Quickwitter



Apr 24

@VASOLINEJESUS, new crop of chicks pick one!

Hey, you want a chicken? You got it. This is the latest crop of chicks. With three you get egg-roll. I’ll even throw in Little Doukey the Jackass Rooster. Tiny, but completely an annoying little ankle pecker.

Apr 24

She caved

The bakery owner has agreed to status quo. Our original agreement stands - straight price for 12 eggs.

Hopefully we can now put this behind us. It was seriously, a small amount of cost we were bickering over, but for me it’s the principle of the thing. I felt like if I gave in to this demand, there would be others whittling away at the cost.

Trust me, no one ever got rich selling eggs. The cost of feed, housing, care, etc for chickens, then figuring in the three-month time off laying for molting and recharging, the errant broody hen, the older hen that stops laying, the hens that fall prey to predators, the ones that die (or drown), hens with chicks…it’s not as easy as it sounds.

I raise hens cause I dig them. They are tiny goofball dinosaurs in feathered costumes, more reptile than not. They require some care but are more like cats…make sure they have food and water and they’ll waddle around doing their own thing. Hold still long enough and they will see if you are edible. My cousin, an Omnivore raised in a household of Macrobiotic Vegetarians used to claim that he was an “Opportunarian” and I can’t think of a better word for chickens.

I deliver 5-7 flats (30 eggs per flat) 2-3 times a week to the bakery during the high season which runs from March until September - October. Then it drops off rather sharply, and I get 1 flat if I’m lucky every day or so until Spring…

Thanks again for your responses.

Apr 06

BLUE COCHIN HEN & CHICKS

This Blue Cochin is one of my favorite birds. Named Bonsai in honor of my friend Al (an avid gardener), they share the same birthday. She was a tidy broody mama and did me a favor by rolling the eggs out of the nest and piling them up by the door for easy removal as she decided to let them go. So far, she’s been great with the 4 babies she hatched out — a Blue Cochin, a Delaware, a Salmon Faverolles, and a Leghorn/Brahma cross.

TOP PHOTO: The mama hen will call the chicks over and pick up food for them then drop it for the babies to eat. In the top shot you can see the grain dropping (by the white chick’s foot)

BOTTOM PHOTO: In the lower shot the hen is digging with her foot, and the orange chick now has the grain in her mouth.The two closest chicks to the ground probably have their eyes closed given the amount of dust Mama’s foot will churn up.

The gray chick facing away is another blue Cochin, I am super-excited that the Mama’s genes came through on that one, the rooster is a Buff Brahma.

Mar 29

naimhe, Oh I was PLENTY pissed off and went the canyon FB page to let people know. Everyone jumped on board and was up in arms. It will be an issue at the next community meeting. These are many of my egg customers btw. We live in an oak forest, there is very little that grows in the shade of live oaks, and maybe a strip 6’ wide by 25’ long that could be left to grow or taken out with a weed whacker, shovel, etc. This is a sandstone canyon so removing plants is super easy. Keeping predators from digging under a fence however, nearly impossible. Even electrified.

Mar 28

MEANWHILE BACK AT THE FARM…
The top green egg is your basic extra large egg, the smaller is a new laying hen egg - a Salmon Faverolles hen, and the ginormous egg is a double yolker, and one of the biggest I’ve seen. All three eggs were laid in the same nest today.

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MEANWHILE BACK AT THE FARM…

The top green egg is your basic extra large egg, the smaller is a new laying hen egg - a Salmon Faverolles hen, and the ginormous egg is a double yolker, and one of the biggest I’ve seen. All three eggs were laid in the same nest today.

Mar 27

Truthful Thursday

  • Two of my roosters got into a fight. It was quick and I thought it was just posturing, but no…Blood EVERYWHERE. Both appear to be surviving the ordeal. Not sure where to put the loser in the fight. He’s currently in the bath tub. This is a temporary fix

  • The mama hen that was doing so well, abandoned her chick and it’s struggling — hard. It made it two days in the brooder and is now near death back in the incubator. Heartbreaking. Other abandoned eggs are hatching as we speak. Amazing that they survived.

  • My sister wants to put my Dad in an assisted living facility that is $11K a month. That’s $132K a year or more. Though he thinks he’s Daddy Warbucks, that’s the dementia speaking. I don’t know what she could possibly be thinking. I think she must be smoking crack. No one I know is paying more than $5K and in that case it’s a husband/wife both. This is Western Mass for God sake.

  • Tomorrow 40 chicks go to a new home and 365 pounds of organic red wheat come home in return. Great for foddering. Also 7 flats (210 eggs) head to the bakery.

  • In the last message from my Dad he threatened to break my arm, egged on by my sister. Now she wants a restraining order against me, (or court mandated calls), as I don’t call Dad often enough. He’s only awake the hours I’m at work.

  • I worked 10 hours today, and man was I cranky at the end of the day when I realized that:
    A) my boss went home midday as his kids are on spring break
    B) the account manager for the job left early to buy a birthday cake
    C) the client left early as she has an event tomorrow night in San Diego
    …so even if I finish the job, no one can sign off on it…

    Everything still needs to be completed and printed still. The crate ships in the AM for Canada and what makes it inside will go, everything else will be carried…the restis for a Vegas show next week, that crate ships Tuesday and they have shopped the job so much that now no one can do it in time to make the crate… Grr.

Mar 14

DARK BRAHMA ROO
This tiny rooster realized that he could crow this morning. This was taken just after he crowed for the first time. I like that he looks a little puzzled. He’s still warming up his vocal cords, but now from the safe distance of the greenhouse. Youngest rooster to crow that I’ve ever had. And Brahmas tend to mature slowly. Yikes, lol.

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DARK BRAHMA ROO

This tiny rooster realized that he could crow this morning. This was taken just after he crowed for the first time. I like that he looks a little puzzled. He’s still warming up his vocal cords, but now from the safe distance of the greenhouse. Youngest rooster to crow that I’ve ever had. And Brahmas tend to mature slowly. Yikes, lol.

Mar 14

Five for Friday - Chick Edition

  1. Chicks - I’m knee deep in ‘em
    65 replacement arrives this AM
    30 hatched out for a friend
    3 broody hens on at least a dozen each (1 on 30)
    36 eggs in the incubator set to hatch this weekend (i hear cheeping!)

  2. One of the groups of chicks I brought in carried Mycoplasma Gallisepticum, it may have been from the hatchery, or from one of three farms I’m in contact with. It spread through my flock like crazy. Most likely I was the carrier from pen to pen. I’ve treated everyone large and small, and hope that’s the end of it. Birds dying, getting infected eyes, gross. Man, that’s tough!

  3. I have three broody hens - one of them has moved her nest a half dozen times, rolling into the new nest only the eggs she chooses to bring along. Currently, she is in the bathtub, a poor location but I needed to move her in case I could get her adopt chicks. Nope, she wanted nothing to do with them. She wasn’t aggressive, just distainful like I had a lot of nerve to even suggest it…shessh. Of course, it’s not as if she hasn’t been selective all along. What was I thinking?

  4. You have baby chicks and they are immeasurable tiny and frail. After a few days you get new baby chicks and suddenly the previously tiny chicks are huge. It’s hard to wrap your mind around how quickly these things grow and how tiny they are to start…

  5. I had a fifth nattering about birds but I just received a call that one of my co-workers was let go. Actually, the one that was the reason I accepted the job. He will land on his feet, if he hasn’t already, and do well. HUGE passion for photo shop, digital marketing and somewhat visionary in terms of the big picture. I’ll miss him. He has freelance clients already so I’m assuming that this will be a pretty easy transition for him and a plus for them.

Mar 09

SUNDAY VISITOR
Earlier this afternoon, my older Great Pyr puppy was barking and when I went out to see what was going on, I spotted the big, beautiful bobcat on the hill that had set her off. By the time I grabbed the camera, it had ambled off. A few minutes ago, she barked again, and thinking the bobcat was back, I rushed out with my camera to discover this beauty hunting for gophers on the hill about 100 feet from my fence.

SUNDAY VISITOR

Earlier this afternoon, my older Great Pyr puppy was barking and when I went out to see what was going on, I spotted the big, beautiful bobcat on the hill that had set her off. By the time I grabbed the camera, it had ambled off. A few minutes ago, she barked again, and thinking the bobcat was back, I rushed out with my camera to discover this beauty hunting for gophers on the hill about 100 feet from my fence.

Mar 04

TT #2 - Da Puppy and Da Chickens

I’m not at all sure that this newest puppy isn’t killing the chickens. If she is, I may have to find her a new home. She’s a total sweetheart otherwise, much more affectionate than her sister ever has been. But STUBBORN. She will not come when called. And both dogs are really weird around food…and the cat.

I don’t know how much of this is that I’m not home as much as I have been in the past when I was raising puppies, and how much would happen any way. Also, it’s my first time with Great Pyrenees and they are unlike any other breed I’ve spent time with. They are mixes, so that might be a factor too.

Last night someone attacked a Salmon Faverolles hen, she’s missing feathers but seems okay otherwise. Traumatized, but okay.

Time will tell.

Anyway, I’m not entirely sure that it’s her…but I have my suspicions.

As an aside, I put the hen in with a couple of little chicks and one immediately jumped on her back nestled in and went to sleep. Hatchery chicks, they are hard wired animals, they know a mama hen, even if they have never seen a grown hen before. It’s amazing really. The hen could easily kill the chick, but she’s kind of adopted it, so far.

Again, Time will tell.

Feb 25

Chick Hatchery is Ideal Poultry

Lost 65 of 81 chicks. Ideal is replacing them for me. They have been irritated by how long the claim has been going on, but I didn’t want to settle the matter while chicks were still dying in droves. This morning there was only one dead baby. But some of the remaining don’t seem all that vigorous.

Feb 17

APPENZELLER SPITZHAUBEN - or Silver Spangled Spitzhauben (©Poultrysite.com)

Among my favorite of the new chicks is the Appenzeller Spitzhauben — a breed of chicken originating in Appenzell region of Switzerland. The Appenzeller comes in two varieties. Mine are the Spitzhauben, meaning “pointed hood” (which comes from the frilly hat worn by the women in the Appenzeller region in Switzerland.

Brought to America by a doctor who successfully introduced the breed. It has a V-comb and feather crests in both hens and roosters. The bird is either white (mine) or gold and come with black spangling — so they are also called Gold / Silver Spangled Spitzhaubens.

Today the breed is largely an ornamental one kept primarily for showing, but they also lay a respectable quantity of white eggs. This is a light chicken, with hens weighing an average of 3.5 lbs (1.6 kg) and roosters 4.5 lbs (2 kg). Behaviorally, it is a flighty breed that doesn’t do well in confinement, can forage well, and will roost in trees if given the opportunity. In North America, it is very rare breed and is recognized officially by neither the American Poultry Association or other breed registries. The silver spangled Spitzhauben [shown] is the most common variety found abroad.

Though there is no standard in North America, the UK does recognize the breed and accepts it as a standardized breed. There is, however, a push in the United States for the Spitzhauben to be recognized by the American Poultry Association.

Feb 16

CREAM BRABANTERS

My chicks top, a gorgeous adult ©Showmesilkies I’m hoping to have a couple with light beards like this one, many have a black beard.

The Brabanter is a Dutch breed of chicken originating in the historic region of Brabant which straddles Belgium and the Netherlands. In a few paintings from the 1670s by Dutch artist Melchior d’Hondecoeter, appear what would seem to be Brabanters. The original form of the Brabanter nearly went extinct in the early 20th century. The few remaining birds were interbred with their close relative, the Dutch Owlbeard, and the breed was recreated by 1920. credit: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brabanter

Feb 01

SAT 6 FOR HATCHING DAY!

  1. 7 chicks hatched overnight! More pipping…I hope to get 20 total.

  2. 2 chicks were even from the incubator that was unplugged.
  3. There will be photos. Shut up, all chicks do not look the same.

  4. I have to remind myself, I’M NOT KEEPING THESE CHICKS. 

  5. Still, I’ve been trying to figure out what the chick’s parentage is. They are first generation from my flock - so my roosters, my hens. I can’t squelch that biology-phile part of me that is fascinated with genetics. 

  6. I have chicks arriving on Friday THAT I PURCHASED. Seriously, I know chicks are like potato chips but one has to eventually stop eating them. Right?! Right? right? sigh.

  7. BAWK. How’s your Saturday going?

Jan 31

Incubators, you’re killing me!

I came home tonight to two frigid chicks and a 70 degree incubator. Just as a reference, below 100 degrees, chicks die. The chicks were still alive however and I rushed them under the heater in a brooding pen.

I came back and discovered that the power strip was off. I turned it back on — I believe the dogs turned it off by stepping on it as they wreaked mayhem on a couple of hens that probably wandered into the house looking for food. The dogs bashed the back door open, leaving them a way in. There was poop everywhere and I’m down a few birds — no remains or anything — which is weird. Nonetheless, NOT what one wants to come home to after a 12-hour day at work.

The secondary incubator, in the utility room had two chicks already hatched out and a bunch that were pipping - that’s chicken talk for breaking through the shell. Hatching is a chore. Each chick is born with an egg “tooth” which allows them to cut around the diameter of an egg and pop off the top. Then they drag their sorry asses out, where they flop onto the tarmac (as it were) and rest. Then little by little they dry off and become the cute chicks you see in photos. That can take several hours. or a day, maybe two.

There’s still a LOT that can go wrong.

There are chicks cheeping in both incubators, so who knows what will hatch. The eggs in the main incubator were cold to the touch, and I assumed that they were all dead, but maybe not, as there is chirping tonight coming from a life within. We’ll see.

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