Friday, 24 June 2011

Final tally on chicks

We finished up with 10 chicks, 8 Araucanas, 1 Bantam/Araucana cross and 1 Nankin. We lost 4 squashed by Bessie which were 1 Araucana and 3 Nankins. We had 3 eggs left which contained 1 undeveloped and 2 with dead chicks inside. This may have been from a time when both Bessie and Marje decided to leave the eggs in favour of their chicks so they went cold. So we have 90% fertility from the Araucanas and 100% from the Nankins. I already have an order for 3 Araucana hens and hopefully will be able to sell most of them I think we will keep the Nankin and Zinny. I will take pictures tomorrow.

We need to get another shed built for the chicks to go in at 8 weeks when they leave their Mothers. We may be getting a huge rabbit hutch from Dave and Denise down the road as their son has just split up with his girlfriend and she has taken her rabbit and gone back to live with her Mother. She doesn't want the hutch Ian built so it may be going spare. It is a 3 tier so we should be able to adapt it for the chicks.

Monday, 20 June 2011

More chicks

We now have 6 Araucana chicks altogether. Bessie who managed to squash 4 chicks now has 3 live ones so hopefully she has leant to be a Mum. She is still clumsy and tends to tread on her babies but they quickly learn to get away from Mum's feet. She trod on the youngest tonight, it was only born today and wasn't on it's feet properly yet. We managed to get it from under her feet. It should be running around tomorrow.

It was hatched at a time when Bessie was running around outside gobbling food, and it got a bit cold and limp so we got the hairdryer and blew warm air at the lowest speed on it for a bit. It did the trick as it's feathers dried off and it started moving about more. It's a problem that the nest boxes are higher up and once the older chicks are running about they tend to fall down into the shed and then Bessie doesn't want to get back in the nest. We solved it with the latest by putting her in the big indoor cage. What a tussle getting her into the cage. I had to fight to get her out of the shed. Once she was settled in with her eggs and 3 babies she was fine and settled down on top of them. I gave her a load of wheat and she was obviously very hungry and ate quite a bit, followed by some layers' pellets.

There are 4 eggs left, but one of them rattles so think the chick might have died. We will wait another few days to see if any more hatch. So far we have had 100% fertility from all the eggs, 4 squashed and 1 died in the shell. Pretty good going I think for our first attempt at hatching chicks.

It was a learning curve for both us and the hens. For example, we won't put Nankin eggs under Bessie again, although she didn't have them in the first place, but they kept changing nests and she ended up with them. In future, we would make sure when they are hatching they are under a Bantam.

Friday, 17 June 2011

Chickens again

Yet another chicken was poorly. Her rear end was bleeding so separatd her from the others as they kept pecking at her. Couldn#t find anything wrong with her so put her back with the flock overnight. Yesterday morning I checked her again and felt a small lump in her oviduct. I thought it was too small for an egg so gave her an internal exam and found a smashed egg inside. I pulled it out, checking to make sure I didn't leave any small pieces as it was very sharp, and was obviously the cause of the bleeding. I then flushed her out with several syringes of strong tea tree water as the egg was going rotten and had obviousy been in there a few days. It seems to have done the trick, no more bleeding and she is back to her old naughty self. Getting into the fruit gaden and eating the leaves of the raspberries. Then you have to lift her out as she hasn't worked out how to get back out herself.

Another 2 chicks have hatched, both Araucanas and Bessie has finally managed not to squash the latest. We tried to offer it to Marj, but she is out with her baby and didn't want to know so we had to put it back under Bessie as it was getting cold. Finally she has her own baby, hope it's OK tomorrow. We might lose all the other eggs (about 5 left) if she decides to take her baby out and about. Ginger was OK as her babies were both young when the Nankin and 3rd Araucana were given to her.

It's lovely to see the little chicks running round in the chickery with their Mums. We (Phil) had to build a new split run to keep the 2 bantams and chicks in. Marj (Araucana) was attacking Bab's (Bantam) baby, Babs was attacking Ginger's (Bantam) so the answer was to separate them. Tonight is their first night out in the chickery. it wasn't very warm, so I stapled bubble wrap over the mesh doors and gave them plenty of straw.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011


Another of our ex-batts has been poorly, she had an intestinal prolapse and although it was put back inside, I think the shock killed her as she died last night. The vet said he couldn't have done anything else. Cowslip is now running round with Zinnia over the Rainbow Bridge.

We have another Araucana chick. One of the eggs under Bessie started pipping so we removed it and put it under Marje who hasn't had any chicks yet. So far, so good. No squashed chick. Let's hope it continues. 6 chicks so far.

The new run is nearly done, only some of the roof netting to be attached and top doors made. Hopefully the bantams can go in it for good tomorrow instead of being removed at night.

Monday, 13 June 2011

New chicks

We have finally got some chicks from the Bantams and Araucanas who have been sitting for the last few weeks. We have 1 Bantam/Araucana cross born on 5/6 (the day Zinnia one of our ex-batts died), 3 Araucanas born on 7/6, 8/6, 10/6, 1 Nankin born on 8/6. We lost 3 Nankin chicks and 1 Araucana squashed by Bessie, so we took the last Nankin egg and put it under Ginger and the last Araucana chick before that too got squashed. Bessie keeps changing nests and was trying to get in the same nest as Ginger with her chicks so we brought Ginger inside in the big cage and the chicks were much happier.

Phil has been building a new run with the hutch as the shed, partitioned, as Babs started attacking Ginger's chicks. Ginger has been out in that this afternoon and the chicks have been out in their yard eating tiny worms and bugs disturbed by Phil. We need to get some more shade netting to put over the roof of the run to protect it from predators.

We still have some Araucana eggs under Bessie and Marje, but no idea if any of them are fertile. We will give them until the end of the week.

Update - Another Araucana chick is pipping. We have removed it from Bessie and put it under Marje to see if she is any better at keeping chicks  without squashing them. She is the only one who hasn't hatched any chicks yet.