Buffy hen hatched the 2 chicks last week, and had 19 eggs left. After 21 days of just sitting there, she is either bored, or maybe she knows the rest are not fertilized. Either way she seems to have given up the egg-sitting. Now there are only 8 eggs. She broke the rest and ate them (from what I could see it was just egg). Today I put the crate on the floor and let her and chicks out to wander. It has been warm enough that if there are still any upcoming chicks, they might hatch without her help.
My irises are blooming like crazy this year! Last year I lost a few stalks to the painter who was doing the trim on the porch. This year I have 4 good stalks all blooming at the same time. Yellowy green flowers in the front are Lady's Mantle, an heirloom plant from The Farmer's Museum.
Next is some pretty purple dame's rocket. It looks like tall phlox but with only 4 petals. It is an invasive weed in the mustard family that still looks awfully nice in the back 40.
And some really adorable violas the church ladies gave me for Mother's Day. My favorite color combination!
Last but not least, the biggest moth I have ever seen was fluttering around the front porch lamp on Monday night. Google tells me it is a Polyphemous Silk Moth. I can tell you it was YUGE!
I guess we missed on the 21-day hatch date, our fault not hers. Two of the chicks hatched yesterday. One looks totally blonde like mom (which doesn't mean anything) the other is mixed. It is possible that she, our only Buff Orpington hen, was bred by Big Roo, also a Buff. It is probable that some of the eggs she is sitting on are hers, so we will get some more Buffys. There is definitely a mixed bunch of eggs in there—17 hens, 2 different roos—so we will get a mixed breed bunch of chicks if any of the rest hatch.
The 2 chicks were out and about this morning, and mom had a hard time trying to keep an eye on them while still sitting on the remaining eggs (19 to be exact). I had to move the eggs, and then coax the chicks and momma into the dog crate which will be their home until most of the remaining eggs hatch, or don't.
It is still too cold at night to have chicks and/or eggs not under mom for warmth. Where they are now, at least they are all in one place, and no other hens can lay additional eggs in there. That's how we ended up with 21 total. Every time Momma left the nest box with the eggs, another hen would jump in there and lay some more.
There have been mentions of a wolf sighted up here, but I am not sure I believe it. We did just see what was probably a coyote bouncing through the weeds on our property this Sunday morning. Since he was coming from the direction of the chicken coop, I was worried, but at least he took off and crossed the creek going to the back. (The Husband checked. The chickens are fine.)
He (or she) was staring right at us with a big round face and red ears, looking more like a fox except easily the size of my dogs. I always thought of coyotes being skinny with long skinny noses, but I have never seen one staring me down like that before. This close-up coyote pic I found online looks just like the face I saw, but the body was much lighter in color, not much grey or black.
He came back about a half hour later, but the barking dogs sent him back to the creek again. At least I hope so.
Free-ranging chickens are always an experiment in danger, but I really didn't think a coyote would be hungry enough to come for Sunday breakfast.
I didn't note when our buff hen started sitting on these eggs, but we are thinking the 21 days are probably ending soon and we should start to see some chicks. Today I can see there is a broken shell, but she would not let me look around to see if there was a chick that came out of it. Could just be a broken shell.
And this is a roast pork dinner I made last week that The Husband thought was worthy of a picture. It is a little messy, not my best "plating", but it was pretty darn tasty!
On cloudy days there is no benefit to sitting outside in his favorite chair, so the WoodMan is content to spend sometime inside on the porch chair. This is my favorite handmade Adirondack chair that I bought on Long Beach Island almost 40 years ago. Wow. That makes me feel old. (And getting older yet on Wednesday...)
Second pic is MonkeyCat sitting with us on the same porch watching a thunderstorm rolling through. This cat has no fear! Big Bad Cyrus, on the other hand, was hiding in the bathroom. And WillieCat in the basement. All my big tough guys!
Susan the Horse Lady came to pick up 2 of our chicks today. She needed some companions for her one lonely hen.
Going to Cousin Greg's tonight for a little Memorial Day eating and drinking. Still cloudy, might rain, but always a good time!
The last time we had Buff Orpington hens, we sold them because they went broody. Their problem was that they weren't very good moms and didn't always sit on the same eggs, making it hard for us to remember which eggs we could sell or eat.
Not long after we sold them, a friend gave us 2 more Buff Orpington hens. 13 months passed and no egg-sitting, so I thought maybe these girls just weren't the mommy type.
So we bought 12 new chicks at the end of March figuring none were going to be hatched here. Now, just as those chicks are big enough to graduate from the garage to an outside pen, the remaining Buff goes broody. (We lost the second one to an illness.)
As of yesterday, Buffy Hen is sitting on 8 eggs. Since we kinda don't need 8 more chickens at this point, I can only hope they don't all hatch. Last year there were about that many and only 2 hatched, both roosters, so I don't think the survival rate is very good, but only time will tell. 21 days to hatch a chick. I think we are about a week into this.
These 3 photos of the grown up chicks are from Saturday when we moved them from their crowded box in the garage to an outside pen. They were still checking out their new surroundings when I took these pics. In the large photo: the 2 girls up front are the blue eggers. Mixed breed, so never sure what they will look like. The one on the right looks like one of our older blue eggers, the one on the left looks like a mix of the other 2 breeds that we bought. The black and white ones are Barred Rocks, the others are Golden Laced Wyandottes. This little redhead has the pattern of the Barred Rocks, and the coloring of the golden girls.
Keeping an eye on the BR behind the water bottle in the top photo. Bigger than the rest and already has the chin wattles. Hope you're not a rooster! We welcome all chickens here at Lester's Flat, but we already have 2 roosters, and only the well behaved ones get to stay forever.
White one was born May 3 (or thereabouts). Little brown one just today. I guess the horses wait until the apple blossoms finally open to bring their kids into the world.
Apple blossom photos to follow as soon as we get some sun to show them off. I think this is going to be a good apple year, as opposed to last year where I think we had a total of 2 apples from our many trees...
The cat boys never get top billing, so in a quick post late at night, here are the 2 boys in the closet. Nothing like a pile of laundry to catch their interest... Willie left, MonkeyCat right. Their second best choice is when I am changing the sheets on the bed. Maybe pics will follow.