The run is almost done. I decided to let my birds out to enjoy the evening under my supervision. They are having a blast! Most of them have been dust bathing. It was very hot today and they're enjoying the cooler evening. Dust bathing is important to keep them clean. It helps remove stale oils from theirs feathers and bodies. I've also ordered a couple chicks to go along with the ones we're hatching. They are bantam frizzle/sizzles. They will either be from Silkie/Cochin crosses or just Cochins. I'm hoping their not the silkies cross, but I'll see what I think of them when they get older..,
Im thinking they should have some names. Any suggestions?
We've got eggs in the incubator. Again. This time all should be purebred. 13 Black Copper Marans, 6 Australorps, 3 Buff Orpingtons. We lost all of the BCMs last time around. When I cracked them open to see what happened, I noticed they were almost fully formed at hatch day but then stopped. The appear to have died about 3 days earlier. I've been doing some research and believe they may have drowned in the eggs due to too much humidity.
So this time we are trying to dry hatch them. No water added to the incubator until lockdown on day 18. Today is day 4.
August 2: two days until lockdown (when you take out the egg turner and don't open the incubator anymore until the chicks are hatched) We candeled them all last night and 5 of the BCM eggs stopped developing less than a week in. We removed these. One of my young BCMs has gone broody. I gave her a few eggs and I candled them 2 days ago. The BCM eggs are hard to see, but I also gave her one green egg.
This is the first time since I was a kid that we've used a broody. I'm hoping she does well. (And I hope this egg has a female in it!)
August 7: Hatch day. Things aren't going so well. We had raised the eggs and wire up so they would be the same height they were in the turner so there would be no difference in temperature. Well, one chick hatched early morning day 19 and has fallen down the side of the wire 3 times. He is now out and alone, as no other chicks have even pipped. I'm hoping that the act of opening the incubator just set them back a bit. We'll hang on to them until Tuesday to see if any more pip. This is very disappointing.
Aug. 9: The rest of the incubator eggs went to the garbage, as they were starting to stink. So disappointed. I'd like to try the dry hatch again myself, to see if that was the issue or something else. I candled the eggs under the broody and removed one dud. That leaves her with 4 eggs. Hoping she is a good mama so I can sneak my little chick under her, too. She also has mice eating her food. Normally the hens would take care of that but because she's broody, she doesn't do anything. So I've got an enclosed bait trap inside and hopefully I can take care of the problem before the chicks hatch. And just to lighten the mood, here he is!
Blue Australorp chick - guessing male.
I gave almost two dozen eggs to a friend last night to see if she has any better luck with the Marans.
Aug 14: One chick hatched so far from the broody. One pipped.
August 29: There was a horrible accident with the broody hen involving a drying yolk which ended with 3 dead chicks. The hen now only has one beautiful BCM chick. She would not accept the single chick from the incubator hatch so I bought a frizzle to keep it company. The eggs at the driends house are starting to hatch.
Ugh, I fear it's a cockerel. Look at the size of the comb! 2 weeks old.
The little blue Australorp. It's got some big legs on it, but the tail feathers are long and the comb is still small. Pullet?
The frizzle. It'll probably be a while before we can guess the sex of this one.
Update: All three of these chicks are now deceased. The little blue Australorp pullet got what we suspected was Mareks disease and after thinking she was better, she got trampled by the others. The frizzle was a little cockerel. Probably the cutest, sweetest little bird ever, I found dead (presumably crushed) inside the nest box he was hiding in at about 6 months) The Marans chick ended up being a cockerel as well, contracted some sort of respiratory disease that I could not seem to cure no matter what I tried. He died at about 9 months old, about a month after his father passed. Now my young cockerel is sick as well. Thinking I need to add some new blood and stronger genes into my Marans line.
This is a first for me. Amelia was due to have her kits yesterday, but didn't have any until sometime this evening. I found one DOA on the wire. Then I started digging in the nest. I found 2 small hard masses, and 6! kits. 4 of those 6 were born with their eyes open. They're called Max Factor. I assume they will have to be culled, as they will be prone to eye infections if they even survive. A lot of MF kits also have deformed feet. There were so many of them that I didn't really have a chance to check their feet. I will have to get a better look tomorrow and maybe some pictures.
Ypu can see here how the feet are deformed and the eyes have fur stuck to them because they are open. They will be humanely euthanized tomorrow as they will never be healthy animals. The poor things. And so pretty too.
These two are growing like weeds! July 17
*Sigh* Feather pecking. This is all new to me. My beautiful rooster is being picked on by the hens. I mean, his neck is bare! I wanted to see who was doing it, so I sat and waited. After a short while, sure enough, one of the Rhode Island Red hens started pulling out neck feathers, then moved to his body. He walked away and she went after him. She's not being aggressive, mind you. There's no blood or wounds. But there might be soon if I don't do something about it. Feather pecking is just redirected ground pecking and is normally not done in aggression. I've been told she may be lacking in protein. I've read that RIR's may need more protein than other breeds. It was suggested to feed them cat food, or chick starter. I'll experiment a bit and see what happens.
Update: turns out my rooster was sick. He has since passed on, and the hen doesn't do it to anyone else! Maybe she knew.
Im excited to say that my coop is almost 100% complete! The actual coop part is done, just the run needs to be built. So are you ready?!
The outside. There is now corner boards on it and the run itself will come right out the front.
Instead of put plywood at the top, we decided on hardware cloth. We have yet to install the plexiglass for winter protection. I love how much extra light and ventilation it gives.
Roost with droppings board. It didn't stay white for long, I can tell ya.
The first of my girls to arrive from my parents place. And my handsome boy.
After being here for a few days they're finally starting to settle in!