Thursday, February 21, 2013

A New Sexlink?

I am still not completely sure, but I think that my babies are a new (ish) kind of sexlink. I'm sure I'm not the first person to do this, but I'm the first I've heard of, so it's very exciting to me.  Some of the chicken experts have said that it's entirely probably because a Cream Legbar has barring in its' genes, which is one of the basis for sex linked chicks. I'm wondering if that, coupled with the autosexing characteristics of the legbar also contribute.

My chicks are all 5 weeks old now. The difference between the two that I pegged as boys and the ones I thought were girls is startling. 5 of the chicks look exactly alike. Then two of the chicks look exactly alike. The two that had the white spots on their heads that I theorized *could* be boys are very obviously boys.

Here's two of the chicks. One of the "girls" and one of the boys.

So, if this theory pans out, then I can make sex linked Olive Eggers. That would be so unbelievably cool!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Bull in a China Shop

I'm sure you've heard the term "bull in a china shop" to refer to a very clumsy person. Mythbusters even tried setting up a whole bull in a china shop scenario and found that cows are actually quite graceful, and very few pieces of glasswear got broken.

I'm thinking they must've had an unusually graceful bull.  Or maybe steers (boy cows who will never be able to have babies) are more clumsy?

Whatever it is, I am tempted to say like a steer in a chicken coop.

Last week, I was going out to give my chickens their food and water. CG (cow guy who rents the pasture next door and looks after my two cows) was out there and he stopped me.  Told me they'd had a bit of an adventure. They'd been unloading some new steers, and one of them panicked and jumped the 4' chainlink fence. Unfortunately, the other side of my fence was the chicken yard. He completely shredded my poultry netting, and he managed to disconnect the chain link to the top rail for a section of fence. They couldn't get the door to the run open enough to get him out (we have about 2' of snow on the ground right now), so CG ended up cutting a 6' long hole in my chicken wire to get the cow out. My chicken run was pretty trashed, and most of the repairs can't be done until spring.

CG was very apologetic, and offered to pay for any repairs. The majority of it is labor, and it's labor that would be tough to do with all of the snow. We put up a few panels of dog kennel fencing to temporarily fix it, and it'll hold til spring.

Here's the part of the run that is unusable until I fix the poultry netting and the chain link.

I think the chickens were thrilled to get out- I'd locked them inside for a couple of days until we got things repaired and safe. There were only 3 eggs when they were locked inside. Granted, I was only getting 0-2 a day ANYWAY.

My poor speckled sussex is all verklempt because she prefers to lay in the other hen house, but she can't get to it now.

In happy news, I've gotten two olive eggs and two blue eggs in the last few days. I hadn't gotten the olives since November, and I think these blue eggs were from my lavender ameraucana, who also hasn't laid since November.

Hatch Results

I feel bad that I never updated with how the hatch turned out. About 9 days in, the brown egg quit.

All of the other eggs developed beautifully. Right around lockdown, I got very sick with a nasty cold. Lost my voice. Then, I developed an ear infection and my ear drug ended up bursting. I was too sick to really enjoy the hatch, which was a real disappointment. I did do the hatch cam though, so other people did.

This hatch was really, really unusual for me. My eggs always hatch on day 21, with a few going into day 22. This time was different though.

I set the eggs around 8pm on a Friday. 19 days later, on a Thursday morning, my son wakes me up to tell me that he hears chirping. I have to admit I thought he was nuts, but I went over to the incubator to double check. Sure enough, eggs 1, 2 and 3 had all pipped. I knew I had to get the webcam set up, so I slowly got everything hooked up (remember I was really quite ill). While doing that, egg #5 (the one that had sat in the fridge for 8-10 days prior to being set) pipped as well.

An hour later, another one pipped. The cracked egg and the late egg were the only ones not pipped.

I had to drag myself to a last minute home inspection for a house that my clients were closing on the next day, so around 4pm, I left for that. By 4:30, the first egg had hatched.  The second egg hatched within an hour of that.

By 6:30pm, four of the eggs had hatched, and the remaining three were all pipped, even my "crack baby". The remaining three were the fridge egg, the cracked egg, and the late egg.

I went to bed early, but was told one of the eggs hatched just after midnight. At 2:30am, I went to check on the incubator and found that both crack baby and fridge egg had hatched.  So, I had all of those guys hatch by 20.5 days. AMAZING.

Late baby pipped two full days before day 21 even started. Friday afternoon, the last baby hatched out.

Everyone was perfectly healthy. They were all fathered by the french black copper marans. Two of the babies had a white spot on the head, which was one of the signs of being a male by the legbar standards.

At this point, they're about 2.5 weeks old, and the ones I thought may be boys definitely have larger combs than everyone else.

I never did get around to taking pictures of the chicks. I was simply too sick.  I am feeling much better now though.