Rocker Chicks

See that nub on her beak? It's called the Egg Tooth. It is how the chicks poke a hole in their egg when hatching. It will fall off in a few days.

See that nub on her beak? It’s called the Egg Tooth. It is how the chicks poke a hole in their egg when hatching. It will fall off in a few days.

Spring has sprung! What does this mean for The Little Reds? It means orange blossoms, baby chicks, and lots of maintenance. We were slated to have a Hell Niño for the record books. Meh. We had more than no rain. Which was very welcome, but not the onslaught we prepared for. Our citrus tress LOVED the extra water! We have had what seems like billions of blossoms and the scent is intoxicatingly heady. The bees are abuzz and the ladies are treating themselves to blossom baths.

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We have a different group of ladies than when I last posted. Only Florence and Henrietta remain from our original eight. Henrietta is going through the change, and has taken to crowing in the morning. Obviously, we have taken to calling her “Hank.”  One of our newest hens, Cloris Leachman, went broody about a week into her first laying season. Apparently this is what bantams do. Who knew? She is a stubborn gal and was not about to be broken of her broodiness, so off to Trader Joe’s we went.

Cloris Leachman incubating her brood.

Cloris Leachman incubating her brood.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg babysits whilst Cloris dust-bathes and grabs a snack.

Ruth Bader Ginsberg babysits whilst Cloris dust-bathes and grabs a snack.

Did you know the Trader sells fertile eggs? Yep. So if you’re not down with eating embryos read those labels. Last year we managed to hatch 3/7 of the eggs we put under Gertrude (RIP, btw).

Sadly, the only female of the three was attacked by a raccoon one afternoon, and the two dudes were invited to no longer live with us. I think I need a sign on our coop that reads, “Roosters: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.”

Two of the three TJ’s eggs under Cloris, are still viable and should hatch next week! Additionally, we found a breeder nearby who just hatched adorable chicks crossed between a Cream Legbar (like our Pat) and a Bielefelder. They are auto-sexed, which means you can tell right away if they are male or female. Hallelujah! So we hopped in the Space Ship and drove down to Bonita to pick up our babies. They should be hearty lasses and lay jumbo key- lime green eggs! Welcome to the backyard Alice Cooper, Bernadette, and Cecilia!

#entourage #bodyguards

#entourage #bodyguards

Our plan is to let Cloris hatch her two eggs and then sneak these gals underneath her her as she sleeps. Wish us luck!

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Dirty Dozen


Sweet sweet baby chicks.  We treated ourselves to three Easter Eggers/Aracaunas/Ameracaunas a few weeks ago.  Why?  As I mentioned, our sweet Lavender passed away unexpectedly.  Then a few weeks ago Fat Rosie started walking funny.  And she wasn’t fighting all of the other ladies for every.single.scrap.of.food. Which was very out of character and somewhat worrisome.  Then one day I saw that she had been in the nesting box for a very long time and that she seemed to be struggling a bit.  I assumed that she was egg bound and decided that once Rob got home, we would take the plunge and help a lady out.

Whoa.  Chicken insides are weird, man.  I gloved up and provided Rosie with some Aquaphor.  To my dismay, there was no egg.  Like, at all.  But there was a whole bunch of jiggly water-balloon happening.  I turned to the ever helpful Backyard Chickens Forum and it would appear that Rosie was suffering from ascites.  Which is no bueno.  I gave it a few days hoping an egg would magically appear, but her belly became more and more swollen and she was forced to sit down every few steps.  After further researching, I was confident that our poor girl was really suffering.  What happened next is Farmer Bob’s story and I do not wish to go into detail.  Let’s just say he’s still a little worse for the wear.  To help ease the trauma, we picked up these three sweet chick-a-dees from a guy in Mount Helix. They are feisty!

The three chicks put us back at our max of 10 birds.  Our full grown egg-laying ladies are Agnes, Prudence, Millicent, Florence, Ginger, Henrietta and Gertrude. The new babies are Olive, Elliemay Elmer, and Beverzulene.

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Elmer is leggy.  And has some big ol’ feet.  After our experience with GoldaLee/King Midas, I’m pretty sure Elmer is a dude.

 

But here’s the kicker.  A friend of Rob’s thought she might need to get rid of her chickens.  Rob offered to adopt them about a week before we bought chicks, but she thought she would keep them. And so we got the chicks.  And then she changed her mind again.  And so we have 12 chickens. Ophelia nee Oreo and Babette nee Butterscotch joined our flock in April.  Within 24 hours Ophelia had literally flown the coop.  A tale which probably deserves its own post. Welcome to the club, ladies.

 

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I think, for now, the flock shall be known as The Dirty Dozen.

8 Little, 9 Little, 10 Little Chickens

ImageOk, seriously.  We’re done.  For now.  I mean we’re done.  For good.  I think.

Why oh why would City Farmer’s Nursery have had baby dinosaurs chicks luring me in with their fluffiness?  I’m not really sure if it was the deliciousness of our lunch at Nate’s Garden Grill, but somehow I caught Rob in a moment of weakness and we brought home two itty bitty Buff Orpingtons.  It’s been a few weeks now, so they are finally getting their feathers and hanging out with the larger ladies during the day.  By night they sleep in a Rubbermaid bucket with ridiculously awesome upholstery fabric covering the top.  Again, this was an impulse buy so one cannot fault one’s husband for taking said awesomeness and placing it atop the baby-bird makeshift shelter.  Said fabric was on clearance.  It was on clearance.  Deep breath, it was ON CLEARANCE.

We seem to have been able to get the dogs accustomed to these little chicks and it seems like we can almost trust them with the chickens now.  They are generally more interested in the chicken accommodations than the actual birds, so we hope that’s a good sign.  See what I mean?1y2TmdUCG2yMgVr1uK0-AK6YNXv97Pn78ykWuAbT2_8

In fact, Poppy has made herself so comfortable around the chickens that she has become our egg-hunter.  Florence and Lavender went through an Easter Bunny phase and would only lay eggs down the hill, in an undisclosed, undiscoverable, ohmygodaretheyeggboundandgoingtodie location.  This was a bummer because a) the thought of dealing with egg bound chickens so early in the game was not on our list of fun b)we couldn’t find them c) we kinda got chickens for their eggs and d) their eggs are awesome blue and green and we might just maybe covet them a little.  So, as we kept the chickens in their uphill coop/run area for a week to try to reestablish nesting in the coop, Poppy did this.  Like four times.

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Bless her heart.  Scout, however, is less interested in birds or eggs, and more interested in sniffing every. single. footstep.

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We’re pretty happy with our little (ish?) flock, and I think they are pretty happy too.  They haven’t said as much, but I feel like they are trying to drop subtle hints.  Lavender lets Rob catch her every now and then, Florence is getting picked on less, Gertrude whispers sweet nothings when I steal her egg away from under her (or maybe you’d call it hissing).  I may be personifying a bit.  Yeah, most likely.  I’m pretty sure they have the attention spans of  goldfish  but look at this, I mean…GoldaLee and Ginger are just so sweet!  Could they possibly be any happier?!

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Oh, and as a final aside, I love this coop and the way it sits under the Tangelo Tree.  I foresee a broken arm or two in our future when Dude starts climbing  among them.  Ahhhhhh sweet suburban tranquility.

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