Friday, March 30, 2012

MamaPalooza, or Spring is Busting Out All Over!

Ok, so you already know about the three different brooders full of 4 different ages of chicks.  But I didn't tell you that on top of that, there are ducklings shortly arriving.  I had ordered them back in January, and they ship on April 9th.  I may need that box built after all?  In addition to that, how about this for why my hands are full? 

I have not one,
Ginger, who looks like she's resting but was actually yelling at me from underneath her wing
but two, TWO broody geese setting on clutches,

Maybelle, who doesn't yell, but hisses and then hides her face
One broody hen who cannot be convinced to give it up,

Broody Black Copper Maran hen who desperately wants a family
and a pregnant cat, who is about ready to pop!

Way more pregnant than this Ellie, who is due next week
Holy moly!  It's spring, all right.  And we are just multiplying like crazy here. 

Ginger:  As you might remember, she sat down on the 16th.  She had 7 goose eggs under her (all hers), which would not be fertile, as she's never mated anymore, due to her injury.  I removed all of her eggs and put 4 duck eggs under her.  They've since been candled and 3 out of the 4 were coming along well.  She continues to set.  She's currently on week two of her broody period.  She has since laid one more egg that is under her, which I will remove for the same reason as above, but I have to get near the nest to do so.  She hasn't been easy to cope with this time around.  She's been VERY protective, and I have the beak marks to prove it.

Maybelle:  I have no idea when she sat down in earnest.  I noticed she wasn't out as much last week, but I don't know what day.  When I went to look for her finally, I found her crammed on a hole she had dug in the goose house (smart).  Her nest was formed and FULL of down, which means she was serious.  As she didn't give me a hard time like Ginger, I was able to reach under her and see what she had.  She was setting on 9 goose eggs-a combination of hers and Arthur's girls'.

Doing their best ladle impressions
I candled the eggs, and almost all of them were fertile, or some were too new for anything to be seen.  Oh hell, I don't need 9 more geese, so I disposed of them.  I put a few duck eggs under her too, but didn't write down when.  Did I feel guilty throwing the eggs out?  Yep, but I'd feel worse with 15 geese running around, that's for damn sure.  Maybelle has hardly gotten up, which is why the food and water bowls are next to her.  I don't want her starving to death to be a mama.  I have no idea how long she has to go. 

Broody Hen:  Last week, this hen was setting in a box at beak-check time at night.  When I stooped down to see if she was ok, she growled at me.  I laughed, reached under her, and took whatever it was she was sitting on.  None of the eggs were hers.  I figured if she wasn't serious, this ought to break her of it.  Next night, same thing.  Next night, well, you know.  Same thing for a good week, each time she was setting in the nest at beak-check, each time on whatever egg was laid there, and sometimes on no egg at all.  Each time she growled and fluffed.  I finally noticed (duh) that she'd pulled her feathers out of her breast, so she meant business.   Being tired of having her warm up any egg that happened to appear there in her quest to be a mama, I put an egg under her.  She's setting on Hoppy's last egg.  Let's see what she makes of it. 

Ellie:  Ah, Ellie.  Ellie has been a complete mush lately, more so than normal.  Ellie has been tired, and I can't blame her.  Ellie is almost more horizontal than she is vertical.  Ellie's babies kick when you put your hand on her tummy.  Last night as she sat next to me it looked like they were running relay races, for goodness sake.  Ellie has been (to my mind) looking for a nice place to, as my son says, lay her babies.  Ellie (I think) is due next week.  Ellie could be due tomorrow, for all I know.  I am definitely keeping an eye on Ellie.

We are busting at the seams right now, so I've had to create a place to keep track of this stuff.  Behold, the baby tracking center!

Thank goodness for old plywood and chalkboard paint, printable calendars and old Sprite bottles, or this would never have happened.  The calendar keeps track of the week everyone is on.  The chalkboard is for the at-a-glance stuff and reminders, because I'm lazy.  The board's not even full yet, because I haven't written down Ginger or Maybelle's info.  Or Ellie's, though she tends to stay more forward in my mind.  And somehow, in the midst of all of this excitement, I've got to get the seedlings ready and the garden started. 

All I can say is, if I've gone insane before this is over, now you know why.  The paperwork ALONE is enough to keel me over!  Jiminy!
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The Meatballs Take Over and the Class Chicks Come Home

The Meatballs are nearing three weeks of age--three weeks only--and they are already GIGANTIC.  Mutant chickens?  I think so.  They each weigh over a pound already.  They were previously sharing brooder space with the three egg layers--the two Welsummer chicks and Persnickety.  The brooder is 4 foot on a side, so I had divided it down the middle with some extra lumber, giving them a roughly 2x4 foot section apiece.  It was fine for a while, but no more.  The Meatballs have taken over the whole space.

Nom nom nom!
Now they seem a little happier.  Before they just layed around and ate and drank.  Now they lay around, eat and drink and pretend to fight with one another.  I take that as a good sign.  It's chickeny behavior, at least.

Their takeover meant I only had the 2x2 brooder left, which was reserved for the classroom chicks.  Where to put Persnickety and the girls?  I had to make-do.

In case you can't tell, that's a child's sandbox that wasn't being used, being turned into a makeshift brooder--complete with lazy cat.  I was going to build another box, and I may still have to, but for now, this works.   They have lots of room, can perch on the edges, which they love, and they still stay warm.  Luckily, they are pretty well-feathered at this point, so they don't need as much direct heat as they used to.  They can stand under the light to warm up, if need be.  So that worked out well.

And the classroom chicks?  Well, the five of them came home today and were put in the 2x2 brooder.  They seemed slightly surprised, but they're just fine.

What the.....?

The kids were very disappointed I had to take them home, but they need to be cared for where I can watch them, and school is just no place for them--though they may have enjoyed learning fractions, I don't know.  However, they did name the chicks before I took them--Fuji, Bingo, Midnight Ninja, Underchick and Van Leuven (that's after their teacher)--and I did get to explain what would happen to them next.  I promised the teacher I would send a picture in once a month so they could see how they grow.  They have a fine life ahead of them.

This was a nice experience all around.  I think the kids got a lot out of it, I loved sharing my love and knowledge of animals with them, and the teacher was very thankful.  In fact, I got some of the nicest thank you's from this project, and I'll cherish them.  The teacher wrote in a card for me :
"Thank you for helping to bring a love and respect for life and learning into our classroom this spring".

Isn't that nice?  I thought so.  And yesterday a TA stopped by the classroom I was in and told me how excited she was to tell her family about the chicks--it was just like being a little kid, she said, explaining to them how she saw the chick hatch (she caught one just as it popped out of the shell on Tuesday) and then how soft and warm they are.  She thanked me for showing her that and said my knowledge and time is what made it all possible.  I was beyond touched.  It made it feel like it was all truly worthwhile.

Ah, it's all good.  Anyway, back here at Chicken Scratch, I've got my hands full.  Want to know why?  Here's the rest of the story!

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Thursday, March 29, 2012

From Three to Five

The class project pretty much ended yesterday.  Out of 24 eggs, 5 hatched.  Four out of the five hatches were from Chicken Scratch.  Only one of the eggs that were bought from somewhere else hatched.  That's pretty bad, so I was glad that the mutts pulled through to make the total higher. 

Go Chicken Scratch Mutts!!  WOo hoo!

Four little chicken blobs

The fifth little chicken blob--seemingly being anti-social
In all fairness, one of the mutts isn't.  It actually looks like out of the melange of genetics that went in the incubator, one is actually a full Black Copper Maran.  How we managed that, I have no idea.  Yes, I have the hens and yes, I have the rooster (Peter!), but who woulda thought they'd actually get together?  Most of the time it's a free-for-all out there.  Craziness.

Out of the other 3 mutts, two look just like Persnickety, and one is red.  With a beard.  I have no idea what that's about.  It's going to be interesting to see how that one turns out.

They come home tomorrow.  All in all, I think the kids had a great experience with it--they were a little disappointed at the low hatch rate, but in truth, the incubator went unattended over the weekends, and it did go dry a couple of times.  On top of that, I couldn't vouch for the health of anyone's flock other than my own.  But try explaining that to a large group of 10 year olds.  Either way, I hope they learned a lot.  As for me, I learned that home grown is the best way to go.  I've got some fertile chickens out thar!
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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Peter's Near Death Experience

I have a story for you which I was hesitant to share.  It shows life here in a dimmer light, and shows a mistake I made (or nearly made).  However, the truth is that farm life is not all light and baby ducks and happy bubbles.  Yes, there are very good things about it, but there are very bad things about it as well, and some of our own doing.  With this in my mind for the last few days, I stumbled upon a post by Ben Hewitt, who I read from time to time.  Though I don't think I'd ever write quite the same words, he definitely touched upon what's been going on here and it really struck a chord with the story I was trying to decide whether or not to tell.  It helped me decide, so here's the story.

Sunday was a day like any other.  It was nice outside, and I was working in the garden, prepping for planting.  The chickens were doing what they always do, walking around the yard and pooing and scratching and doing chicken things.  If you remember Peter the rooster, he's the one who is such a problem, attacking people and being obnoxious.  My son is the one who is bothered the most by Peter.  Peter sees him as the littlest, I guess, and goes after him constantly, so my son has taken to carrying a stick around with him at all times.  This is not something I want.  Peter has also taken to attacking me, and that's not something I will tolerate.  So truly, Peter has to go.  It's just been a matter of a time for him to do so. 

On Sunday, Peter attacked my son again, and pecked him pretty hard on the hand.  My son was very upset and wanted Peter gone NOW.  As I've not been thrilled with Peter's behavior lately either, I said ok and got ready to do the deed.  Peter was caught and separated from the flock.  I got the knife out and got my husband to hold him, and took Peter out into the woods a little ways, to put him head down on a dead tree.  My plan was to quickly and humanely slit his throat, let him bleed out, and then bury him---both my children were adamant that they WOULD NOT eat Peter.

It was great in theory--if you can call taking a life great, which I do not.  Necessary, yes, but not great.  So out we went into the woods, me with the knife and Peter, hanging down quietly from my hand.  We positioned him on the tree, my husband had his feet, I unsheathed the knife, apologized to Peter and made the two cuts exactly where I should.  Drip, drip, and no gush.  Having done this before, I didn't understand it, so I tried again.  This time, I cut feathers.  Again, no blood.  Long story short, the knife- -the brand new knife-- was dull.  Peter wound up with what amounts to a paper cut on his wattles and a couple of feathers missing and not a damn thing else.  His neck wasn't even cut.

Now we could have taken a hatchet at that point and been done with it, that I know.  But he'd been upside down for several minutes at that point and I'd been trying to kill him unsuccessfully for a little while, so we quit.  I may have to do this, but I will not torture the animal in the meantime.  Peter was pardoned for the day and brought back to his flock.

When we rounded the corner, my son came flying out of the door, tears streaming down his face, his blanket wrapped around his shoulders.  He ran up to me (Peter had been released at that point) and buried his face in my middle, saying "I think I made a mistake.  I think I made a mistake."  He had realized finally what I had been saying before I took Peter in to the woods -- I can't undo this action.  This is a permanent thing.  He told me that he would not like Peter to die.  He would just keep fighting him instead of (basically) having his death on his conscience.

Being the wise (heh) mother that I am, I thought this was a good time for a big lesson.  I took both my children aside and explained to them that decisions like this can't be redone.  The things we do here can be huge and life changing.  We decide sometimes to bring new life in, we decide sometimes to take life out.  This is no small thing.  It also led me to explain to them that every time we eat, it's a life.  Whether it's a carrot or a potato or a chicken, and whether it was wrapped all hygienically in plastic at the supermarket or was done bloodily in the backyard, it was a life somewhere at some point that we are taking in.  It is something to understand and acknowledge and most of all, be thankful for. 

It's a hard lesson to learn.  Even for adults.   But it is one that I think we can all learn together.  As for Peter, he's been much more contrite for the last couple of days.  Nearly dying will do that to a guy, I think.  He's got a pass for a while, but if his behavior goes back to being the way he was before, I will sharpen the knife and be done with it.  I won't be bullied by a chicken.  As for my son, I hope that this will cause him to think through things a bit more, and to see the consequences a bit more clearly.  I believe it will do that for me.  Will I say I am "Pro Death"?  No, I don't think so, but I don't think I can deny it comes with the job.  And I definitely cannot deny that if I wish to feed myself and my family that it is something I must embrace.  We take in life to be alive, that's the nature of our being.

My favorite paragraph from the above article?

Still, the core truth is slightly more complicated, because the notion that life and death are not interconnected and interdependent is a contrivance of human emotion. They each require the other, to the extent that they are not even two sides of the same coin: They are the same side of the same coin.

I couldn't have said it better, and in fact, I won't.  Thanks Ben.

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Monday, March 26, 2012

The Class Chicks Hatch

Today was a busy day.  The first of the class chicks hatched.  Last week, I went back and re-candled the eggs.  Out of the 11, 9 eggs were good.  One egg had died in the meantime, and the other I could finally see enough to see that there was no one home, or that it had died early (it was a dark egg).  Five of the 9 left to hatch were our "home brewed" guys.  Four were the bought eggs.

It goes to figure that the home brewed would be the healthiest, right?  Yep, they were the ones that hatched first.

The red-brown one was first, apparently making its way out overnight.  The teacher found it this morning, peeping its head off.  The white one was second, and came along during recess.  There was also another hatch later in the afternoon, which was completely wet at this point.

This chick is perfectly fine, just still curled up in an egg shape.  This is the third hatch, and yep, another "mutt".  Seems our chickens here at Chicken Scratch are very healthy and reproductive-ey.  Is that even a word?  No, but I like it anyway!

When we left the classroom, one more of the home brewed eggs was rocking and rolling.  No pip yet, though.  I expect that one to hatch tomorrow, hopefully early on.  That will leave one more of the home-grown eggs, three Wyandottes, and one Ameraucana to hatch.  I will keep you updated! 

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Thursday, March 22, 2012

The Green Behind the Scenes

I know, all I talk about is the animals.  But that's not all that goes on around here, obviously.  There's plenty behind the scenes I don't talk about, like what's been planted.  So today, since I spent about 2 1/2 hours planting tomatoes and peppers and celery and eggplant and so on, I thought I'd do an "ode to green".  This is what you don't normally see; the work that goes on without a camera.  But here it is:  what's growing now.

Little broccoli.  Broccolettes?  One of several flats downstairs under the lights.

More little green guys.

Ah, outside.  The chives.

Garlic.  One of 125 in the ground.  It looks like they did well over the winter.


Irises!  Now that there's a fence up that the geese can't breech, they can actually grow.  Who'd have thought?

Sedum.  Ditto on the goose thing.

Roses.  Ditto again on the geese.  They can be so destructive!

Peach tree.  This one is always an eager beaver.

And finally, this one's legs:

 Also green.

I guess we won't have to ask "who's your daddy".  It's pretty obvious:


So Persnickety is a Welsummer/Ameraucana cross.  That should be interesting.

Nope, I couldn't get through a post without an animal picture.  :)
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Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Mommy Potential

It's happening again.  Ginger is broody.  The one thing I will say about the girl is that she picks interesting places to nest.  Last year, she picked here.  This year, she picked the front of the house, right under our bedroom windows. 

I think she's trying to tell us something.  Could it be "go away?"  She's so hard to read sometimes....
It's actually a pretty good spot, all things considered, because even though it's not in the damn nest boxes in the waterfowl yard that she's supposed to use, it's at least where I can hear if there's a problem with a predator.

She did her normal Ginger thing just like last year.  Lay and egg here, lay and egg there, made beautiful nests that got ruined, until finally she happen upon a spot where no one bothered her and then she layed and layed and layed.  Then she pulled out her feathers and down, made a beautiful nest and sat.  Unfortunately, there's not a single one of her eggs under her.  Every time she layed, I took her egg and replaced it with something.  First, a wiffle ball (that's all I had), then to a bunch of leftover large Easter eggs.  Why?  Well, poor Ginger, because of the wing injury that she sustained, she's disfigured in the gaggle's eyes and no one will mate her.   None of her eggs would be fertile, and she'd just be sitting for no reason again.  I figured if she wasn't serious, then a wiffle ball and some Easter eggs would be none the worse for wear.  But she is serious, so I added 4 duck eggs to her nest.  The ducks are mating like crazy, so that should go better for her (I hope).  And anyway, I don't need anymore geese.

She started setting on the 16th, a full month earlier than last year.  She's since ejected every Easter egg except for the yellow one and the green one--I guess she likes the colors?  She's setting on 4 duck eggs, 2 Easter eggs, and of course, a wiffle ball (which, by the way, she's never seemed to question).  Time will tell what happens here.  When she gets up this weekend, I will candle the four eggs and see.  I'm crossing my fingers again this time, just because I'd love to see what kind of mama she is.  She seems to want it so badly, and I want it for her.  Send her some good thoughts, will you please?

On the mama to be list as well is this little trollop:

It's totally our fault, even though she has loose morals.  We kept meaning to have her spayed, but every time we got the money together, it wound up needing to go somewhere else.  And so Ellie's in a "family way".  She may not look it here, but she's round.  My guess (and it's totally a guess, as I did not witness the actual event) is that she's due around Easter.  That's about 6 weeks from the time I noticed her pinking up.  According to everywhere I looked, that happens 3 weeks into it, so she'd have 6 weeks left to go. 
I'd like to say I'm sorry that it happened and I feel terrible, but I don't.  Ellie is an AMAZING mouser.  She can catch them damn near in mid air, and she's still mousing even in her condition.  We have had no mice in the house this winter, and I find carcasses almost every day.  She puts her brother Dave to shame.  He's such a slacker and would rather sleep with the Meatballs than catch mice.  So if she can produce another mouser with as much talent as she has, I am a very happy farmer.  However, she WILL be spayed after this.  We don't need 8 million cats, mousers or no.
That's about it on the mommy front.  I thought I had a broody hen the other night, because she was in a nest box when everyone else was perched and she growled at me when I went to check what she was sitting on, but it turned out to be a false alarm.  She gave up the next morning, and I threw her eggs away.

Ah Spring.  It's definitely here.  Enjoy it, everyone!  It's gonna be beautiful.
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Sunday, March 18, 2012

The Meatballs' Day Out

I've decided to call them Meatballs.  Not exactly PC, but oh well.  It's a term of endearment as well as a bit of a description.

It was a good feeling to have them go out, let me tell you.  All they have done so far is eat and drink and sleep.  They eat two quarts of food a day (two of those little feeders with the holes--you know which ones I mean?) and they drink a gallon of water a day.  And they sleep flat with their heads in the wood chips of their brooder. 

And that's it. 

It seems like a crappy life to me, though I know that already they have it better than the poor chickens in a CAFO.  I'm so used to the layer chicks, who perch and jump and scratch in the chips and talk and talk.  These guys do none of that.

So in order to make their lives a little better right now, I brought them outside.  Eventually, they will live outside 24/7 and free range, but they're a little young for that just now and the weather is a little too cool.   But today was beautifully warm,  so I placed them in the chicken tractor contraption I use for so many of our animals-chicks, ducklings, rabbits (but not goslings, because they HATE it).  That thing has paid for itself 200 times over.  I can put anyone in there and walk away, it's beautiful.  Anyway, I put them in the tractor thing, and figured they'd all cluster on top of each other in the corner and that'd be that.

But no.  They actually acted like chickens.

It was really nice to see.  They ran, flapped their little nubby wings, and pecked and pecked.  And ate.  And drank.  I didn't expect them not to, since they grow at a ridiculous rate.  But they did chicken things, and that just made me very joyful to see. 

I think they were happy.  At least they seemed happy to me.  I think I'm on the right track here.  I want them to have a good life while they live-no misery on my watch, please.  Since this went well, I'll be trying to put them outside as much as possible.  And I'll keep my fingers crossed the weather stays mild so they can move outside to their house soon.

Yeay Meatballs!

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Saturday, March 17, 2012

When Cats are Raised with Chickens

What?  I'm not doing anything!

I was just checking things out....

...looking for a place to sleep.  Ah the heat lamp!

It's beautiful!  Good night.

But what are all these darn chickens doing in here??
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Thursday, March 15, 2012

The Story, The Story, I'll Tell You the Story

Before any more time goes by, I'll tell you all about my adventures with my daughter's 4th grade class.  It started on the 6th, when I went in to give the kids a presentation about hatching chicks.  I had put it together in PowerPoint (in my former life I taught how to use computer software for a living) and presented it to them to give them the idea of what happens in the egg while it is incubating, what hatching looks like, and what types of chickens might come out.

 I was glad that I took so many pictures last July when the four that Fat Black brooded for us hatched.  I had a lot of material to work with.  The kids really enjoyed the presentation-they got very into it and asked a lot of good questions.  The adults seemed to enjoy it, too.  The principle and vice principle stopped by a few times and took some pictures.  Geez, I hope I don't wind up in the yearbook. 

After the presentation, we set up the incubator and put the eggs in.  I gave them a schedule as to when to put in water and a little sheet for them to record the temperature everyday.  After the incubator reached temperature, I was on my way and they were on their own.

I heard from my daughter frequently.  The class was watching the temperature carefully and were being really good about adding the water.  They were also being very quiet, she said, because they did not want to upset the developing chicks.  Actually, I had to admire the teacher for that one.  Clever way to get them to clam up a little.  :)

A week and a day went by, and I went back yesterday to check on the developing chicks.  I gave a little presentation about different types of eggs--I brought them two goose eggs, a few different duck eggs, and cracked a chicken egg so they could see the fertilized area.  They liked that.  Then it was time to check the eggs.

I wish I could say it went better.  Right out of the box, the first one I picked up was---wouldn't you know it---dead.  Big, fat blood ring shining out for all to see.  It didn't go much better after that.  The next 5 were yolks.  It was discouraging.  Two more dead ones followed and then--miracle of miracles--a live one!  And a white-ish egg at that!  It lit up like a light bulb.  Clear as day, the veins and the chick could be seen.  It moved while they watched.

The kids went nuts.  They were so excited.  Me too, actually, and boy was I relieved!  The next egg was the same.  Beautiful veining, beautiful dark eyespot, wiggly little chick.  One more gorgeous live chick and then more yolks.  All in all, out of the 24 that were in the incubator, 11 may have made it.  Two I am on the fence about; I don't think anyone's home, but I couldn't discard them right away.  When I check again this week, I'll decide.  As the ultimate in ironic, all of 6 (or 4, depending on next week) of the 18 bought eggs were good, but 5 out of the 6 "mutt" chickens from the backyard were percolating along just fine.  Go figure.

I has been a fun project to do.  I enjoyed giving the presentation, and I enjoyed letting them see different eggs up close and personal.   Next week when I go back for the final candling, I will bring a couple of chickens with me.  I'd like to have a lesson on feathers.  I think that will be fun, and who doesn't like chickens?  If nothing else, the kids will get a kick out of them, I think.

So that's the story to date.  I will give my little assistant the camera next time (my daughter) and ask her to take some pictures, so you can see what's going on, too.  This last time she couldn't because she was recording results.  It's good to have an experienced helper!

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Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Dinner Is Served

In about 8 weeks.

I jest, but I'm well aware and appreciate the sacrifice these little ones will make for us in that time.  All I can do is give them the nicest life I can, so their short stay here is a good one.

There are 14, as one was lost in shipping.  They are the typical Cornish cross meat bird.  Meat birds are being done in three shifts here, instead of many all at once.  This is because it's mainly me (and possibly my husband) processing, and I don't have a plucker, so it'll be slow.  This is shift one. 

When I woke up the kids to get them this morning, my daughter was excited, and my son just wanted a bagel.  So, to get him going, I promised him one (and yes, I delivered).  My daughter stayed excited until we got the chicks, which were VERY noisy, so she didn't like that.  Then she pronounced them "ugly", and said that their heads were too big.   My son just wanted to eat his bagel.  It seems we won't be having any attachment issues, which I was worried about.  Phew!

I will say that they are very noisy, but that was because they were thirsty--very thirsty.  I put them in the brooder under the light, and that didn't help, nor did the food.  But once I put the water in there with them, that stopped them.  They went right to it and drank and drank.  I find it a little freaky that they knew how--I've always had to show the layer chicks.  That's an interesting difference.  I have a feeling there will be plenty more interesting differences before this project is through. 
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

The One That Hatched

As you might remember, I put 4 eggs in the incubator to test it and see if it would work for the class, before we put the class' eggs in.  Two were yolkers, and two seemed to be developing nicely.  Out of the two, only one hatched.  The one that did not stopped moving a few days before the "due date" and didn't move again.  I figured it might have died, so when the due date came and went (and there was no movement from the chick inside), I cracked it open to take a look, since I wanted to see what went wrong.  It looks like the chick died at some point during the absorbing the yolk phase.  It was never absorbed and it's belly never closed and it died.

Sad, but these things happen, right?  The one who did make it was doing splendidly.  After an explosive birth (nearly), he/she was off and running.

Near as I can tell, she/he is a cross between Hoppy, a Welsummer, and Beethoven, an Ameraucana. She's a mutt chicken!  We call her a she, just because she seems like a she.  You watch, she'll be a he.  We call her Persnickety, because she's a feisty little thing.

Here she is, hanging out with the two older Welsummer chicks I traded Ferdi for. 

They spent a little time outside yesterday (behind bars), getting used to the sun and grass.  Needless to say, they were somewhat flummoxed.

Persnickety is a cutie patootie.  Funny and fresh as all get out.  Lots of spunk, too. 

She's doing well.  The other two are as well.  As for the classroom project?  It seems to be going well, too.  The kids are more than happy to update me on what's been going on every time I see them. Tomorrow is the day of the first candling, when we'll really see what's going on.  Stay tuned!
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