Friday, 31 May 2013

Splash Orpingtons at 9 weeks old

Last post from me tonight I need to go out to put all the birds to bed and then set up to shoot any more visiting Rats!

I got one last night in the barn but he was the only one that made an appearance so perhaps there aren't that many to worry about.

The Splash Orpingtons have been out with the flock for a week now and this weekend they should be going in the main coop

We still don't know if they are hens or roos but it shouldn't be too long before we can tell.
They have some leg rings now to aid identification.
Boris is Red, Godzilla is Green and Legless is Blue.
Boris was the first to hatch followed by Godzilla and finally Legless.
Legless is the one with the stubby tail as well.

Chicks at one week old

Some of the chicks were press ganged into a photo shoot this afternoon.
Much chirping for the others ensued but all behaved and posed on cue.

This is a Welsummer hen or should be if the sexing guides are correct as she has Chipmunk stripes to her eyes!

And this is a "Blond" Welsummer or is until further notice as we don't know what it is but is supposed to be a Welsummer and hatched from one of the 6 eggs we bought!

These are Araucanas and they lay light Blue Eggs

 This is the Araucana that hatched with a crooked beak, it seems to be straightening up.

We had eggs from two different flocks of Araucanas this one is a lot darker.

 Here we have a Vorwerk, who eventually will have an orange body and black head so currently back to front!!

A Black Orpington

One of the 5 Silver Laced Wyandottes.

These are the Buff Plymouth Rock X Light Sussex sex linked Hybrids
This one should be a hen.

 And this one a Rooster.... maybe!

This one might be a hybrid or a Buff Orpington....... not sure!

Mars minus his coat

This morning I caught Mars at feeding time and removed the remainder of his Winter coat so that's 1 down 3 to go. He is now developing proper boys bits on top and underneath!

The Lambs are all good friends. Their horns are growing steadily as well

This was the first Ewe to Lambs and would appear to be the one losing her Winter coat the soonest as well.


Rolo and Midnight


Monday, 27 May 2013

Lots of Chicks

We now have 28 chicks - 7 Hybrids, 3 Welsummers, 6 Araucanas, 3 Vorwerk, 4 of Liz's Black Orpingtons and Keith came home on Saturday with 5 Silver Laced Wyandotte week old chicks to replace the eggs that had all failed, he knew how much I wanted some.
Now we have to see how many are hens.
 Left is an Orpington, middle is a Vorwerk, most of the others are Araucanas. When the Vorwerk grows up it will have a black head and buff body, the wing feathers are just starting to show through buff now.
There's one of the hybrids on the left and a Welsummer on the right. They managed to tear a sliver of newspaper off today, and there was great excitement running round the brooder shouting 'Mine, mine', 'Chase me, Chase me, I've got it!'. As the paper gradually got torn to bits, they all lost interest.

We let the original three chicks out into the big wide world on Saturday. Not too much grief, lost a few wing feathers to Dotty but generally just snapped at. They seem very happy exploring and the Eglu has now been moved nearer the main coop and run up onto the platform. By next weekend I hope they will be able (and accepted) to move into the coop proper.
 Here they are with Auntie Gladys, who hasn't been well lately and had a nice warm bath last night.
And here they are raiding the duck food!

Friday, 24 May 2013

Last of the hatchlings

 As you can see, we have yellow ones (?), brown stripey ones (Welsummers), grey/yellow ones (Araucanas), black ones with yellow heads (Verwerks), orange ones (Buff Plymouth Rock x Light Sussex), and black ones (Liz's Black Orpingtons).
 A few more hatched overnight and one this morning. The remaining eggs had either not developed or the chick had died in the egg, (my last Wyandotte included).
 So at the moment they are in their plastic box, mostly huddled under the hot plate. Some of the older, more adventurous ones have found their way on top of the hot plate where they have a birds eye view of their adopted siblings. Keith is already looking at the next breeds he would like to try next year!
As I sit here there is a loud cheeping from the last surviving chick that has been drying off in the incubator. It's either cold or lonely, probably the last. Alden has just popped it in with the rest of the chicks and the incubator has been removed for a thorough cleaning.

Poor Catherine the goose has become so broody that we let her sit on Zita's egg. Neither goose has laid since Wednesday.

So the egg count -
Chickens - 39
Ducks - 22
Geese - 2

At the moment, through selling the eggs, the birds are almost self-supporting. I have some standing orders and people who always come to me as and when they need eggs, and a neighbour sells them to her friends at the golf club for me.

Ja-ja has been running around, like the mad duck he is, chasing Pidgeons. They only fly a little way off but it drives him crazy and he hurtles around the field chasing them off.

The sheep are shedding their coats, I have quite a large ball of fluff now that I will have to something with.

Thursday, 23 May 2013

Hatch Tally

So far 20 have hatched
one I had to extract from the incubator and put out of its misery because it had a prolapsed vent and the other had already pecked it badly to the point of bleeding everywhere.

No chance of saving it:(

One of the Araucanas has a twisted beak so only time will tell if that is too severe for it to survive

Three more are trying to hatch and may need some help to do so if not out in the morning as by then they will be a couple of days overdue.

Two of Liz's Orpingtons have hatched, at least I think that is what they are.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

It's all go.

Yesterday, Catherine started laying again, a lovely egg in the Ducks house.
Today the first two chicks hatched out, both Araucana's. There are five more pipping and possibly one in the borrowed incubator upstairs. Expecting a few more tomorrow then!

Picking up a good handful of wool every day from the sheep who are starting to shed. Mars has started from the front back and looks quite silly.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

Shampoo and set madam?

Pixie needed a wash so out with the hose and some dog shampoo. She didn't seem to mind much and we certainly removed a lot of the hair and muck from her neck and mane.
Then we looked at Bouncer and thought 'why not', so he had the beauty parlour treatment as well. Of course as soon as they were out in the field they rolled in all the mud.
We installed an electric fence in the field up the road before we brought them home for the wash, and it was working fine. Keith turned it off, climbed over and 'discharged' it. Bearing in mind that I am shorter than him and do not find it so easy to get over, I also 'discharged' it when fetching water and on returning, only to find that Keith, had in fact, forgotten to turn it off! OUCH! It definitely works.

The geese have their own shed now, down by the veg plot, away from the poor harassed ducks and chickens. Not a very pretty shed but will do the job.

The chicks are now out in the field in the Eglu meeting the other birds through the wire. There was a lot of interest at first but now it's more about the Ducks drilling around the edges and the chickens seeing what food they have.

Keith candled the first lot of the remaining eggs tonight and all seems well. The second lot will be done tomorrow and they should start hatching Wednesday.

Egg count for last week -
Chickens - 41
Ducks - 17
I think the duck eggs have been stolen by rats, and certainly after only getting two a day, after Keith dispatched one last night, I had four this morning. So their poor showing is forgiven.

Thieves in the mealworm bucket!

Pecky has cheered up thank goodness. We have a theory that she has been replaced as top hen and was sulking. She had a bath yesterday, her bottom was not very clean. Dunking a hen in a sink of warm water isn't as hard as you might think, they seem to enjoy it. (Although I do keep a firm hand on them and make sure the doors are closed, just in case!)

Friday, 17 May 2013

This weekends work

Jobs for the weekend weather permitting

1, Make a taller gate to protect the veg plot from marauding Chickens.
2, Build a new Shed for the Geese so they have a place of their own.
3, Put up the electric fencing in the Pony paddock
4, Prepare some seed beds in the field for some replacement grass - bit wet at the moment to do that though.
5, Find out why my MG is losing water from the headlight washer bottle.


Gloves a Ram Lamb

Glove is a little Ram Lamb so he now has a new name.
Davids turn, first it was going to be Batman but we (the grown ups) thought that sounded silly so now he has chosen Leonidas (after the Spartan King) which no doubt will become Leo for short.

The three lambs spend lots of time playing together and have already worked out they can get through the gap in the gate into the smaller field and they go off to see the Chickens.

Till their Mums get cross and call them back.

Monday, 13 May 2013

The Babies leave home ... and then come back again!

As the chicks had been outside in the Eglu for the last ten days, it was decided to let them stay out overnight on Saturday. They put themselves to bed and shot out of the door on Sunday morning. Sunday night was OK but today the weather has turned cold and windy, they have spent most of the day hiding indoors. So when Alden came home from school we put them back in the brooder and brought them inside to warm up. They can go back out tomorrow, providing it's not raining to hard and there is no frost first thing. We've even been told there may be a few flakes of snow!
The two on the ends are dozing. It was taken through the kitchen window, hence the reflection of my kitchen tap. They often sleep like this with their heads hanging over the tray.
As a side note, Keith told me the other night that I had made 'a decent cup of tea'. I didn't think my tea making had been that bad for the past twenty four years!!

I had a giant egg from somebody last week, to give some perspective the one on the right is a large egg from one of the Marans and the Marans lay eggs that can compete with the biggest you will find in the shops! So the one in the centre is huge! The one on the left is from one of the Barnvelders. The big egg made a nice scrambled egg breakfast and turned out to be a double yolker.
 Egg count last week-
Chickens - 41
Ducks - 25
Geese - 0

At least Zita seems to broken out of her broody spell. Catherine is still determined to nest and hisses and 'barks' at me when I collect the chicken and duck eggs.
Pecky has been a bit off colour lately, she's the oldest and an ex-batt, my last original chicken so I'm hoping she will be fine and it's just the cold weather.