Sunday, March 29, 2015

Fun With Chickens, Peewee Edition

So you know, ya just can't take chick pics without messing with them a little bit.

So out come the props.  First is a little metal truck that held goodies at Christmastime.  Once we realized what a great chick prop it would make we had to hang on to it, of course.

There's no way it could have held all 22.

Eureka seized the opportunity to live up to the Chicken Mantra and got her head momentarily caught in the thing.  Luckily she wasn't hurt.

Jimmy and Toaster are suspicious of whatever the Hell this thing is.

...but were even less pleased with the cupcake liner ballerina skirts.

'What...what am I--?  A turkey?!'

'OK, so I'm either a turkey or a peacock.  Screw it.'

Blossom (on the left) and Tuxedo accepted theirs a bit more gracefully, although Blossom was giving me stinkeye strong enough to peel paint.

Yeeaahhh...there it is.

Chick Pics!

Well, here they are, all 22.  We tried something new with the ReptiPro this year and ran two hatches simultaneously, staggered one week apart.  Since I have to open the ReptiPro 5 times a day to vent CO2 and allow fresh O2 in, the traditional 'lockdown' that you have to do with the tabletop styrofoam incubators (where opening the unit for the last 3 days of incubation is absolutely forbidden) isn't needed.

The only problem I ran into was the temperature difference within the unit--heat rises, so the top of the incubator would be warmer than the bottom (where you place eggs the final three days of incubation).  Trying to keep the temps even throughout the unit so that the eggs on top didn't get too hot and the ones on the bottom too cold, turned out to be difficult and fussy.  Both hatches suffered and we had a higher number of eggs that were either early quitters (dying within 7-10 days of incubation) and late quitters (chicks dying or having profound birth defects at day 18 of incubation).  I also had a higher number of chicks that I had to assist (4) at hatch time.  So I won't be running two hatches at the same time in the same incubator again, but it was worth it to find out if it worked...technically it did, but just was not the optimum way to go.

But the chicks that we did get seem healthy and happy!  Some of the chicks have food color spots of blue, green or red on them in different places to help us keep track of who's who.  Although in retrospect, giving the chicks strawberries to eat just before I took pictures wasn't the best idea--so pardon the strawberry on their faces.

Starting with the 3/19-3/20 Hatch A, 9 chicks.  Here they are in order of hatch, strawberries and all:

The first 5 chicks are from eggs laid by our flock.
 Ninja, a buff bantam with a faint grey back stripe.

Jimmy, a little black and white bantam, again sporting vulture hocks so at least part Belgian d'Uccle.

Snakefast, probably had Alice, a Barred Rock for mama. No leg feathers.

Eureka, who is also growing vulture hocks so is part Belgian d'Uccle.

Ham, a very large chick hatched from a standard-sized egg, but surprise--!  Has vulture hocks so has Bloop the MilleFleur Belgian d'Uccle rooster for a dad!  I suspect that one of the light Brahma girls is mom.  I admire Bloop's dedication--it reminds me of a tall friend I have that says, 'I'm tall but I'm worth the climb!'

The last 4 chicks in Hatch A were all hatched from eggs that I ordered online, the breeds of their mamas vary but all had a partridge Silkie roo named Bill for a daddy.
Blossom, a very pretty chick!

Blossom has very interesting head markings.

Here Kitty Kitty.

Kitty was vocal in her displeasure of picture time.

Tuxedo, clearly a sister of Blossom.

Tuxedo really enjoyed the strawberries.

Theodore Roostervelt, who has such a pernicious case of poopybutt that the kid has taken to calling her Theodore Poosterbutt.

But at least this end of Theo is cute.

Hatch B, 13 chicks that hatched 3/26-3/27, all from our flock.  Again in order of hatch.

Toaster, a little bantam.  Mama was a bantam, but with that tell-tale Americaunas back stripe, daddy was one of the big roos.

Diane, who has no leg feathers.

Pluffy, another bantam with an Americaunas mix daddy.

Chicken Pox, an Americaunas mix who was named by our favorite Kindergarten class in Georgia!


Sushi, hatched from an Americaunas egg but a very tiny chick.  She was being an uncooperative butt during picture time and applying some Grade A stinkeye to me.

Tingle, a very pretty chick who hatched from such a large egg that I originally thought it might be a double-yolker.



Seagoat, hatched from an egg laid by Jellybean, our half-Kraienkoppe hen.

Kevin, mama was one of the gray Giant Cochin ladies.

Sprinkles, mama was an Americaunas.

Buttercup (and yes, this makes the PowerPuff Girls complete)

As they grow, feather out and get their combs/wattles, they will be easier to tell apart and we'll be able to forgo the food color spots.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Banty Adventures & Bad Puns

Today the afternoon quiet was ended when we heard the entire flock yelling like it was the end of the damned world.

What it actually was, was the entire flock flock ratting out Shake, a tiny bantam Belgian d'Uccle hen who was being adventurous and got herself stuck...
...on the roof of the chicken run.  She had everyone freaked out.

Never underestimate the ability of a chicken to get itself spectacularly into trouble.  The Chicken Mantra rings true once again.

But I have to say, she didn't look happy about her situation.

She got a thorough scolding and was helped off the roof and back onto the ground.  Also, we moved the trash can which she'd used to climb up there on.

As long as we were out there, I got a few more pictures.
Look, it's Pumpkin Pie! *snort*

And here is that large Burger, small Shake and Fries you ordered!

Burger?  Shake?  Fries?  Get it...?
 OK, not amused.  Some chickens have no sense of humor...

Friday, March 27, 2015

Chickam 2015 Chick Lineup!

Hatch A, 9 Chicks
Listed In Order Of Hatch
#40  Ninja--buff Bantam
#39  Jimmy--black Bantam with buff bib/belly
#31  Snakefast--black Americaunas mix with silver
#33  Eureka--buff Americaunas mix with brown/gray back stripe, large with fluffy cheeks, feathered feet
#34  Ham--large buff Americaunas mix, feathered feet, vulture hocks.
#10  Blossom--beautiful stripey black-buff-brown Easter Egger/Silkie, 5 toes
#9  Here Kitty Kitty--buff with dark back stripe Silkie mix, 5 toes
#11  Tuxedo--Dark with a silver/brown belly, very fluffy, Easter Egger/Silkie, 5 toes
#6  Theodore Roostervelt--reddish-gold with a dark back stripe, Silkie mix, feathred feet, 5 toes green spot on right thigh.
Hatch B, 13 Chicks
Listed In Order Of Hatch
#60  Toaster--buff bantam with grey back & head stripes
#51  Diane—large blond chick, fluffy face, smooth leg
#59  Pluffy—Brown-red/grey bantam, fluffy face
#47  Chicken Pox—Pretty reddish-brown Americaunas, blue spot right thigh, named by kinders
#52  Bubbles—very large blond with fluffy face, feathered feet, reddish head, dark wing spots, small dark head stripe, green spot on back
#48  Sushi—black bantam with silver-grey belly
#57  Tingle—Very large reddish-blond with dark backstripe, green spot on left thigh
#54  Tikka—large blonde with a thin dark headstripe, blue spot left thigh
#56  Cluckadorkle—large blond with a hint of red, faint grey head/backstripe, feathered feet, red spot on back
#62  Seagoat—Krainkoppe mix, reddish-brown, feathered feet
#55  Kevin—gray Giant Cochin, red head, feathered feet
#50  Sprinkles—smallish red-blond-grey Americaunas
#53  Buttercup—large blond, blue spot on back

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring On The 395

Yet another trip down good ol' highway 395, one of my favorite drives!

It's Spring and the flowers are blooming!  High desert wildflowers are gorgeous, and the bloom extends for miles.

Don't know what these yellow things were, but the plants had pods.

Dainty little blue flowers.

They all thrive right alongside the highway.

I stopped at the 'Give & Take' sculpture garden near Olancha like always, this little pink paper airplane with 'Allow room to grow' written on it was my mascot the rest of the trip.

The dirt road leading to the sculpture garden has a fun joshua tree on it, it reminds me very much of Poof, my Polish hen, right down to the head crest.  It's even standing up tall and flapping!

...then as you drive by it, you see that's it's actually two joshua trees.  The fun optical illusion is only visible from a specific angle.

Spring in the Owens Valley also means bugs, lots and lots of them.  They get stuck to the front of your car...

...so that every time you stop for gas or anything else., the local sparrows and other birds zip down and glean their lunch from the front of your car. It's very funny to watch the birds hopping from car to car, shopping for their food in a very discerning way.  Inter-species dependence!