch of pullets. I'm really pleased with them, actually. I've never raised Golden Comets before. We bought them because we could guarantee that we were buying hens (and not roosters) just by their coloring when they were chicks. They're a cross between a Rhode Island Red hen and a Rhode Island White rooster. The chicks that hatch will carry the coloring of their gender -- this is called "sex-linked". As chicks, the little pullets are golden yellow with darker gold striping down their backs, and the little cockerels are pale yellow. This makes it easy for hatcheries to gender identify the chicks. And makes it easy to buy only hens! They should lay a nice sized light brown egg... come on, girls!!
Last month we lost the best rooster on the farm, Lefty. Before he died, he fathered about a dozen chicks that were hatched out by Crazy Dark Brown Hen. This little guy is one of them! His coloring is so striking, and like his father, he is quite friendly. I'm hoping he doesn't grow out of that... He's still quite young and isn't so sure about leaving the safe walls of the coop just yet. But he's perfectly content hanging out in one of the unfinished windows watching the events in the chicken yard!
And speaking of Lefty... here is his other young heir to the farm. Isn't he handsome in his black and white feathers and ultra cute cheek feathers (which he got from his mother). You can see more of this little guy here, and here.
Those are all the photos I have to share today... more coming soon!
PS: If you want to read more posts about chickens or the coop, you'll find Poultry and Chicken Coop in the Categories list on the right. In fact, you'll find all kinds of things to read about if you visit the Categories list on the right! Dexter Cattle, Goats, Life on the Farm (includes all of the farm related posts), and even a link to my encounters with Texas-sized spiders. Which I will have you know, I have spared you from the recent encounters... you can thank me by sending spider killing (but chicken safe) spray. Or booze.
Thank you for the notes about Lefty. I didn't mean to leave you with such a downer of a post. So, to make up for it, here is a Tiny Tim the Frizzle Roo update that so many of you have been BEGGING for!
Remember Tiny Tim? You might not think this is Tiny Tim... but it is! Quite the change from the last time you saw him, eh?
This past winter I kept nearly naked coat wearin' Tiny Tim in a bachelor pad, so I could keep him warmer than the other chickens and move him from the chicken yard to the utility room quickly when the temperatures dropped. I noticed his feathers started slowly growing in, so I kept him in his bachelor pad in the chicken yard all spring. He could talk with the ladies and they could talk with him, but they just couldn't pull his feathers! While his feathers did grow in, they just looked dull and dusty.
So last weekend, I gave Tiny Tim a bath (well, more of a shower really)!
He was LESS than thrilled with the process, although I think he really did like the warm water. When he was done, he smelled Green Apple scented Dawn fresh! I wrapped him up in some fuzzy towels and held him for a couple of hours while Alan and I watched TV. That part I KNOW he liked!
And this is what he looks like today! He STILL has lots of new feathers coming in! You can see them at the top of his neck -- they look like they have long white beads on them since they are still in their protective feather sheath.That covering will flake off as the feathers get longer.
I know for a fact that not only did his last summer/winter nakedness happen because of his weird extra frizzled feathers, but I think he also let some of the ladies groom him a little too much. He can't help it if he likes the extra attention from the ladies! I guess his nakedness was a small price to pay for love from the ladies.
It's hard to believe that THIS little rooster is our little coat wearin' Tiny Tim, but it's true. It is. In all his curly, shiny feathered glory!
Isn't he handsome! I love his tail feathers! Like ringlets!
Want to know more about Tiny Tim? You can read all of the posts about him, here.
As promised, here are some more chicken portraits taken a couple of evenings ago while the chicks were out having fun in their new yard for the first time. They were all so TIRED by evening! All that flitting around chasing bugs and swinging off the tall grass really wore them out!
Wiley is a little TINY rooster. He might stand as tall as the length of my hand. Maybe. I think he's a Dutch bantam, but I'm not sure. First I thought he was an Old English Game Bantam (OEGB), but I think he has the wrong color legs for an OEGB. I haven't taken much time to research him. I bought him out of a "mixed bantam" group, so that's why I'm not certain what he is. He'll be a looker though, that's for sure! His gold feathers are coming in really nicely!
I thought I'd introduce you to a couple more pullets... Get a look at these cuties!
This is Curly Que, the little frizzled Golden Laced Polish pullet who hatched here on the farm April 1st. Her coloring is so much FUN! Polish chickens all have fancy feather plumes on their heads. Hers won't be as big and showy as a pure Polish hen's, but it'll still be sassy and fun! The next time I take photos of her, I need to make sure it's not in front of the coop! The wood siding of the coop is the same color as her feathers, and I think you miss out on some of their flair! I also need to make sure I have some assistance during her photo sessions. She refused to sit still long enough for me to get too many photos. She is a very busy, busy bird.
This little beauty is a Birchen Old English Bantam. She's TINY! That is a 2x2 perch she's sitting on, to give you an idea to scale. Isn't the lacing on her breast feathers pretty! What I love about these little Bantams is that they're such sweet little birds. The males can be little pistols, but the pullets are just as sweet as can be! She likes to sit on my shoulder when I'm in the coop. ...which is really great until she POOPS! *grin* I haven't decided on a name for her yet. It's gotta be something dainty... something beautiful...
And speaking of something dainty, this little thing hatched on Saturday! She's a Golden Cuckoo Marans and will grow up to have feathers that are a beautiful mix of gold, black and white. She will lay eggs that are a warm, dark brown.
And here she is about 12 hours after hatching... what a cutie, eh? A bit sleepy, but you would be too! She's standing with her stuffed chicken friend -- our tried and true surrogate momma/friend while we wait for other chicks to hatch. Thankfully, it wasn't long before she had a REAL chicken friend to share the brooder with. A little Salmon Faverolles hatched on Sunday -- pics of "her" later!
Welcome to the farm, girly girls!
My GOODNESS! There has been so MUCH participation in the naming of our little pullet! 267 (and counting) comments, many with SEVERAL name suggestions! And that doesn't include the numerous emails I received as well! You're all so fun for playing along! And you came up with fantastic names!!
Thank you, thank you for all the FUN suggestions! I can't tell you how many belly laughs we have had reading every SINGLE one of them, and taking them all into consideration. We even got plenty of good names for some of the other girls in the coop too! And for that, I'm EXTRA grateful!
I've decided on a name for our little gal. The name was suggested by Mary Ann Kelemen... I'm delighted to introduce Tipsy Frizzlewinkle!
There MANY other names that were so close... here are a few that *almost* got chosen...
Pwaula Pinecone (as said with a Boston accent) was a close second, suggested by Renee's kids. Renee made sure to mention the Boston accent for pronunciation, and went on to say that she and her kids live in Kansas... Hahaa! What a crack up!!
Pinecone, for obvious reasons... Prickles, Phillis, June Bug, and one that topped the charts from my Dad was Edith Ann, like, one ringy dingy, two ringy dingy, Lilly Tomlin's strange operator from Laugh In. So MANY fun suggestions...it was a difficult decision!
I really can't tell you how much FUN this was for us! Thank you for playing along! And Tipsy thanks you too! Cheep cheep!
Mary Ann, drop me a note -- I've got a little something to send you for your winning suggestion!
Come on! You know you want to play!
Let's play Name This Chicken!
Let's meet our little pullet!
So, let's hear what you've got! Name This Chicken!
PS: You never know... there might just be a prize awarded for the winning name!
PSS: A "pullet" is a young female chicken who is less than one year old.
Hmm... I guess the white trim with black polka dots isn't a hit after all! Good thing I didn't actually PAINT it like that before I found out it was such a bust of an idea! *grin*
I was asked to post a photo of what the perch ladder looked like when it was suspended from the ceiling -- there you go, Chris! There's a short chain above both of the outside legs of the ladder so the ladder is held up on both sides. Works like a charm! Sorry for the low quality pics -- it was early, I was using my point and shoot camera, and had to use the flash. Argh! But you get the idea anyway...
We knew it was going to be HOT today (in fact, we're at the beginning of a HOT spell), so bright and early this morning Alan and I added a layer of wood chips to the floor of the coop and moved the majority of the chicks into the new coop. We've still got the youngest ones in a brooder in the house. They need to get a bit older (and grow more feathers) before they can move out into the coop.
This is their first time on wood chips, and some were a little more comfortable than others. But after a short time, the babies thought it was a PARTY! The white and black chick on the left is Sweet Pea, the cute little white chick we had hatch from one of Olive Oye's green eggs. Dang it, I think it's a rooster. Poo! In fact, I think all of the chicks in this photo are roosters. Bigger POO!
The brown and black chick in the middle is Edwina, who is one of our farm hatched chicks (as opposed to store bought). Edwina is half Ameraucana and half Mille Fleur. The little dark brown frizzle chick on the right is another one of our farm chicks (yet to be named). She's half frizzle and half golden laced Polish, so she will have crazy curled feathers, and hopefully a plume of feathers on her head -- though I think if she does it will be small.
If you're wondering why they have bright green marks on their legs, that's how we marked them as we vaccinated them, so we could tell who'd been vaccinated and who hadn't been. Every now and then, Alan got a little carried away with the green grease crayon and they ended up with an entire green leg instead of just a green middle toe!
Here's another farm hatched chick, yet to be named. Every time I look at her I just LAUGH! She's half frizzle and half silkie. She's just the FUNNIEST thing on two legs!! Like the Polish chickens, Silkies also have tall standing feathers on their heads, but usually they're a bit shorter and not as "showy" as the Polish head feathers. Hers are a RIOT!! I think there are 5 feathers coming in. Hopefully she'll get a few more!
I took a few photos last night of some of the new chicks we've got in the brooder. This is the little chocolate colored chick we had hatch about 10 days ago. I was going back and forth about who it's mama was, and clearly I was WRONG! Turns out, this chick has Silkie toes and frizzling feathers! So there's no way her mama could be Doily, Pearl, or Tina! You can kind of see her wing feathers sticking out as they do their cute frizzle curl. It will be fun to see her grow up! (Sorry it's not all in focus... it was dark and I needed to use a shallow depth of field to allow enough light to even take the photo at all!)
This is Edwina, a cross between our Mille Fluer Peanut and our Ameraucana Edward Scissorbeak. Peanut lays the smallest eggs on the farm, but hatching from one of Peanut's itty bitty eggs didn't stop Edwina from growing and growing and GROWING! She TOWERS over all the other babies in the brooder! And look at all her pretty feathers coming in! She is a very sweet, mild mannered chick. Except when a bug gets in the brooder... then she gets a little CRAZY running and jumping and peeping like mad. Bugs in the brooder are VERY exciting! Hopefully, Edwina will lay green eggs...
This is one of the little Golden Comet chicks we brought home from the farm supply store last weekend. Golden Comets are a sex-link bird, meaning that the pullets (girls) are a different color than the cockerels (boys). So it's easy to tell the males from the female birds. She'll grow up to be a pretty gold and white colored hen and lay nice, brown eggs. Can't wait!
Hope you're enjoying your weekend!
It's a baby! Yup, one last egg hatched tonight...
I had a bunch of eggs under a couple of sitting hens (they were in the same nest box), but their nest was getting all kinds of activity from the other hens wanting to lay their eggs in their nest box. All that activity caused the sitting girls to get up off of their nest quite often, and the eggs got shuffled around a lot as the two birds rolled the eggs back and forth so they could "take turns" sitting on them. So, I put the eggs in the incubator for the last week to see if they would even hatch. That's how we got the two chicks that hatched earlier this month, and tonight, the last egg from the bunch hatched. Most of the eggs didn't fully develop into chicks, and I'm attributing that to too much activity in the nest box the hens were sitting on them. Too much temperature change, too much rolling back and forth...something. But three hatched, and we gave three adorable little babies to enjoy!
I THINK this baby is a cross between a bearded Golden Laced Polish hen (Not Weezie) and a Red Frizzled rooster (Little Buddy or Tiny Tim, but my money's on Little Buddy). The egg the baby hatched from was a large white shelled egg, which is what the two Golden Laced Polish girls lay. The coloring of the chick is more similar to the Golden Laced Polish chicks than it is to the Buff Laced Polish. At this point, that's all I have to go on. Oh, AND, it's wing feathers show characteristics of being a little pullet (girl) -- cross your fingers she's a she! She's almost dry -- her baby fuzz is still a bit matted down in this photo from her being inside her egg. I'll take more pics when she's all fluffy and cute!
Remember this chick from last week? I was WRONG WRONG WRONG on the parents! Turns out, that baby is a FRIZZLE/Silkie mix, and it's feathers are curling and showing the frizzle gene! So, it's Mama is not Pearl, Doily, OR Tina! I'll try and get pics later this week. SO CUTE! More on this later.
It's Papa is one of the red Silkie boys (which was a surprise to me - I thought it would have been Little Buddy!) The chick has the extra toes characteristic of Silkies, dark skin, and you can see the red coming through in the coloring. Although, it doesn't have a comb like a Silkie.
It's Mama ... well, that's when things get tricky because it could be one of three hens. Either Pearl, Doily, or Tina. I thought it was Tina's egg, because Tina lays white eggs and the egg this baby hatched from was very pale in color -- white even!? But perhaps the shell wasn't as WHITE as I thought! The chick hatched, and that's when the guessing started. Here's why.
Pearl: Pearl is a dark grey Ameracauna mix with a dark bearded chin and dark legs. The baby looks like it will be bearded, and it's certainly dark with dark legs. However, it does not have Pearl's comb. Pearl has a little bumpy Ameracauna comb, and the baby has a single comb. Pearl lays very lightly tinted brown eggs.
Doily: Her feathers are black, and her legs are dark grey. And she has a single comb. But, she's not bearded. Doily lays very lightly tinted brown eggs.
Tina: Tina is a Crevecoeur (a black hen with a fancy headress and black legs), and a V shaped comb. Tina lays white eggs. I *thought* it was her egg. Seems not?
So... Did the baby get the single comb from it's mother? If so, then it must be Doily's baby. Or does the comb revert to being a single comb on occasion regardless of the mother and father's comb? I don't know! So. To make it easier on myself, I'm going to say it's Doily's chick. Single comb Mama, single comb baby. Extra toe Papa, Extra to baby. Works for me!
Then, as if that wasn't fun enough, this little gal hatched yesterday evening! She hatched from one of Olive Oyle's green eggs! Her Papa is Edward Scissorbeak, without a doubt! What's so nice about this little gal is that she has a GREAT chance of laying green eggs! Her Mama lays olive green colored eggs, and one of the traits of Edward's breed is green colored eggs. Let's hope this little gal was lucky enough to get the gene! Oddly enough, Olive Oyle (the Mama) is a Turken (naked neck). Her chick didn't get that gene! She's all fluff! And just as cute as can BE!
Good news, we have a new baby! This little chick hatched yesterday. We're keeping it in the house until it's big enough to be outside in a safe little baby chicken place. Right now it's about the size of a golf ball with a head. Super tiny!
This baby is a Sizzle, which is a cross between a Silkie (like Toe Picker), and a Frizzle (maybe Tiny Tim, more than likely Little Buddy - he's a bit more successful with the ladies than Tiny Tim). For the first couple of days baby chicks sleep a LOT, though only for short periods of time. They're easily awaken, and quick to return to snoozing. She (I'm being optimistic) had just finished a light snack, and apparently needed to catch some Zzzz's. It will be fun to watch her grow - I hope she has crazy feathers, like the frizzles! I'm TRYING to post a video on YouTube, but per it's usual style, YouTube is NOT cooperating with me.
In sad news, the first chick that hatched yesterday didn't make it. *Make note of the full moon comment above.* That will never be an easy thing to deal with here on the farm.
We have another egg in the incubator that is supposed to hatch on Friday. I'm grateful -- this little blonde cutie needs a friend (besides me & Alan & Daisy).
I took some other chicken photos yesterday and thought I'd share a few just for fun.
Tiny Tim in his coat. He's on watch guard over the "ladies". Hopefully when the weather warms up, he'll grow in some new feathers! He's pretty much naked! And it looks like he's been busy dusting himself as well. What a mess!
Toe Picker, being cute on a perch. Toe Picker is a small buff Silkie hen, who is ALWAYS under-foot. She weighs about 24oz (small!). In the summer, when I'm wearing open-toe sandals, she loves to peck at my toe nail polish. *grin* She is very fuzzy, and very "silky". Ha! Silkies are like holding a stuffed animal -- they feel so different from regular chickens.
Gretta, one of the Cuckoo Marans girls. We have 8 of them, and they can be difficult to tell apart if you're not looking for something specific on each hen. They're responsible for the very dark brown eggs you've seen in the photos. Very nice hens to have around! But boy, she sure looks serious, doesn't she!
This little guy is a Black Japanese Bantam rooster. I usually call him Little Fella, but he gets called a few other choice names when he's being a troublemaker. If you happened to watch the first video I posted last year, this is the little guy that crowed on demand. He hasn't changed much. But his comb sure got big!
I can't even begin to tell you just how hard I've been laughing, for two days now! Yesterday evening, Tiny Tim started crowing. We've never heard him crow before, and it's likely that he's just now figuring out how.
The nights have been in the low 30s to high 20s, and that's just too cold for Tiny Tim to be out with the others, so we keep him in a small kennel in our utility room at night. I took this little video this morning, while we waited for it to warm up enough for him to go back outside with the rest of his chicken friends.
The little "hiccup" he does at the end of his crow is there every time! It's a stinkin' RIOT!!
Oh, and by the way, to make the entries about Tiny Tim easier to find, I've created a Tiny Tim the Frizzled Roo category - you'll find it over on the right side, in the categories section. Who knew such a crazy little chicken would have such a following! I'll get the other posts about Tiny Tim added to that category as well.
You should be able to view the video here on my blog, but if not here is a link to the video as posted on YouTube.
PS: Looks like it's time to toss Tiny Tim's coat in the wash! *grin*
Tonight I decided to make Tiny Tim a *new* coat! What do you think of it?! This one is a bit "fancy" for every day wear, I think... *grin*
I tried to get a photo of Tiny Tim in the coat, but it was late, and all he wanted to do was SLEEP! Honestly, Tiny Tim. A sleeping chicken isn't a very good model.
By request, here is Tiny Tim & his new coat!
(Mom and Dad, you've got to watch this!) *grin*
Sorry for the choppy quality ... I tried to get the video file smaller than 130mb, and I think YouTube reduces the quality even more!
The video is posted on YouTube.
Tonight the temps are dropping down into the low 30s, and it's supposed to get a bit cooler than that over the weekend. I had to move Tiny Tim's "sweater" up the priority list. When I was in town last weekend, I picked up a yard of brown fleece. Couldn't beat the price at less than $3/yard! Just right for chicken outerwear.
I started by creating a little body form about the same size as Tiny Tim. I used one of the dog toys and a couple of sheets of tissue paper, and it worked like a charm! I was able to wrap the form and create a pattern before I cut into the fleece. Once I had what I thought might work for a pattern, I cut it out and hand stitched it together!
The original version was a bit longer, and the seam you can see was supposed to help the overcoat wrap around his body. But, it was just a bit too long, so I ended up having to shorten it a bit. The front of the coat is fastened with a single button so that the rest of the opening allows his little legs to move.
On the back there's a shoulder flap to cover up his nearly-bare wings. I needed to make some V-shaped slits over his shoulders so his wings could move freely. But to keep them warm, I added a shoulder flap that's even tack-stitched down at the center to help keep it in place if he gets too flap-happy.
Overall, I think it's a good design. (OMW, I am laughing so hard!!) He seems to like it so far. Every now and then he slips into "reverse" and tries to back out of it, but as soon as he bumps into something, he's back in forward motion. (*snort!*)
Let's just hope his chicken friends don't laugh at him! He's got enough problems as it is!
I thought it was time to pull out my little she-crow again from Harvest Blessings for a fall inspired card! I stamped her in black StazOn ink and painted her with re-inkers and a water brush. I added some warmth to the layers by sponging on some brown inks.
Every time I use the little square chick from the Crazy for Chickens set, Alan chuckles and tells me that chickens aren't square. I don't know about that though... Little Buddy is as square as they come!
Cosmo Cricket came out with the cutest paper and accessory line this year called Happy Camper. I *love* it! One of those paper lines that I'll use again and again, so I should probably find more of it! I used one sheet of paper from the line for the background on this card. The paper is double-sided which makes coordinating a snap!
The temps are finally feeling like fall around here. Tonight it's supposed to get down in the mid to low 30s, so we'll be bundling up the critters tonight.
Speaking of bundling up the critters, Tiny Tim is a Red Frizzle Bantam. He got a little too much "frizzle" in his genes, and doesn't have the nice soft fuzzy feathers that he would have if he didn't have so much frizzle in him. So, he's always cold. He shivers.
I don't want to remove him from the flock, but I'd like to help him stay warm. I think he needs a chicken sweater, but I don't crochet. If I measured him up, is there anyone who would be able to crochet him a little chicken sweater? He's not very big, and it wouldn't take much yarn! *grin* Anyone?
While out taking photos of the guineas last night, I took some chicken portraits as well. Enjoy!
This is Little Buddy. He loves me. *grin* He is most certainly a favorite ... except when he decides he needs to attack my toes (out of love, I'm sure). Then he's a pest. Little Buddy is a Red Frizzle, which is why his feathers are all curly-crazy.
This is Lovey, one of our three Red Frizzle hens. She is just as sweet as can be, and *loves* to be held. We have another Red Frizzle hen who looks very similar to Lovey, but is just a tad darker red.
This is Ginger. She's also a Red Frizzle, but as you can see, her feathers aren't curly. According to hatchery information, about 25% of all Frizzle chicks have a chance of *not* being frizzled, though they still have the Frizzle gene. Ginger is so SOFT! Her feathers are just silky, and fine. And very transparent. She is the only Frizzle we have that does not have the typical Frizzled feathers.
This is our third Red Frizzle roo. He totally CRACKS me UP! His feathers, the few that he has, are so curly and kinked that they twist up into little ringlets! Unlike the other Frizzles, he is not soft. Holding him is like holding a big wiggly piece of steel wool. He's referred to by many names, some of them being Kinky, Frazzle, Fro-Boy, Twice-Frizzled, and Tiny Tim.
This is one of two Silver Laced Cochin hens we have (and we have three Silver Laced Cochin roosters). These birds are massive in size compared to our little Frizzles and Silkies! At least 4 times as large ... maybe more. Aren't her feathers lovely!
If you're interested in more things chicken related, I have a category on the right side of my blog called POULTRY. You'll find my chicken illustrations, cards, and chicken photos all in one section! It's chicken mania! I am, as you know, CRAZY for CHICKENS!
Where does the time go!? When I sat down to write this post, I realized that it's been a couple of days since my latest post! Sheesh! I guess I need to pay more attention to time, and not let it get away from me like I have! I thought I'd give a HAPPY update on some of the farm animals, so this evening I picked up my camera and headed out to the barn to see what the chickens were up to.
This is Little Buddy, one of the Red Frizzle chickens we ordered as day-old chicks from Ideal Poultry. Isn't it just a crack-up how his feathers curl forwards!! And they're just as soft as can be, too! One thing we've noticed is that if the air is really damp (like during/after rain) or on high humidity mornings, their feathers actually straighten out a bit and aren't as curled. Wild!!
This little fella is as funny and cute as they come! He *loves* me! When I walk out to the chicken yard, I just have to say "Hey Little Buddy" and he comes running over to me, cooing little chicken noises. He loves to be held. I have a little crate I sit on while I'm out visiting with the chickens, and he'll sit on my leg, or let me hold him the entire time I'm out there.
As odd as this might sound, he even likes to snuggle. For anyone who has owned chickens and has ever had a chicken that just loved to be held, you'll know what I mean. We've got several chickens on the farm that really like to be held. Little Buddy is one, and Fancy Manetta is another. I don't know what it is about them, but they certainly respond more to people than the other chickens do.
This is Ginger, another one of the Red Frizzle chicks we ordered as day-old chicks from Ideal Poultry. Of the 6 Frizzle chicks that we bought, Ginger is the only one of them that didn't get the flipped/frizzled feathers. But she's just as soft, and her feathers are very translucent! If you look at the feathers on the lower part of her neck, you can see how you can see through them to the feathers below. She's a sweet little hen. If you're curious about the size of Ginger and Little Buddy, I'd say they're about the size of a small cantaloupe...or large grapefruit. But no where NEAR as heavy!
This is one of the Guinea hens we received in June. She's still very young, and just starting to lose the feathers on her head and neck. Guinea chicks are actually quite cute .... but, as you can see, they kind of lose their "cuteness" as they mature. This chick is almost 2 months old. A face only a mother could love....
This is a Golden Polish Bantam hen who's about 3 months old. The feathers of her headdress are long and fluffy. Polish Bantams have very large eyes for chickens, but because their head feathers are so long, they don't have very good vision. For this reason they're very easy to catch, but they're also easily spooked.
We have six Polish Bantams. Two are this gold and black color, two are white and gold, and two are solid black (actually called Crevecoeurs). You can see one of the Buff Polish Bantam chicks on one of my chicken updates from May.
The chicks are all too young for egg laying, but in a few months the hens will start laying. Until then, we rely on the older hens around the farm to provide our eggs. Nothing beats a farm fresh egg!
More updates later!
When I posted about my 2 year blogversary, I never expected to have such a fantastic and warm response to the farm updates. Thank you! I am SO glad you enjoy them. It really feels GREAT to know that not only do we love our wacky little farm, but you appreciate our efforts as well. Thank YOU!
With that in mind, yesterday evening I slipped out to the barnyard to see what I could see and I thought I'd give you an update on the goings-on out there!
Dixie Cup and Cleo are growing like weeds! Pictured above is Dixie Cup and here mama, Dixie. Cup is growing up to be a beautiful little heifer. Remember when she was born, she was as black as black can be? The sun has slowly bleached her dark black baby hair to be a beautiful reddish brown color. Her hair will be dark black again after she sheds out her baby summer hair. Too bad too, because both her and Cleo are as pretty as can be with their auburn colored coats.
What I find interesting about Dixie Cup is that while she refuses to let us touch her, she finds us completely fascinating. She watches our every move. She's gonna be a wild one for good, I think (just like her mother...).
This is one of my favorite photos from the evening. It started out as Cup (left) investigating some of the weeds in the pasture. It wasn't long before Cleo (right) decided to join her. Cup, who is two weeks older than Cleo, looks to be nearly twice the size of little Cleo. But both of them have the beautiful coloring from the sun, though both of them really are black cows.
Cleo must have decided that she was NOT going to cooperate for our little photo session. Here's the only other photo I was able to get of her. Her face is much more feminine than Cup's face. It will be fun to see how pretty she gets as she grows up. I'm hoping she grows up to have her mother's temperament as well.
As for the baby chickens, they're also growing like weeds! Here's one of the Red Frizzle babies, looking every so lovely in her frizzled out feather-do. Even the feathers on her head are frizzled! If you raise chickens, no matter how many, I highly recommend raising a few frizzles. They have so much personality and are so fun to watch! I could spend hours watching them run from one side of the chicken yard to the other - and back again. We purchased our Frizzle chicks as day-old chicks from Ideal Poultry. Very healthy birds, and though 25% of Frizzles won't actually have the flipped, frizzled feathers, 5 of the 6 chicks we received in our order do. The one chick that doesn't have the flipped, frizzled feathers, is still a beautiful chick with unbelievably soft feathers! I'll try and get a photo of her soon... she's a beauty!
Here's one of the Red Silkie chicks. This is the first time I've ever raised Silkies, and they are a bundle of energy! I love how it looks like she's wearing fluffy white slippers on her feet! In this photo you can see that the skin of Silkie chickens is dark, not white or yellow like most chickens. You can also see in this photo that Silkie chickens have two toes that point backwards, in addition to the three toes that point forward. Other chickens have three toes that point forward, and only one toe that points backwards. How's that for some chicken trivia!
Princess (our fourth Dexter cow expecting a calf this year) is starting to look like she's contemplating having her baby soon. Her baby will for sure be black, but we're hoping that she has a little heifer this year. Last year, she delivered Ribeye, our little (and I'm not joking when I say LITTLE) polled bull (polled means he is naturally horn-less). We're keeping Ribeye for breeding (being polled is a GOOD thing!), as he's quite a charming little fella to have around. Princess is our prettiest cow, and we'd like to see her good looks passed on to a little heifer. Here's hoping!
Life on the farm... good, clean (?) fun.
For those of you looking for an update on the baby chickens, this post is for you! It's long, but packed with adventure! Thank you for the requests you've sent to me for farm updates. It's a great thing knowing that you're interested in knowing what's going on around here. It makes our life here seem a little less crazy knowing people are interested.
So to satisfy the chicken update requests I've been getting, earlier this evening Alan and I went out to the barn to get some photos of the little rascals. Talk about a challenge! Ever been to a chicken rodeo!? It was a hoot! Three chickens got away from us, one even ran out of the barn towards the goats. Thankfully it didn't go under the barn (we may not have been able to get it out!) and we were able to catch it! After the excitement, we went back to the slap-stick photo session. Alan held the babies while I took photos. And let me just say, I didn't get very many "good" photos. The chicks move FAST. I have a LOT of "action" shots (um, ok, just downright blurry!).
Every single chick from our Ideal Poultry order is thriving! We're pleased as can be with the little birds! They're growing, like weeds! I am amazed to see just how BIG they're getting! The day the chicks arrived as day-old birds, they were so very TINY! Every last one of them, as cute as could be! We ordered Buff Orpingtons, Red Frizzles, and Red Silkies, and they sent along seven free Araucana male chicks for extra warmth during the shipment. The photo above is one of the Red Frizzles. Aren't it's feathers a RIOT!! And these little birds have the MOST personality, too! They zip around the brooding trough as fast as can be. They're always first in line at the feed dish when it's refilled, first to try out new perches, and first to check out the fresh grass put in their brooder tank. They are very curious babies, every one of them. All but one of the Frizzle chicks we received have the typical "frizzled" feathers. One of the Frizzle chicks has feathers that lay down like normal chicken feathers. It's still a very pretty chicken, and I'm excited to see how she grows up.
The chicks from our McMurray Hatchery order are doing well too, though we did lose 10 of them within the first couple of days of them arriving. The box they were shipped in had a lot more ventilation holes than the order we received from Ideal Poultry, and I think they just got too cold during their shipment. We ordered a whole BUNCH of different varieties from McMurray Hatchery. The little pullet (female baby chicken) in the above photo is just one of the varieties we ordered. She is a Buff Laced Polish Bantam. Her feather-do looks pretty wild now, but just WAIT! The feathers on her head will continue to grow nice and long into a big ploom of feathers, kind of like a Vegas Show Girl's feather headdress! We have two Buff Laced Polish Bantams, two Golden Polish Bantams (which are brown, red, and gold spotted with crazy head feathers), and two Crevecoeurs (which are black with crazy head feathers). They'll be fun to have around with their wild feather-do's!
As for the baby Turken chicks that Brown Manetta hatched out, five of them went to live with our post office lady. Her and her husband have never raised Turken chicks before, so we gifted the babies to her and her husband. I'm certain they're being spoiled rotten, just as though they would be if they still lived here. We did keep one of the Turken babies. It's growing up nicely! We've named her (we hope it's a her) Fancy Manetta. She's our only black and white Turken chicken and she has feathers on each side of her neck like a little bow tie. Since all of our Turken chicks are named after my dear friend in Oregon named Manetta, and since she's dressed in black with a bow tie, it seemed only fitting to call her Fancy Manetta. This is also the FRIENDLIEST chick! She loves to sit on my lap while I'm out on the patio. She'll stand on my shoulder, or even hunker down like she's going to take a nap. Every now and then, if I'm standing close to Alan she'll jump from my shoulder to his, and then back again. Fancy Manetta is a cutie, that's for sure. Our luck, she'll turn out to be a rooster.....
I had to LAUGH and LAUGH while we were out taking photos. It wasn't enough for her to just sit on Alan's hand, arm, or shoulder while I took photos. She actually jumped up on his HEAD!! Hahahaa!!! Notice the lack of FOCUS in this photo -- because at this point I'm laughing hysterically! Clearly I'm not very good at holding a camera steady when I'm about to wet my pants in laughter! I was able to take just one photo, and then had to intervene before Fancy Manetta decided to poop on Alan's head! What a crack up!!
On June 19th we're expecting another order of chicks from Ideal Poultry. I ordered them at the same time as the first order, but due to limited availability we've had to wait a bit for them to hatch and be shipped to us. We've got 10 baby Guineas, 5 Welsummer pullets, and 10 Cuckoo Marans on the way! The Welcummer and Cuckoo Marans lay really dark brown shelled eggs. Most of our current hens lay light brown shelled eggs, not nearly as dark as the little hens we've got coming! It will be fun to have even more variety!
Life on the farm is as crazy as ever... thanks for enjoying it with us!
PS: Do I see a sneak peek of a Fall/Winter Whipper Snapper stamp on this post!? I do believe I do! *giggle*
If it was possible to have babies coming out our ears, we'd have 'um coming out our ears! Claudie at the post office called us this morning, bright and early, at 6:45am. Our chicks where in! (Hi Claudie!)
So far, every single one of them is doing GREAT! They all look really healthy, eat well, nap well, and cheep well. That's as good as it gets when you're a baby chicken!
We received all 6 of the Buff Orpington chicks we ordered. They're so small and CUTE! It's amazing that something so small will eventually grown into a 10 pound chicken!
We received 3 of the 4 Red Silkies we ordered. They must have been running short on Red Silkies. In this photo, the Silkies are the ones with the the speckles on their heads (top-middle and far left side).
I think because they were short on Silkies, they sent along 7 (instead of 6 like we ordered) Red Frizzles! Oh my GOODNESS both of these breeds are TINY!! I would imagine they're about as big around as a golf ball. And that includes their fluff, too, and their little bodies are a lot smaller under all of that fluff! But they don' t weigh as much as a golf ball, that's for sure!
Because our order didn't fill an entire quarter-box (25 chicks), the hatchery sent along 7 male Araucana chicks for free to help keep the others warm during shipment. They're BEAUTIFUL!! And they'll grow up to be beautiful roosters (they said these are all roosters). Hope they're friendly roosters, and don't cause too much chaos on the farm. These chicks are at least twice the size - maybe even more - than the other chicks we received. And aren't they handsome in their pin striped fuzz?
Alan helped me get a few close-up photos of each breed we received. The lighting is a bit off due to the natural light from the window, the tungsten light from the room lights, and the red lights over the chicks. But you get the general idea.
This is one of the Red Silkies. Silkies have black-tinted skin, so around their eyes, their beaks/nostrils and their legs are all slightly tinted. They also have 5 toes on each foot. Three toes point out front like normal chickens, and then instead of having one tow that points towards the back, they have two that are very close together.
The light colored tip on this baby's beak is it's egg beak. It's a sharp little cap that grows on the tip of every chick's beak so they can more easlily break out of their egg when it's time to hatch. After a couple of days, the little cap pops off and their beak looks normal.
This is one of the Red Frizzle chicks. They're the smallest of all the chicks we ordered. The hens will grow to be less than 2 pounds when they're full grown. Roosters will weigh right about 2 pounds when their full grown. As they start to get their feathers in, we'll be able to see how many of them will have the true Frizzle-dos. I hope they all do! How fun would that be!!
Like the Silkies, and like Cochins, Frizzle chicks have feathers down the length of their leg and on their outside toe. All those feathers make them look like their wearing pantaloons when you see them from the backside!
This is the smallest of the Araucana chicks we received, also known as Americana's. The coloring on them is wonderful! The dark lines around their eyes are very striking. I had to call the hatchery this morning and ask what kind of chicken they were (since they weren't officially part of our order). It will be fun to see these fellas grow! We got three noticeably different color patterns (you can see them in the group photo above).
The Buff Orpington chicks are a nice creamy yellow color. They don't have any outrageous markings, but they'll grow up to be pretty butterscotch colored hens. They are a clean-legged chicken, so they don't have feathers down their legs or on their toes like the Silkies, Frizzles, and Cochins. What fun it is having them all here! Peep PEEP!!
What a fun mail day!
Tonight when Alan and I went out to check on the cows we noticed that Queenie is now showing signs that she may be calving soon. Of course, the signs she's showing are the same signs that Dixie teased us with for 3 weeks before having Dixie Cup. It's perfectly normal for what we're seeing to show as late as 24 hours before delivery, or to show for weeks before delivery (as Dixie proved). I noticed similar signs several nights ago as well. Tonight, things were a little more obvious so we decided to separate Queenie from the rest of the cows.
Alan and I moved Dixie and Cup into the side barnyard, and moved Queenie into the front barnyard where she has access to the barn and she's isolated from all of the other cows. We'll be keeping an extra close eye on her. Last year Queenie lost her baby after less than 12 hours after delivery (for unknown reasons) so we're not taking any chances with her this year. We'll keep you posted as things progress. Let's hope she doesn't keep us waiting as long as Dixie did!
As if another calf joining the farm soon isn't enough excitement, tomorrow morning around 7am we're expecting to get a call from the post office letting us know that our first order of baby chickens has been delivered to the post office. A couple of weeks ago, we (umm, I mean "I") ordered day-old chicks from Ideal Poultry. They shipped today and will be delivered tomorrow morning.
We'll be getting 4 Red Silkie Bantams, 6 Buff Orpington Bantams, and 6 Red Frizzle Cochin Bantams... and whatever else they decide to send along. Sometimes they add extra chicks to small orders for extra warmth during shipment. I borrowed the images below from the Ideal Poultry website to show you what the chickens will look like when they're adults.
Silkies are kind of different from your standard chicken. Instead of having regular feathers, their feathers are very fine, and "silky" like hair. They also have black skin, small combs, five toes on each foot, and turquoise colored earlobes! We haven't had any Silkies here on the farm, and I don't remember raising them when I was a kid, but I've always thought they were really fun! We'll see how they do! They are available in various colors (Red, Black, Buff, Partridge, Blue, Grey and White). I ordered red Silkies from Ideal, and next week will get a couple of buff colored Silkies from McMurray Hatchery when another order arrives.
Buff Orpington Bantams are the kind of chickens my Mom always raises. They lay beautiful brown eggs and are very sweet, gentle chickens. They'll be fun to have around. Hopefully we get mostly hens. I can't remember if I could just order hens, or if I had to order what's called "straight run" which means you could receive male or female, and no set number of either one - just whatever is picked for your order. If we do get "straight run" selection, hopefully we'll get lots of hens who will lay lots of beautiful eggs for us!
The third breed of chicken I ordered from Ideal Poultry is Red Frizzle Cochins. This is another breed we've never had here on the farm, and one that I don't remember raising as a kid. Frizzle chickens have feathers that curl out and forward, making them look like they're standing backwards in the wind ALL of the time! Not all Frizzle chickens have the forward curling feathers, though. According to Ideal Poultry, about 75% of them do have the forward curling feathers, and 25% of them will look fairly "normal" even though they still have the Frizzle gene. I am excited to see if the Frizzles we get have the true "Frizzle" feather-do! They are going to CRACK me UP!!
Should be a fun batch of babies! Next week we have an order from McMurray Hatchery arriving with even more variety of breeds! Wait until you see them! All of this in addition to the turken babies that the hens hatched out this past week. Oh my! Babies, babies everywhere!