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Goliaths Flock

Hello Again! Yes, it’s been a while, someone please tell me where all the time has gone!!!!  Well, I’m thinking, it went into raising baby chicks! Here they come!!!!

Free Range Time

Free Range Time

Once again, meet Goliath’s Flock!  They are now 17 weeks old!  I must say, this is the most docile group of chicks I’ve ever had!  Granted, I’ve only had to be mama hen to my first group of chicks, Buddy’s Flock and that was of course where I learned how to raise back yard chickens.  Even though I grew up on a chicken farm, my dad raised chickens for eggs and that was before cages came in, he ended his business, opting out of caged.

Well, like I said, my babies are now 17 weeks old, their ‘voices’ are changing, the girls are now sounding more like hens.  Still a little early for egg laying, but we’re getting anxious! Goliath is still a little young to be crowing, but can’t wait for that early crowing.

Way back on Sept. 9th I introduced you to the chicks: Meet Goliath & His Flock, they look a tad different now then those early fluffy butt baby pics, so I’m going to introduce you again and add some goings on and updates.

First update, we did loose 1 chick a couple weeks ago to a Sharp Shin Hawk.  We have a completely closed in run for the chicks, but there was a hole, which the hawk found and got into the run and killed poor Itsie one of our 2 Speckled Sussex, which left Bitsie an only child.  The hole was fixed, there isn’t even the slightest peek hole now.  It’s always a learning experience.

Like I said they are now 17 weeks old, I picked these chicks from My Pet Chicken, breeds we have never had before and ended up ordering 6 different breeds. I did want white jersey giants but none were available anywhere, so I got the black.  2 …. 3 reasons I wanted to add Jersey Giants to my flock, 1-they’re a big breed, so hoping this will help in deterring hawks, 2-I’m a Jersey Girl and Jersey Giants originated in New Jersey so wanted to be true to New Jersey, 3-Getting the Jersey Giant rooster I’m hoping that all chicks will be on the larger side, again to help them survive.  Hawks are our number 1 predator here, we did loose 1 a couple years ago to a fox and we did loose chicks to a skunk, that was tragic.

So now, meet Goliath’s Flock

The Jersey Giants, Goliath, Millie & Tillie

Goliath is growing like a weed, he will eat out of my hand.  Millie is not as friendly but will eat out of my hand at times, Tillie, I think is pretty low on the pecking order so she doesn’t eat out of my hand, she hangs back.  You can see that Millie has a beautiful tail, Tillie has not much of a tail, that’s how I tell them apart.

Bitsie – Speckled Sussx

Bitsie, is my only Speckled Sussex, her sister, Itsie was killed by a Sharp Shin Hawk.  Bitsie was named because she was the runt of the flock, took her a while to catch up. Thats why the names Itsie and Bitsie.  She is a doll baby, one of my favorites.  She will let you hold her and talk your ears off.

Hope & Grace – White Plymouth Rocks

Hope is allot friendlier than Grace.  I think that’s because she had pasty butt her first week of life.  I never had a chick with pasty butt(pasting up) before, but thank goodness My Pet Chicken, where I got them from, tells you to look for it and how to treat it.  Not hard to treat, but the chick will die if not treated.  So, I think from all the handling she got, she became so friendly.  These two were name by my grandson Tyler.  If I stoop down to long when I’m out with the flock, Hope will jump up on my shoulder.

Lavern & Shirley – Easter Eggers

Yes, named for the TV show.  My 91 year old dad, named these 2, Lavern is the lighter (blonde) one and Shirley is the darker (brunette) one.  These 2 are not so friendly and are generally last to come out to free range.

Sweetie Pie & Honey Bun – Partridge Plymouth Rocks

Sweetie Pie was named first, as a chick, she constantly sat with me and I kept saying such a sweetie pie, so I named her Sweetie Pie, looking for a ‘friendly’ name for her sister, who also sat with me, not as much in the beginning, but now she’s the friendlier one, seeing her coloring was lighter than Sweetie’s, more of a honey color, I named her Honey Bun.  Honey Bun, will also jump up on my shoulder, she is my favorite.

Thelma & Louise – Gold Laced Wyandotte’s

Yes, named for the movie.  Wasn’t my favorite movie, and when these 2 were babies, they weren’t my favorites either.  These were my renegades, hence the names.  Thelma is the lighter one and Louise is the darker one.  Thelma is currently in the running for top of the pecking order along with Millie.  I’m not sure, whose going to win this battle, but for the time being, my money is on Thelma.  Thelma is even letting the cats know that she is top girl in the chicken yard, not them.  She chases poor grey cat all over, and poor grey cat, just wants to be one of the girls!

Here’s the pecking order challenge that went on yesterday, between Thelma & poor Grey Cat, then Thelma & Millie, then Millie and Goliath, I have no idea what she was thinking, then Goliath breaking up Thelma & Millie.  What a day! LOL!

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I hope you enjoyed the pictures and the story.  Sorry its been a while, hope it won’t be so long till my next post.  Feel free to comment, I love hearing from you.

 

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Today is a Bitter Sweet Day…..

Actually tomorrow will be a bitter sweet day, but todays my last day with my girls.  We have decided that for now we will no longer be raising back yard chickens.  It was a wonderful 4 years and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  We are going though some life changes, nothing serious, but that will be taking allot of our time and won’t be fair to the girls.  Luckily for me, I’m able to rehome most of them to friends.  The older ones are going to have to go to the auction 😦  Please don’t say anything, I’m sad enough.

Fred & his girls

Here are my latest pictures of most of the flock (you can click on them to make them bigger, no need to strain your eyes).  Due to the snow, some of them decided to stay in the hen house, most, did venture out on the path that my hubby made.

Fred and the flock Fred, not happy about walking on the snow Trying to get to the path without walking on the snow Autumn & Sunshine Flying not to touch the snow! Black Cat & Lillie My hubby giving the girls a treat Grey cat  & Lillie Grey Cat hanging with the flock Lilly trying not to walk on the snow The Chicklets

For sure my chickens DO NOT like snow.  My girlfriend Sandy is taking our rooster Fred and 5 of the girls, my girlfriend Pam is taking 2 young hens and little Pokey (Pokey is one of the last hatches and Pam is the one who donated the eggs)  I was hoping that someone would take young Corny, he’s going to be a wonderful friendly rooster, he loves being held, I have an emergency message into another friend with back yard chickens and hoping she can help out.

I will continue to post recipes to my blog and photos of any of our new and upcoming ventures.  So, please stay tuned!

Meet Saltie’s 6 Chicks

It’s been a busy summer here with our backyard chickens.  We’ve had a slew of chicks, we’ve had a skunk come in and kill chicks, we’ve had a friend give us a hen and 2 chicks and recently Saltie hatched 6 chicks out of 7 eggs….which during the broody processed ended up to be 10 eggs, 3 of which are in a borrowed incubator.  Also, we had one of Mamma Blackie’s chicks die from an unfortunate freak accident.

So, thats the low down on everything.  And now, meet Saltie’s chicks!

Originally when we started with chickens, we started with baby chicks which we had in the house under a heat lamp, like most folks do when they first start out.  So, our original 10 were the friendliest of all our chickens because they were human raised.  Mamma Reds, Goldie & Saltie are from those original 10.  They make the best moms and being the friendliest they teach the chicks to eat out of my hands, where the others don’t.  So, with Saltie this was a first for me, I actually lucked out and got to see one of her eggs pipped and videoed it.  In the video, the beginning is a little jumpy, sorry for that I was trying to focus my  phone in the dark henhouse, but make sure you have your sound on, the first chirping you hear are the 11 chicks running around outside, then if you listen you’ll hear Saltie in a very low soft cluck, talk to the chick in the egg and the chick responds.  Then you will be able to see the chicks little beak.  I was so excited to be able to see that, close up and personal.  Enjoy!

Salties egg pipping

Here’s a picture of the 4 eggs in the incubator.  I know I said she hatched 6 out of 7 and that she ended up with 10, but I never marked the 1st 7, so I didn’t know which one didn’t belong in the incubator.  I finally candled the eggs last night, 1 looks close to hatching and 2 look like they have a week or so to go and of course 1 needs to come out.  This is the 1st time I’m using an incubator so from what I’m told the outcome might not be good.  But at least there’s a chance.  The one that should hatch soon, if it does I will take it out and put it in with Saltie, I’m sure she’ll take care of it.  I will most likely do that with the other 2 should they hatch, unless someone goes broody in the meantime.

incubating

So here is how Mamma Reds chicks sleep at night.  Luckily my broody box is a triplex, I have the lid locked open and some of the chicks are roosting there, 1 has taken it upon itself to move to higher ground is is way high up on a little perch above the nest boxes!  If you remember back to my post I do Believe I have a Crazy Flock! Mamma Black was trying to move her very young chicks up to higher ground and they we’re not ready, so she moved herself up and tried sticking the chicks in with broody Mamma Reds. Eventually after Mamma Reds 7 chicks hatched she adopted Mamma Blacks 5 and Mamma Black moved back in with the flock.

 

So our flock count goes like this: 1 Rooster (Prince Charming). 12 hens and 19 chicks!  32 Total!  Wow!  And you know as well as I do, that most of those chicks are going to be roosters!  Take a look at the 2 I named Lucy and Ethel, now I believe its going to be Ricky & Fred… 😦  Look at the photos below (if you click on them you’ll see a bigger picture)  let me know your thoughts, roosters or hens??

By the way, Goldie has not been the same since the skunk incident (Sad Day in the Chicken Yard).  My poor girl.

I hope you enjoy my posts.  Please feel free to comment and tell me your stories with your backyard chickens.

 

I do Believe I have a Crazy Flock!

I do have a crazy flock, I’m sure of it, you’ll see as you read on but first I have exciting news!  According to my calculations they were 2 days early but they hatched anyway!  The 1st one didn’t make it 😦 I figured because it was 2 days early.  That evening chick #2 emerged followed by 3, 4, 5, 6 & 7!  Yup! 7 chicks out of 10 eggs!  Pretty good hatch if you ask me!  This is the largest hatch we’ve had so far, usually its 5.

Welcome the new little brood:

Welcome to our newest 7 chicks

Welcome to our newest 7 chicks

This is their debut photo, Mamma Reds with all 7, I know it looks like 6 but there are 7  but if you look closely at the photo, just above mamma’s head you’ll see a little blonde stripped one with a pure blonde.

So, mama and chicks are doing well, they’re a few days old now, well, actually a week today!  Wow, that week went by fast!  Total now we have 14 chicks, to recap, Goldie lost her 5 to a murdering skunk (Sad Day In the Chicken Yard, Help! This is What Killed Our Chicks, Killer Skunk), so a friend gave us a hen & 2 chicks(New Additions To Buddy’s Flock), which I named the hen, Fanny and the chicks Lucy & Ethel, though, I’m not sure if the names are going to stay that way, might end up Lucy & Ricky or Fred & Ethel… what do you think:

Lucy and Ethel

Right now I’m calling the one one the left Lucy and the one on the right Ethel,  at first I was thinking Ethel was going to be Ricky, but now I’m thinking Lucy is going to be Fred…. Any ideas??

Okay back to the count, then Mamma Black looked like her eggs we’re going to hatch(Mama Reds is Broody & Meet the New Chicks), so a friend gave me 2 freshly hatched chicks to put under her and 3 of hers did finally hatch…of course.  So she has 5, the 2 with the feathered feet are the adopted ones.

So there you have it, currently 14 chicks!  We’ve never had 14 chicks at once!  And for me, this never gets old! I just LOVE, LOVE, LOVE chicks!  Oh, yesterday, Saltie went broody.  I believe she’s on 6 eggs, I counted them, and I truly don’t remember!

Ms Saltie just settling in on her eggs right after I moved her down to the broody box.

Ms Saltie just settling in on her eggs right after I moved her down to the broody box.

By the way, the eggs are due to hatch on August 24th so stay tuned!

In the meantime, this is where the crazy comes in, let me know if this is normal, I don’t think it really is, but thank goodness Mamma Reds is an old pro at being a mom or I’d really be concerned.  If you remember reading my post Update’s On Buddy’s Flock, I introduced you to Mamma Black, telling you she was young and wasn’t sure how this was going to go.  Well, we know that she made it through the 21 days, pretty much without a hitch, there were a few stressful moments, but we got chicks.  Well, right before Mamma Red’s chicks hatched Mamma Black decided it was time to take her chicks up to the nesting boxes, they were only 2 weeks old, definitely not ready.  That didn’t stop Mamma Black from trying to sleep in the nest herself, she put her 5 in with Mamma Reds sitting on 10 eggs!  So every night for 3 nights I’d go in to check, MOVE her back down to her broody box and move the chicks back in with her, she finally got the point and stayed a few nights.  Then Mamma Reds chicks hatched and it started all over again!  What a mess!  Poor Mamma Reds looked like ‘REALLY’ … but took them in.  Everynight I still moved everyone back where they belonged.  The other night Mamma Black was up in the big girl roost with 2 of the chicks, looked at Mamma Reds, she seemed content with the new sleeping arrangements, so I left it go.

Nighttime

 

This morning when I went to open the coop door and let the chicks & moms into the broody yard, out comes Mamma Reds with all 14 chicks!

Mama reds with too many

Mamma Reds with more than her brood!

About an hour later went back out and Mamma Black was ready to go back with her brood.  Fanny is pretty much done with Lucy & Ethel.

So that’s the current craziness going on in Buddy’s Flock.  Is this normal??

Mama Reds is Broody! & Meet the New Chicks!

Well, last you heard one of my young hens went broody, she did really well at sitting, but sometimes was off the nest too long for my liking, well over an hour a few times, more like close to 2 hrs.  So, I was nervous that nothing was going to hatch, I tried to candle them but couldn’t see anything, and 1 egg did break which took her to 4 eggs.  On the day that they we’re due to hatch nothing happened, uggg, so I texted (is that a word??) a friend, Christine, who has allot of chickens and hatches some in an incubator at times, to see if she if she had any very young chicks.  She said yes, I asked her how young, she said just hatching!  WOW!  I asked her if she had any to spare she said yes!  So, that evening we went out to her house and got 2 newly hatched chicks and brought them home.  I stuck them under my mama with no problems.  Next morning I went out to check on her and offer her a little feed and water and the 2 new kids on the block came out to her calling them.  Curiosity got me and I had to look under her to see if there were any new chicks, No. 😦  So I pulled out an egg to look at it, no pip, listened, no peeping, put it back, pulled out another, no pip, but peeping!  So I put that back and left the other 2 alone.  I really don’t like to mess with the eggs when their that close to hatching.  Later that day I went back to check on her and couldn’t bear it any longer, lifted her check to have a little look and there were 3 new chicks!  Yeah!  The one egg never hatched.  So mama has 3 hatched chicks and 2 adopted chicks, 5 in all! And here they are!

As you can see, poor Goldie has taken on the role of Great Auntie Goldie who has come to help the new mom rear her chicks.  If you remember, Goldie lost all her chicks in June to a killer skunk (see Sad Day In the Chicken Yard and Help This Is What Killed Our Chicks), Goldie has been back with the flock, but just not acting right, I’m sure she’s probably going to go broody again, but maybe now with these new chicks maybe she’ll just help with the rearing and be okay.

2 broodies

In the meantime the day before these chicks hatched Mama Reds decided to go broody, her eggs are due to hatch July 30/31 and she is sitting comfortably on 10 egg.  She’s an old pro so 10 eggs should be no problem for her.

In the meantime, I want to give you a quick update on the additions to the flock we made on June 18th (see New Additions to Buddy’s Flock)   I’ve finally named them, mama is Fannie, the chicks are Lucy & Ethel, I think you can tell by the pictures which one is Lucy (the that has more red).  Last night they moved up to the big girl roost.  Mama is getting ready to let them grow up, she is already back to laying.  I find that sad when the mom leaves the chicks, the chicks are so confused.  How do you feel when your chicks are left by the mom??

Updates on Buddy’s Flock

I just want to give you a quick update on Buddy’s Flock.

 

First of all, we have a new broody!  One of my young hens went broody a few days ago.  She’s not a year yet and I wasn’t sure if she was going to hold tight to the nest.  We moved her to the broody box one night with just a few eggs, then next morning when I went to check on her, she flew out and didn’t go back.  That night she was back sitting on eggs, I left her where she was.   Next day, she was in a different nest but seemed tight to the eggs.  That night, once again, we moved her to the broody box, next morning she showed no interest in leaving.  Yeah!  So, she is on 5 eggs and they are due to hatch around July 11.  So stay tuned.

Also, I just wanted to post these extremely cute pics of our new mama (see New Additions to Buddy’s Flock).  Mama & chicklets are doing fine and dandy.  They are now separated during the day from the flock because Prince Charming keeps trying to ‘woo’ her in a not so nice way.  So for the time being, she and chicks are in the broody yard.

New Additions to Buddy’s Flock

Well, a new friend of ours, Bill, heard what happened to our 5 chicks (see Sad Day in the Chicken Yard) and he offered us one of his broody hens with chicks!  I thought it over for a couple days, tried to entice my gals to go broody by not picking eggs for 3 days, then decided to take Bill up on his offer.  Bill has a small yard and small chicken yard with at least 1 rooster & 12 hens (3 of whom we’re broody, 2 with chicks and 1 sitting on eggs, I wish mine would go broody like that) and he said he was willing to get rid of them because he felt he had to many.  So, late Monday night my hubby went over to Bills, and brought home a mama with 2 chicks.

We put her in the hen house on the floor in the corner where they all raise their chicks.  She settled in with the chicklets with a growl.

Next morning I went out early because I didn’t know how our flock was going to take to her, but really wasn’t worried to much, because you don’t mess with a mama hen.  I opened the door to the coop and my gals and Prince Charming came out, I looked in and mama and chicks were just fine.  I offered them a small bowl of starter feed and water and left them alone.   She kept them in the hen house all day, but walked them around and came close to the door.

New Mama & Chicks

This morning, Wednesday, she brought the chicklets out in the chicken yard!

Later today I went out to check on her & the whole flock was near her and Prince Charming giving her the once over.  You’ll see in the photos, Wuzzy, Prince Charmings favorite, was giving the new mama the stink eye, when she caught Prince Charming looking at her!

She’s a great mom, one of the babies got stuck and I retrieved her and mama was NOT happy that I was handling her chick and came at me.  She didn’t hurt me and all is well, she doesn’t know me yet, so its acceptable right now.  When we let the flock out to free range one of the cats followed my hubby and me into the chicken yard, mama hen was not happy and had the cat move on!

So, that’s the update on Buddy’s flock.  We now have 12 hens, 1 rooster & 2 chicks.  Stay tuned!