The JOB of an chick incubator is to hold an even temperature for 21 days so that a fertilized egg can grow to become a chick. That’s its ONLY job. Seriously, everything else I can do myself, gladly.
My new incubator came with two thermometers — the built-in thermometer has a warning that reads “For Reference Purposes Only." The standalone thermometer has the following dubious message. "Please calibrate this thermometers before using against a thermometer you know to be accurate." WTH? Do they think I keep a calibrated thermometer?
Wow, way to take no responsibility for your system being accurate.
Ironically, or maybe not, the two thermometers don’t agree. The reference thermometer reads 99 - 100 degrees, which should be correct, the inserted thermometer reads only 95 degrees when placed as close to the sensor as possible which is too cool. To make the second read 99-100 degrees, the reference goes to 105 which is too hot.
Now I have to go out and buy another thermometer (or maybe a half dozen) and see if they agree with either of the other two.
I always like when I can find someone to adopt roosters. It’s a tough life being a rooster — hens don’t need you around to lay eggs, and only a few are needed to cover even a big flock if you want to raise chicks. The younger set is always challenging your authority and the hens aren’t always cooperative.
This weekend a friend of mine took four of my boys pictured to cover his hens.
- a flighty Brown Leghorn
- weird Urkle rooster he’s all leg. Leghorn/Cornish cross
- a HUGE Brahma/BSL cross
- a pretty Barred Plymouth Rock/BSL cross
(though he looks weird in the pix)
Ironically, he liked the Urkel rooster best, lol. Urkel does have lovely coloring.
EASTER EGGERS - 6 weeks
These are the last of this year’s crop of chicks. Mostly EE’s and RI Reds, they are just 6 weeks old. The two pictured are among my favorites. The top is buff and blue - really pretty coloring. No muff, no beard. Interested to see what color eggs she lays. The bottom is just a really sweet girl. More classic Ameracauna coloring.
I spent two hours…
I spent two hours this afternoon moving a custom-built chicken coop. And by helping, I mean I stayed out of the way of the hired help while they did the heavy lifting. I did help when they needed an extra set of hands. I’m filthy.
The guy who owned/built the coop is an architect, so the building is solid. He had it in a wonderful place where the chickens had a million-dollar view and where a Large colony of crickets had been feasting on the grain spill-over. A LOT of crickets. If you haven’t read my posts about how much I hate crickets and grasshoppers, I loathe them. They’re my least favorite insect. And that’s saying a lot given the size of the insect world. They were all over me - in my hair, on my shoulder, on my pants leg. Just. No. Ick.
The coop came with 5 hens, not 5 hens that I need, but then again, why not? These poor birds had never been touched and were not at all excited about being captured and held. Chickens when they want to can be very dramatic and LOUD.
This was a challenging move - getting huge HEAVY 4’x8’ and 4’x4’ wooden structures through a 3.5’ gates (well over it eventually), across a small yard of Astroturf™, then more remarkably over a six-foot fence at a cock-eyed angle so as not to not tear off the rain gutters, catch the wire on the gate latch, hit the water meter, or damage the garbage cans lined up on the street side. What an adventure.
Something to keep in mind: Though you’re gung-ho now, sometimes people get over wanting to keep chickens. No one has a good time when the fence has to be dismantled to take the coop out of your yard — least of all you. This took two hours to do. Two hours. Two. Hours. In 90 degree heat. And crickets. And dust. Always dust.
The move was so taxing that the chicken coop is still sitting in the moving van, and will be moved into my yard tomorrow. The hens are in a pen out front. It was dark so they were less vocal coming out of the box. I’ll meet them tomorrow and see what they actually look like when they aren’t freaking out. 2 Barred Rocks, 3 Ameracaunas.
The only perk is that by the end of the move, the guy was done with chickens - so he loaded up our cart with a 50# bag of lay mash, #50 bag of Scratch, #50 bag of oyster shell, big cube of pine shavings and all the food water dishes he’d bought. A pretty nice score.
CHICKS at 3 WEEKS
This is the mid-phase of chickdowm - losing down and growing feathers. The chicks look unkempt and are eating like crazy. It takes a lot of protein to grow feathers.
The top chick is buff and “blue” gray - I’m curious to see how she turns out. The bottom chick will likely end up an Ameracauna with an orange head and will look nothing like the chick she started out to be.
Yes, #Monkeyfrog - gangly teenage years, indeed! :)
Random Thought #4
I’m sitting in the room with the 2 week old chicks. They are losing their down and growing feathers already, boy they grow fast. I filled up their food dish with a new chick starter that is powdery. The chicks rather than eating it, are taking dust baths in it. o_0
The braver birds have discovered my flatbread pizza. it There’s s a little piece left that has thinly sliced grape tomatoes on top, and they try to steal a slice without my noticing. However, as soon as they work it loose, they run off shrieking and the entire flock follows them.
RHODE ISLAND RED CHICKS
I have ‘em. The Rhode Island Red is the state bird of Rhode Island. They were originally bred in Adamsville, a village which is part of Little Compton, Rhode Island — which is where my chicken keeping friend’s husband hails from. They are prolific layers of brown eggs, and are cute as heck as chicks. The can be bossy adults so I have avoided them historically since i have a wussy flock, but recently I’ve thrown caution to the wind.
TT - Chickens
- My mystery bantam with the broken leg drowned in the toilet earlier this week. I forgot to put the toilet seat down. Now I understand how hard it is for men to remember. Sheesh! Completely my fault. I feel awful about it. She deserved a better life / less bizarre death.
- I’ve got more buyers than I have eggs these days. I’m considering adding to my flock and weighing that against exponentially increasing my “Crazy Chicken Lady” status.
- I adopted a blue Silkie Rooster last week, he’s awfully pretty but I didn’t need another rooster. At. All. He’d been hiding in the back corner of his pen since I brought him home. Today, I opened the door and let him out. Wow, he’s a happy camper now. Almost a different bird. Also, beautiful!
- On a roll, I let the other caged birds in the same pen out as well. The Sultan Rooster, the Addled hen, everyone. I expected mad fighting, it didn’t happen.
- Sometimes you move birds around and you think it will be a good fit, and it’s a out-and-out slug fest, other times, like today, you are hesitant and things go great. I seem to have gotten lucky.
- I had Bantam Mottled Cochins in a small pen up off the ground. They just didn’t have the life I wanted for them. I moved out the aggressive Nankin Roo out, and moved the Bantam Cochins in. As soon as the Nankin was gone, a calm settled over the pen and when last I checked — Silkie, Sultan, Cochins — everyone was napping together and singing kumbayah. Can’t ask for better results than that. :)
- The two Nankin Roos are now together again, living with half-grown Delaware and Salmon Faverolle chicks. The chicks can hold their own against the roosters now and will dominate them when they are grown. The Roos seem happy to be surrounded by a dozen beautiful, young chicks. Typical males. :)
- Is it Friday yet?
I’ve got my eye on you - Barnevelder pullet (12 weeks)
Still a surprise breed. I didn’t choose them, they came in an assortment I ordered. Everything I read upon their arrival stated that they are a flighty breed but I have not found that to be the case. The half dozen chicks I have are friendly and curious.
They are coming along nicely, the black in their feathers is glinting an iridescent green and purple now, and the brown and black chevrons on their feathers are starting to develop into double lacing. If all goes well, they will be handsome birds and will lay lots of brown eggs.
I’m Lovin these chicks…
The two birds on the right are my 10 week old Bramha / Ameracauna crosses. They are getting to be so pretty. They have the size, coloring and marking of their Mama (a Light Brahma and a Buff Brahma respectively) and share the same baby Daddy - my Ameracauna rooster. Neither has the Brahma’s feathered legs, but the white bird has the willow green legs that are common on Ameracaunas and both are growing the typical Ameracauna muff and beard. Yay! Since they are mixed breed, they would now be considered Easter Eggers, but since the Brahmas lay brown eggs and Ameracaunas lay aqua eggs, there’s a chance they will lay olive colored eggs…well, if they are indeed hens. :)
The bird on the left is a Danish Brown Leghorn mix. They were all hatched on the same day. The Leghorn looks tiny in comparison.
Size, it’s a thing…Since they posed so perfectly, I took a quick shot to show the size difference between a Bantam and a Standard sized chicken at 9 weeks. These two birds hatched on the same day — he’s a Bantam Welsummer Rooster (this breed lays chocolate brown eggs) and she’s a Standard Brown Leghorn Hen (this breed lays white eggs).
Note: A standard Brown Leghorn rooster will be larger than than the hen pictured. A bantam Welsummer hen is smaller than the rooster pictured.
ONE MORE Chicken Genetics
Top: 2 day old Chick
2nd: Same chick at 8 weeks
3rd: Likely Mom - Ameracauna hen (2nd from left)
4th: Likely Dad - Danish Brown Leghorn Rooster
When I received hatchery chicks this spring and I didn’t know what any of the breeds were - trying to ID them was a bitch. Many chicks start out with chipmunk striping— which provides camouflage in the wild. in fact both the hen and the rooster were similar looking striped chicks though they are of different breeds.
The chicken in the top two photos is the same bird, the two below that are her likely parents. The hen lays green eggs, the rooster is a white egg breed. I’m hoping for pale green eggs.
The patterning on the back of the Ameracauna hens is called duckwing patterning. I don’t have a lot of this in my flock and hope it comes through in some of the chicks as I dig it. In this bird the color is muted by the genes of the rooster.
1st: Week-old Chick
2nd: 8 week old pullet
3rd: Hen (Mom)
4th: Roo (Dad)
One of my hens hatched out 10 eggs at the end of May. Trying to figure out who is the offspring of which hen and which rooster, has been an interesting challenge that I have never had before. This pairing is among the easiest of the bunch - The Mom was a light Brahma (which gave her her coloring), the Dad an Ameracauna (which gave her willow green legs). If this is a hen, and I hope it is, then she may lay olive green eggs which would be cool. Brahmas are slow to mature and both Brahma and Ameracauna breeds have been slow to grow combs. I could feather sex her but I’m not too good at that yet. So for now fingers crossed.
BANTAM MOTTLED COCHIN - hen & roo
Among the Assortment of chicks I received from Meyer Hatchery were 20 birds that were leftovers in the incubator at the end of the day. Among these mystery birds are Bantam Mottled Cochins — soft-ball sized balls of fluff with big furry feet. They are little clowns, with tons of personality. While the rest of the chicks have grown out their initial feathers - these guys are slower to mature and still have quite a bit if down.
When I sit in their pen, they fly up and sit on my knees.