Thursday, February 23, 2012

Updated Photos

The chicks are now 2.5 weeks old. I can only distinguish Cobalt (the one with the dark red head) and Zuli (the one I helped hatch). The other three all still look very similar to me. I think one of the triplets may be a boy- its' comb seems more distinguishable than the others. I'm sure there's at least 2-3 boys, but I can't tell.
The whole group- Cobalt is second from the left, Zuli is second from the right

I think the one spreading its' wings would be considered a "splash" pattern.

I also have updated pictures of the Lavender Ameraucanas. Unnamed chick is now named Iris, and he (?) is still significantly bigger than the other one.
Iris on left

Friday, February 10, 2012

Velociraptors go outside!

My house was starting to smell like a barn. Even though I have a terrible sense of smell, I could tell. I was cleaning both chick brooders out every day, but it was just getting bad. I know that the vast majority of it was the bigger chicks. Plus, even though I bought the biggest rubbermaid tote I could find, and that I could actually fit in my house, I felt like they were outgrowing it.

The other day, we were discussing chicken coops in winter, and whether or not to add supplemental heat. For my adult chickens, I add supplemental light in the form of a 100 or 120 watt bulb. I figure that it adds a bit of heat, because the water rarely freezes in the henhouse. I keep the water in the henhouse during the winter as well. We have the walls of our henhouse insulated, using those styrofoam panels that are commonly used in garage doors sandwiched between thin boards (otherwise, the chickens peck at it).

It got me thinking though- if I were to use my brooder lamp with a better heating bulb, and had it so it wasn't so far from the floor of the henhouse, why not put my velociraptors out there? I also have one of those indoor/outdoor thermometer sets, so I can monitor the temp, and if it gets too cold, I can bring them in.  When chicks first hatch, they need 95-100 F degree temps. That can be reduced by 5 degrees per week until they're feathered in, which happens around 5 weeks or so. Since they are more or less totally feathered in now, I think they can tolerate cooler temps.

So, I just took all five velociraptors outside. They have a much bigger space to play in, and I have high hopes that this is going to work out extremely well.

I will admit I really wish I have a camera out there to watch them, but I don't want to invest that kind of money.  I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lapis Lazuli

Lapis Lazuli (Zuli for short) has been really doing well. She (hope springs eternal!) is still smaller than the others, but seems very strong, and is eating and drinking with the group. I am very optimistic that she will grow up to live a good, long life.

She's still not totally fluffed out, but I did take her picture today.

I also took a picture of one of the other blue laced red wyandottes. Unfortunately, I'm having a very tough time telling them apart, so I have no idea which chick it is.

In other news, I also took pictures of the two Lavender Ameraucanas. One is still unnamed, so we'd love to hear suggestions.

This is Lucy. My 6 year old named her.

This is our unnamed chick.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Hatching of the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes

Well, my hatch of the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes is complete, thank goodness. I had another "exciting" hatch, which I'm starting to hate.

I started the eggs at 8pm on a Sunday, so figured I'd see my first pips Sunday morning, 3 weeks later. I bought 7 eggs. One never developed at all, and the other died at 7 days along.

On Sunday morning, by 10am, I had pips in 3 eggs. One was pipped at the narrow end (again? Seriously?), one was perfectly normal, and the last had pipped almost into the floor of the incubator.

By dinnertime, all five eggs had pipped, but the holes were tiny.

At 11pm, it didn't seem like any progress was being made, so I went to bed, convinced they'd hatch while I was asleep. At 12:30, I went to check on them, and sure enough, an egg had hatched (the normally pipped one). I put it in the brooder, and went back to bed. A little after 1am, I checked again, and a second egg had hatched (the one that pipped at the narrow end). Seriously?! It hadn't done anything a half hour earlier! Put it in the brooder and went back to bed.

At 5am, my alarm went off to go to kickboxing. I was too tired to go after my restless night, so I checked the eggs (no progress) and went back to sleep. 

At 6:30, my husband was getting ready to leave for work and asked me when I was going to put the hatchling in the brooder. WHAT?! Again?!  Sure enough, I'd missed the hatching of my third chick. The third chick to hatch had been the last to pip- Indigo, in the darkest egg.

The fourth chick was conscientious enough to hatch while the kids were getting ready for school, so we all got to see it come out. Finally!

The chick of this group who is on the far left had the cutest red head, so I took an individual shot of it:

Aren't they just adorable?!
At this point, I was starting to get worried about the final egg- Beryl. If you see the picture of the eggs, you'll notice it was smaller than the rest, and I was worried that could cause a problem. Beryl had pipped near the floor of the incubator, so I was worried that would make zipping tougher. It had been pipped for 24 hours, and no progress whatsoever had been made.

I tried to sit on my hands and do nothing but be patient. Of course, doing nothing wasn't going to last long for me.

About 26 hours after pip, I peeled back some of the shell. Membrane seemed ok, so I started to cut that away, but a drop of blood emerged, so I immediately stopped and put egg back in incubator.

Four hours later, I thought I'd try cutting the membrane again, as she hadn't made any progress at all.  Again, got a drop of blood, so I stopped and put her back in the incubator and vowed not to touch her again.

At 6pm, 34 or so hours after pip, we went to dinner. Came home and found she'd tried to progress, but found another vein, and had bled some more. Yikes!

At this point, I was truly panicked. I felt like she was weak both from loss of blood and from extended time in egg.

I finally ended up hatching her out. I did this on the web cam, with over 40 people watching. I was really nervous I was going to kill her, but felt like this was her best chance.  Luckily I only encountered a couple of tiny specks of blood. She still had a bit of yolk to absorb, but it was quite tiny, less than a drop. I left her in the incubator overnight, making sure she wasn't laying on her side, but on her belly.

The next morning, she seemed to be doing quite well. Her feathers hadn't fluffed up like the others, and she seemed smaller (maybe the small egg? Maybe the not fluffy? Maybe the extra day of puffing out the others had?). I put her in the brooder with the others, and she's slowly puffing out, and seems to be walking and moving just fine. I think she appears to be perfectly healthy.  Her egg name was Beryl, but my webcam viewers did not care for that name at all. Many name suggestions were given, and I ended up going with Lapis Lazuli, or Zuli for short.

Once she really fluffs out, I'll take a cute picture of her to post.

Impulse buy of chickens!!

Yeah, I realize this sounds impossible, but it turns out to be absolutely possible. For me anyway.

On my chicken board, I've gotten quite chatty with people in my state. One of the ladies there had some eggs shipped to her- Lavender Ameraucanas. She posted a picture of the eggs, and I was drooling- they were such a beautiful shade of blue. I was tempted to get a chick, but thought I'd hold off.

Then, her blue eggs hatched, and the chicks' pictures were so beautiful that I decided I simply must have one. She talked me into two so that way, my odds of getting a girl were higher.  These chicks are so beautiful, all silvery and gold with blueish legs.

We named one of them Lucy. The larger one is still unnamed, so if anyone has a suggestion, I'm all ears.