Sunday, March 18, 2012

Don't Count Your Chickens Before They Hatch

I know you aren't supposed to count your chickens before they hatch but I fear the worst for this batch I incubated.  Not a sound and it is supposedly hatch day.  I am hoping that I will go to sleep and I will wake up and a chick will be chirping tomorrow morning and it will be like Christmas (or Easter) morning!  But I don't think we got a great batch.  We bought some from a friend and later found out that Araucanas do not have a great hatch rate.  I noticed while candling several blood rings indicating that several had died half way through.  I'll give them a couple more days before saying good bye and removing them.

Matthew wants leghorn chicks but I'm not sure how I feel.  Leghorns are the ones with the big floppy combs.  They are brilliant layers (they lay white eggs) but they are prone to frost bite and are not always the friendliest.  I want something hardier and more weather resistant as well as nicer.  But the ones I want I have to order in batches of 25!  Can you image?  34 hens on 2 acres, free ranging all over the darn place?  I don't think so. 

Anyway wish me luck.  Hopefully I'll have some fluffy friends soon.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Snow Broody

So many people talk about their broodies as if they are adorable.  I am about to break this mold.  My broody Go-Go is not adorable.  She is mean.  She's the meanest of my chickens when she isn't broody.  When she is broody, she is a hand pecking, chicken biting, stinky jerk.  Picture this:  Flighty hen decides she wants to be a mother (even though it snowed for three days and is currently -3 C).  So she hops on the nest and bites any hen that tries to lay an egg near her.  She also tries to bite you as you repeatedly remove her from said nest.  Then once you've got her off the nest, she proceeds to have one of the largest, stinkiest poops you've ever cared to see or smell from an animal that small.  You try not to throw up and try to get her to go over to the other hens.  She then lays on the ground like a three year old taking a tantrum.  You pick her up and toss her over to the other hens.  She stands up so she doesn't faceplant in the snow.  You go back inside for a half hour and come out and repeat this process again.  At some point you will get so annoyed, you'll question whether strangling the animal might be slightly easier.  Okay... a lot easier.  But you try other measures like putting ice under her or poking her.  The ice melts underneath her and you get tired of poking her before she gets tired of being poked.  You give up and start the process over again the next day.

So yeah.  That's what I've been dealing with.  Have fun with your invisible babies in the snow Go-Go.  I have eggs in an incubator but I'm not giving them to her.  I don't have the space for a broody and if I let such a flighty hen raise the babies, they'll never be tame.