Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Finally not a chicken failure

At least not a, letting a hen hatch out some eggs failure. It's only taken four years, but it finally worked.
I pulled the incubator out and dusted it off a few weeks ago. The girls had ramped up their egg production and after all the botched attempts to hatch out and raise some chickies, I was all set to try again.  We have a White Rock roo over an assortment of hens. Easter Eggers, Australorps, Sagitas, ect. So basically I'd just be hatching out more barnyard mutts.
I think they want breakfast
So I unplugged the incubator, and decided to wait till we had a bigger coop, and have been scouring the internet looking for hatching eggs I can buy and have shipped in. I have ideas for projects. lol.

Speckles, my Austra White, tried last year and the year before to hatch eggs. Every broody hen has been dud. I haz a baby chickenz  Banty broody. While I was looking for hatching eggs, Speckles went broody. Actually the banty went broody for two days and then Speckles forced her out and took over. She had 15 eggs under her. I put some of everyone's I could gather for two days, and marked them with an X.

Well that worked out about as good as it had in past years. Someone decided they just HAD to lay their eggs there and in the ensuing shoving and pushing, eggs got broken and the unbroken ones got covered in goop. Most of the girls lay all over the place (under the tarp over the hay, under the tarp over the scrap wood in the drive, up in a tree...) so I just closed the gate on the coop after everyone came out to eat in the morning, and opened it in the evening for them to go to roost. Shoved a couple more eggs under Speckles and let it go.

I candled them a week later and what do you know, there was babies in those eggs. Woot!. I waited 21 days, but no chickies. Darnit. Candled them that night and I could see movement in the eggs, so I just waited. On day 24, there was two little fluffballs under her when I went out to feed and another pipped egg. I made sure to shut the door when I left for work.

Disaster struck while I was at work. I guess Phyllis the Banty was still holding a grudge from being kicked off her nest. She was in the coop when I came home. I don't know if she was hiding in the top roost box while everyone ate, or she flew up and jumped over, but Speckles was covered in blood, two eggs had been broke open and now had dead chicks. Speckles defended her hatched babies though. Still had a yellow and a black and yellow fluffy butt under her.

I had bad luck each time I tried to move a broody and her nest to somewhere safe from the other hens, but I figured I could still try. Speckles and her remaining eggs and her two little chicks moved into the rabbit hutch. She looked terrible. All the feathers had been plucked out of her skull and half of her comb had been detached from her head. I cleaned her up best I could with a pissed broody hen. She hatched one more chick out overnight. Another black and yellow. Candling that night I saw one more chick had internally pipped, but wasn't moving anymore. That was three chicks I lost.

I stopped at D&B on the way home to get some chewies for the dogs, and what do you know, they had Light Brahma chicks. How do you not think this chickens are beautiful. I wanted them forever, but I didn't want to pay $5 a chick plus shipping. They had them for $1.76 a chick, and no shipping. I bought 4 and brought them home to replace the chicks we lost to Phyllis. She adopted them right away. Today they were playing hop on Mom. 

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