Friday, November 30, 2012

Wow Wow Wubzy

Wow Wow Wubzy is what my kids named our white silkie chick. It's a children's television show character.

I moved the two chicks outside- they're around 8 weeks old now, and I have a 120 watt light out there that keeps things fairly toasty.  Things had been going well  until this morning.

This morning I found the little silkie dead, and the frizzle all upset. I couldn't find any wounds on her, and she seemed perfectly healthy when I took this picture yesterday. The temperature OUTSIDE didn't even get below 40, and in the henhouse, with 16 other chickens and a warm light, I'm sure it was plenty warm. I'm not sure what happened.

Z, my five year old, was with me when I made the discovery, and he was pretty sad. It's the second chicken he's named, and the first was Hulksmash. So, his track record isn't so great.

S, my seven year old, is going to be so upset when she realizes. The friend who sold them to me says she has more, so I'm trying to figure out a way to go get another while I'm in Salt Lake tomorrow without her realizing it (she'll be with me). I think I may be able to work it out. Wish me luck that I can get a new Wow Wow Wubzy with only Z and my husband the wiser.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

My eggs today

My friend Kris gave me this lovely metal basket that I've been using as my egg collecting basket.

I thought that I'd post the eggs that I collected today because I thought it'd be fun.

I'm thinking that my polish chicken has started to lay because I'm getting an almost white egg now, and she's the only one who would lay that color. But, she took today off (at least, hasn't laid as of 1:30pm) so her egg isn't in here.  Maybe I should do this more often.

I get these extra large sized light brown eggs nearly every day. Every time, they're over 60 grams. I think they are from either my golden laced wyandotte or the rhode island red.

Today I got a new egg- I found that medium brown, speckled egg in the small henhouse. I was confused, because it is on the light side for my bcm, but way darker than my other brown eggs. Plus, I'd seen the bcm in the other hen house in the nest box, so I didn't know why I'd find her egg way over here.  When I got to the other nest box, I found the obvious bcm egg where I'd seen her earlier. I suspect that pretty, speckled egg comes courtesy of Shirley. Yay!

Rooster Swap

Warren, the Black Copper Marans cockerel
I've been a little disappointed with the way Warren, my Black Copper Marans has turned out. Not too much of a tail, and there's white in it, which is very bad for a BCM. He also is the wrong color- instead of an orange-y copper color, he's been a dark mahogany. Which, I have to admit, is a bit fun and unusual, but definitely not to breed standard. My other concern is that he is very closely related to my BCM hen, who is quite gorgeous. As far as breeding goes though, it isn't good to breed too closely together.

What sealed the deal was when I was out harvesting potatoes a couple weeks ago, Warren attacked my 5 year old with no provocation. In fact, Z actually had his back to the rooster and he flew at him, knocking him down and scratching him with his spurs.

I'm willing to put up with a little bit of mean for a gorgeous rooster, but if you're homely, you HAVE to be nice to survive at my house.

So, I've known for a while that Warren was on his way out, but hadn't really had time to do anything about it.

Well, about a week ago, my chicken friend Diana posted that a mysterious new rooster magically appeared in her back yard. She went to close in her birds for the night, and there in the middle of everyone was a young black copper marans cockerel. We've joked in our group about "roostering" someone- dropping a rooster into a friend's yard while everyone is asleep. And, since this sort of practical joke is right up my alley, I think she suspected me. I promised I was innocent, but that I would be interested in trading roosters. Her friend, a vet, is wanting to investigate de-crowing a rooster, but since the procedure is a bit tricky, with a high mortality rate, she didn't want to experiment with an expensive rooster.

Yesterday, I dropped Warren off. I'm not sure if he'll have the de-crowing procedure done on him, or if she's going to have him for dinner, but really study his vocal cords  before she eats him, but I think it's an intriguing idea. I think ultimately, if decrowing roosters could become more feasible, it would save a lot of roosters lives.

I can't remember what Diana named this boy, but given his magical appearance, I wanted to name him after a magician, so I went for the most legendary musician of all time.

Houdini, black copper marans cockerl
Introducing Houdini.

I put him in the coop last night after everyone was down for the night. This morning, I went to check on him, and found him nestled in a nest box with my bcm, who was trying to lay, and looking very annoyed with him for intruding on her space. So far, he seems to be getting along well with everyone.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Poor Chickensitters

I wonder why it is that all unusual stuff happens when I go out of town. I swear I'm not gone that often, but when I am, that's when the weird happens.

I was planning to go to Las Vegas this past weekend. I toyed with the idea of not having someone collect eggs at all because I didn't want to inconvenience anyone. A girlfriend called the day before I left and wanted  to buy eggs. I told her that if she came and collected while I was gone, she could keep anything she collected for free.

fart egg on top
She came over the day before I left so I could show her what to do. I noticed my older lavender ameraucana in the nest box. This has been happening more and more, and I'd been concerned- I'd see her in the box, but then she'd never lay anything. I have found 4-5 "fart eggs" that I was guessing were coming from her. I've started to be concerned that she was laying internally, or that something wasn't right with her.

I warned T of my concerns, and said if something happened, I wouldn't be too surprised.

As it turns out, the chicken did pass away on Saturday. I feel bad about it. I'm wondering if maybe the chickens were possibly too closely bred? That means I lost both of them within a few months, and definitely prematurely. I'm thinking my chicken babysitter wasn't too broken up though- she told me she collected well over a dozen eggs, and she kind of wants chickens now.

On a happier note, my speckled sussex has begun laying. I think she actually started a couple weeks ago.  There's another egg that's started appearing that's a very, very pale cream color. Definitely not white, but very light. Maybe it belongs to the coronation sussex? I haven't been able to catch the hen in the act.