Thursday, April 28, 2011

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

I just detest it when someone says "do you want the good news or bad news first?"  Probably because I can never really decide but the logical part of me knows I should hear the bad news first so I won't get too excited over the good.  Then it spoils the good.  Who knows!  You will get to know the bad news here first because I want your heart to hurt, pause and then leave uplifted and hopefully happy.  Like a band-aid I'll get to it. None no not one of the eggs hatched!  Ok this may be worse news for me than you.  I feel defeated.  I researched, studied and researched more how to perfectly hatch. Stood vigil day and night; hand turning and recording temps, humidity and candling results.  Lost sleep lots of sleep and was preoccupied beyond normal with chicken embryos.  In the last days only four were developing and had hopes of hatching.  Three stopped developing shortly thereafter and the last is the worse.  It was chirping and moving the egg on Wednesday morning.  I'd chirp and it chirped back.  I just new by my lunch break it would be hatching. Lunch break nothing not even a chirp.  I hated that I had to work!  My gut said to open it but every thing I read said be patient to let mother nature do her job.  By 5pm I intervened to find that the shell was too hard for it to get out and it had suffocated!  So depressing but another lesson learned.  The other three I slowly opened and found very under developed but not before thinking I heard their suffocating chirps in my brain all night!

Warning: Dead inedible chick look away if you cannot handle suffocated unborn nature...
I still think it's cute...
No mom I did not bury them. I have grown.
Way under developed.

Enough bad news!

The chickens below are Bearded Belgian D'Uccles.  They are a bantam, small chicken, that is very pretty and calm.  They are heavily feathered with beards and booties.  They are considered rare.

Mille Fleur

We now have one of each of these!!  Both pullets (females).  Our Porcelain, Ivy is 9 weeks old and our Mille, Laci is 5 weeks old.  I actually found them and brought them home as a "surprise".  Upon seeing them it took Mike approx 30 minutes to name both of them and include them in the phrase "his girls".  Funny I realized then I had only named one chicken out of seven....  I'm ok with that because I just love that we have something we both enjoy.  Also I'm saving my names for the future cochin chicks I will have soon!

Ivy and Laci

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Tonight I made the girls spaghetti, spinach, peas, carrots and rice casserole.  You could say it was a hit!  I can't make my mind up if chickens like spaghetti because it's shaped like worms or chickens just really like pasta?  They were ripping it out of each other's chicken lips even though there was a whole bowl of it.  It was probably because I'm such a good cook!  My concoctions have been know world wide....

Head'n toward the suspicious bowl....

Boss chicken says it's ok....more than ok!

Disapproving boss chicken disapproves of your further intrusion. You may leave the food and go now.

In other news, I candled the eggs again.  For sure for sure we have five very nicely developing embryos.  Two others that look as if they are but have something that made me flag them suspect.  I removed three others tonight that weren't developing.  Upon dissection one had stopped very early on and the other two were probably not fertilized or never began developing at all.  One week from today and we should have some new baby fluffy butts!  I am cautious but still very excited!

We (as in my husband) claims he is tweaking the coop some more.  I am not sure what all that entails but I do know he is putting a roof over the entire fenced area now.  Neither one of us liked that our chickadees could've been rained on last week.  Spring rains are coming soon too soon.  It's probably worth mentioning the roof was originally his idea weeks ago.  I was indecisive since we have different visions.  His is a talented for-seeing building vision.  Mine was the less work route the less guilt on my part vision.  He now points out the coop will not look perfect. Anyone with construction knowledge will realize the roof was an after thought.  So I won't notice or the chickens right?  Well noooo.  Well.....

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Cold Reality

I have lost a few incubating eggs. Several are still developing.  One egg that was developing quit for whatever reason.  Sometimes it's shipping that determines their eventual fate due to too much shaking I understand.  I dissected the egg and took a picture of the embryo.  It didn't make me too upset to lose it since I had suspected a problem.  I think the embryo looks like what has been portrayed as an alien.  If you look closely you can see little wing buds as well as the "alien" eyes.

Looks similar to something I would have begged my mom for in a quarter machine!

As you can see by the chart above my developing embryos should have feathers already and start to get into their hatching position!

Today, tonight and tomorrow the alive and kick'n chickens will be hunkered down in their new coop due to in-climate weather.  They will peep through their window if you go by saying "treats, treats..please?!"

Toes and Wings a Tap'n

I've been thinking of chicken music lately.  I came across this hilarious but catchy video...

If that isn't enough the last few nights and really for several years I've had this other catchy chicken song on my brain.  One elementary fun-night long ago....fade in fade out...   My brother four years and I eight were doing a cake walk.  Who doesn't love cake--right?!  When due to my luckiness he won!  Which cake do you want little boy; chocolate ohh I know the one with the jelly beans right right??!  Noooo he wanted a record not only a record but the small record.  (Records were donated by parents as prices to kiddos who could not have or did not want cakes.)  I'm sure due to the lack of donated records parents assumed only the doomed allergy ridden child of the class would choose this option.  I do remember my brother's decision being very quick and sure.  The small yellow record.  He was proud.  I was still thinking of jelly beans on cup cakes.  Oh well....  Upon getting home late and sugar laden he insisted we play his record on my mom's 6 ft "untouchable to children" stereo.  On one side was "A Cootie on my Bootie."  The other "The Cotton Pick'n Frick'n Chicken."  My mother's stern eye brow raised.  I was suddenly thrilled with my brother choice.  The shrill noise and rhythm that flowed through those speakers that night made me and my brother run around the living room like true chickens with our heads cut off only with no end in sight.  My mother quickly cut our party short saying something about our new record being dirty....raunchy?  She buried it in with the other small records in her cabinet.  I must listen to this since I shouldn't!  For years to come I would dig it out anytime she was outside or later when trusted to watch my brother even if for sheer minutes.  Both songs quickly became favorites.  I won't recite to you the "cootie" lyrics suffice to say that cootie as I later much much later realized meant STD on your *#@# gotten from the toilet seat at a dance club!    I still recall most of the words to both songs and would like to share the chicken one.  I've tried several times to find it on the interwebzs but it must have been a small obscure label....who would have thought?  My mother now claims ignorance to the real record's whereabouts.  Just typing the lyrics brings back memories of the two of us dancing around the living room in dance leotards (yes him too) acting like chickens!  I let you be the judge of it's "rudeness".  As a parent now I would like to know which one of my friend's parents donated this on the sly and laughed their *#@# off as my brother chose it......instead of a cake....with jelly beans!

Last night I came home and the barnyard was a mess
there was an unfamiliar feather likeness I detest
I said woman you've been run'n round that's very plain to see
cause those eggs that you've been laying don't look anything like me

That cotton pick'n frick'n chicken
he's back again
he's mess'n with my brooder house
and neck'n with my hen
I'm gonna pluck out all his feathers and put that fowl on ice
If he don't keep his fingers off my bird of paradise

Well I'm telling you that cock'll do anything he can
to break into my brooder house and make it with my hen
What literally made me think that he was up to no good was when he smiled at me and said
Hey boy she's finger lick'n good uhh huh

That cotton pick'n frick'n chicken
he's back again
he's mess'n with my brooder house
and neck'n with my hen
I'm gonna pluck out all his feathers and put that fowl on ice
If he don't keep his fingers off my bird of paradise

bawk baaa bawk
I like 'em baked, southern fried, by the dozen, on the fly
Bawk bawk bawk
Eat your heart out, son!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Spring has sprung

As I write this we are getting our first spring thunderstorm.  The teenage chickadees are tucked safely into their new coop.  The eggs are incubating in their 9th day.  They have been whittled down from 15 to 12 due to undiagnosed cracks or funky smells.  Either way I'm nervous for the young chicks outside and worried the electricity will go out and ruin the eggs!  In five of the eggs I can actually see the chick embryo moving around and their hearts beating!  The eggs I can see development in are the Silver Laced favorites:)

Candled Cochin egg with darkness being the chick embryo moving!

Finished coop!


Chickadees looking at me --"Hey what's up mom got treats treats?"

East side view (west side backs up to backyard garage)

Side view with door open to perch area.

Nosy Rosie!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Chicken Dream'n

I've been remiss in posting due to moving the girls in, turning/temping eggs, and oh all those chicken dreams and obsessions!  My hubby woke me accidently this morning and he claims I said frantically "there are NO chickens in the coop"!  This is here-say....  The girls have now spent three whole nights and days in their new coop!  I have spent three whole nights going out over and over again making sure they are still alive.  They are quite the gang.  I liken them to teenagers; still wanting the goodies from mom but not needing any smothering love'ns.  It will be a ninja raccoon and only a ninja that could break into our Fort Knox chicken coop mansion!
In between all the night trips outside I'm obsessing over the developing eggs.  We are on day 6--beating hearts and limbs already developed!  I've had to remove 2 cracked and STINKY eggs.  I also sneezed un-expectantly and dropped one!  It was developing so technically I aborted a chicken:(  I still feel bad about it.  Candling last night I for sure saw six of the dozen eggs developing right on time! The others I'm unsure of as their shells are so dark.  I will recheck in the next 48 hours.
I did find out I am not the only chicken crazy around.  I've met two yes two other ladies with the sae obsessions and loss of sleep.  We are going to organize a coop tour soon!

First sunny warm day in coop = freedom!

Almost finished! (pic w/ ladder to come)

Inside coop getting comfy.

Through the front door view.

Coop view through window.

*Note bossy BB roosting the highest immediately!**

Mrs. Cody growing still!

Checking out the nesting box. 

Incubator day one with top on.

Top off.

♥My personal craftsman and now fellow chicken lover♥

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Chicken TV

Yesterday was a big big day for us!  My husband finally admitted he really likes the chickens..... which is a good thing because I have 15 more incubating and scheduled to hatch on April 27th!  Most of the time he has already fed them before I can even check and he for sure has given them plenty of treats.  We have almost totally stopped watching TV shows and exclusively watch chicken TV.  It's more entertaining and interactive.  The dogs are a bit jealous but enjoy the outside time more.  The chicken coop is so much more than I could have wished for.  I'm almost afraid to use it as a chicken coop.  If we had really human children I can't imagine what my husband might build them!

Kemper & Kramer relaxing and watching the construction.

Today is officially day one of the Cochin eggs incubation.  So far my temp and humidity in the incubator are perfect.  I turned the eggs for the first time this morning and was pleased at how little time it took.  The temp only dropped one degree and was back up in 20 minutes.  Just 20 more days!

Monday, April 4, 2011

Chicken Talk

There has been so much progress on the chicken coop mansion as well as the chickens growing!  My husband is actually claiming his chicken now.  Many times of the day you can hear him talking to the chickens and them peeping back!  by the way his chicken, BB is the trouble maker and ring leader.

Trim, handles, shingles, perches and fence to go!

Trouble named BB!

Remember the Silkies have black skin and bones!  Look at those huge five toes...

The sweet one, Etta...

Mrs. Cody's the cuddle-bug.

Excited but ready for the Cochin eggs that should be here tomorrow.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Chicken Fever

Over the last few days we've had spring rains that have slowed our coop progress.  It has not slowed the chickens growing or multiplying.  I was warned chicken fever is very contagious!  We've purchased an incubator and have 12 Standard Cochin eggs arriving Tuesday!  I am so excite to experience hatching eggs and finally getting Cochins!  It should take 21 days total to hatch if all goes well.  Hubby is really getting into the chickens as well even though he won't admit it.  He went to the store and purchased live worms for them and still has his favorite, BB!

I screwed the nesting boxes together!

All doors are built.  Siding/insulation and roof to be completed next...

Mrs. Cody, Gertie and Bertie maturing but much slower than the Blues, BB and Etta.  

BB and Etta....
BB is probably looking like the overall boss lady and Etta's the opposite is very laid back.

The new incubator.  
This weekend I will be installing a fan on it and getting it tested and ready for Tuesday's eggs!