Sunday, June 28, 2015

Chicken saga and ducks on the loose

Big Daddy Roo and 3 young girls in the hay bales waiting for the rain to end.

We lost several chickens recently to unknown causes. Two of the older ones disappeared during the day, and we lost another 4 to an unidentified ailment. One has been in Chicken Hospital (our garage) for about 4 days, and she just died today.

(photo 1) At the end of May we decided to increase our flock by buying 6 more young chickens—Black Australorps about 2 months old. We kept them closed up in the duck house outside for awhile until I could set them up in the dog house out by the coop with a fenced area for roaming. I am almost ready to open the fence during the day, but I want them to get used to where they live so we don't have any trouble rounding them up at night. Soon enough I hope they will join the other free-ranging chickens in the coop.
(photo 2) Three of our hens have been sitting on eggs in the nest boxes—not where we would like them to be, because now the other hens are laying their eggs somewhere else and we don't know where! Last week 2 of them each hatched a chick, and the third one decided she was done sitting on eggs and rejoined her sisters. So at least the nest box is clear again, but there are a dozen eggs in the garage under the heat lamp trying to become more chickies. I don't expect that to work, but have to try.

(photo 3) So now we have 2 very protective momma hens with 2 new chicks. In the first day, the chicks jumped down off the table where the nest boxes are and I found all of them outside playing in the dirt under the big weedy bush next to the coop. I think they'll be OK with mommas watching during the day, but I lock the 4 of them up at night in a crate to keep them safe from critters and the other chickens.

(photo 4) Next day I check on them and the one yellow chick has been injured somehow. I put her over next to the mommas and they scratch in the dirt knocking her across the room where she gets buried in the hay and wood chips. Then Red Mom picks her out of the pile only to bury her again! What? I pulled her and put her in Chicken Hospital too. At first it looked like her one foot and wing were injured, now just the foot is curled under. It could have even been that way from birth, but I think not. The moms hurt her and I don't know why.

(photo 5) To add to the excitement, yesterday I picked up 3 Brown Leghorn chicks from the lady who sold us the roosters that were supposed to be hens. I thought I could add them in with the 2 mommas, but they attacked these little ones as well, so now they have joined poor yellow chick with the bad foot in the garage. That was probably a good move because it was very chilly here last night, but nice and warm in there under the heat lamp. The 4 of them get along just fine.

(photo 6) We let the ducks out of their pen for the first time today. One of them has a funky looking wing, possible birth defect. Hard to tell yet if they are boys or girls, but the lighter one looks just like her momma, and the darker one like dad.

Nice chilly rainy day and the only safe and warm ones are the 4 little chicks in the garage. Chilly here in the house too! It's the end of June. It just ain't right!

1 comment:

  1. Jersey Girl6/29/15, 6:59 AM

    They are all so cute! Good luck!