Growing and Growing…

May 28, 2010

As promised, albeit a couple of days late, pictures of the growing girls. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to photograph them in the brooder box as they grow, take up more space, and are far too comfortable with the camera, i.e. they, particularly Joanie, like to peck at it. Hopefully, by the end of next week they will be in their new digs, enjoying the sunshine.

Growing Girls…

Construction has begun on Coop deVille. The girls are growing so quickly that completion can’t come soon enough!

We woke up in the morning to rain, a very unusual happening for us this time of the year. It seemed as though it was going to pass quickly, or at least I had hoped it would, but no…by 10am we had down-pouring skies and hail, which is almost unheard of for us in late May. Thankfully it passed quickly, and the area where the coop is going to be placed has excellent drainage. It was construction ready by the time Mr. CV’s brother, his wife and son arrived. At this point things began to move fast, so…

…on to the piccies!!

Quick Update

May 19, 2010

Everyone seems to be doing much better after the initial, and hopefully only, round of antibiotics. They are all eating extremely well, especially little Ginger, and are growing in leaps and bounds. I swear, every morning I check on them they appear to have grown overnight, more feathers appear, and coloring changes. It’s amazing to watch.

Exciting news! On Sunday, Mr. CV’s brother delivered a truck-load of lumber and roofing material for the coop. I never thought I could get so excited over 2×4’s and plywood. This coming Sunday, Mr. CV’s other brother will come over for the day, providing added experience and expertise in building Coop d’ville. Huzzah!



 

Also, Mr CV has rigged this little setup, that allows me to raise the heat light a little higher each week. It’s a 6 week process to get the girls used to living with no heat light at all.

A Messy Subject

May 14, 2010

Peep, peep.

We have a sick chick, my friends, but hopefully I caught the problem in time. Two nights ago I noticed (we may be getting into the TMI area for some of you, but I know you are brave) that someone in the flock, prime suspect: Hazel, had diarrhea. This is not a good thing where chickens are concerned, so yesterday I high-tailed it to Kahoot’s, wrestled my new friend Lisa to the ground, and bombarded her with questions. Well, not quite. ;) Being the mother of some 20+ birds, she quickly calmed my fears. The problem could be caused by one of a dozen reasons, and at this point, when the chicks are so young, she recommended the easiest and best approach. Antibiotics. I was hoping to avoid using them at all, but I figure that we’re still a good 5-6 months away from egg production, so all the meds will have made their way out of the chickens by then. Consequently, Duramycin-10 is being added to their water, each day, at the rate of 3/4 tsp. per quart of fresh water. We’ll see how things are going in 5 days and then re-evaluate.

Now, for the fun stuff. Everyone is growing…of course! Even Miss Ginger is showing a lot of growth and Joanie has almost caught up to Hazel. Truffle is still the largest and still rules the roost, although, I’ve more than once seen little Ginger step in the middle of an altercation between two of the other birds. It’s a riot. “Alright, girls. I may be smaller than you, but my beak is sharp and I’m knee-high. Find yourselves a corner to cool off in.” She’s adorable.

All four girls have discovered their wings and have been practicing flying across the brooder. This morning when I went to check on them, I saw that Hazel had discovered the top of the waterer, perched like the Queen on her throne. It was then I knew it was time to put a roof on the box. Fortunately, Mr. CV had some 1″x1″ wire fencing in the shed, and with a few snips I fashioned a piece that fit perfectly over the brooder. Sorry girls…high flying will have to wait.

Queen HazelQueen Hazel


 


Truffle, who is looking more and more hawk-like each day.

Yes indeed.  The Ameraucanas are sixteen days-old today and Ginger and Joanie are ten.  The size difference in those six days is quite obvious, as hopefully the photos will show.  Amazing little beasties they are!  But, before I go on, first things first.  Names!

Chick A, most seem to agree, has markings around her eyes that gives her the look of either a Bandit or a Raccoon.  I couldn’t have agreed more, until a couple of days ago.  As her feathers are coming in she changes day to day; she’s come to look more like a hawk. The mask around her eyes is lightening.  But, I’m not sure it’s wise to use the words chicken and hawk in the same sentence, for obvious reasons.  So, I decided to go with something less physically indentifying, and tried to think of something that made me happy.  A lot of ideas swirled through my little brain, most of which didn’t apply to chickens or girls.  So, in the end, I opted for a tasty treat.  Hazelnut truffles.  Chick A is now and forever Truffle, and Chick B is Hazel. The coloring is perfectly right, too.

Onto developmental tidbits.  Feathers are coming in fast and furious.  Truffle and Hazel have lost almost all of their newborn fluff and are developing beautiful feathers and thusly much larger wings.   With those, they have decided that it’s time to learn to fly, and yes, my friends, chickens do fly.  Not very high, mind you, but they definitely get themselves well off the ground, getting from one end of the brooder to the other with just a single flap of the wings.  Four feet!

Joanie, and especially Ginger, are still much smaller, and their personalities currently match their size.  Joanie doesn’t seem to be intimidated by anyone, confidently moving about, and Ginger is timid, always the first to hide when my hand dips into the box.  Interestingly, Ginger’s feathers are developing much faster than Joanie’s.  Maybe she’s putting all of her energy into those.  She’s definitely eating well enough!

As for intimidation, Truffle McBossypants is most definitely ruling the roost.  She’s the largest of all the birds and she somehow thinks that gives her the right to be in charge.  She is; makes no bones about it.  When she wants to eat or drink you better get out of the way, as wings flap or feet get pecked at, ordering the others to step back and wait in line.  Despite that, when she’s done and the others come to feast, she leaves them alone to eat in peace. She’s also displaying more “grown up” chicken habits now, scratching at the bedding and making cozy little depressions to lie in.  Hazel is not too far behind.  Joanie and Ginger follow, cozying up to keep warm.

Ginger is hiding under Hazel’s wing. You can just see her little beak, peeking out from underneath.


 

Ginger’s pretty wings are coming!


 

Everyone is getting along.


 

Up close and personal with Hazel’s feathers.

I have been remiss. Indeed I have. The last few days have been unusually busy for me, which I suppose is a good thing. You are due an update, and I have one! A big one! Unfortunately, it’s just not written yet. So, in the meantime, I will introduce you to our mascot, drawn for me by my dearest friend, Jo, who lives in a very pretty corner of England. She must be named.  (The chicken, not Jo.) I will take one of your suggestions. :)

Red Letter Day

May 2, 2010

It’s been a busy weekend, full of gardening, chickening, cleaning (argh), and reading.

Friday was the day I had been waiting over a week for, as the Rhode Island Reds finally arrived at Kahoot’s. Nestled in with turkey and duck chicks were a couple of dozen pretty little girls to choose from. I looked for the most active in the group and quickly picked two. Interestingly, all of the chicks, only three days old, had already started to lose their fluff and show some feathers on their wing tips. The Ameraucanas hadn’t started until they were nine days old. Carefully placed in a small box, I brought them home to meet their roommates.

Was I surprised.

Adding the new girls to the brooder made me realize how much the still unnamed Ameraucanas had grown in the six days that we had them. They were at least twice as big, and I immediately worried that the reds were going to be bullied. Boy, was I wrong. Within a few short seconds of being set down, they charged across the box and stood in front of the older chicks, announcing their arrival. It was as if they were saying, “we may be small, but don’t think you’re going to push us around.” The Ameraucanas stood silent, stunned by these little upstarts.

I kept an eye on them for about 15 minutes, watching to be sure blood wouldn’t be shed, and when it was clear that all was well for the time being, I left them to their own devices. By evening, everyone was happily eating and drinking. But, there is no doubt that the reds are aggressive little girls, always pushing the larger chicks away from the food, wanting plenty of elbow, or should I say wing-room to munch.

The new girls were quickly named, even as I still struggle to come up with something for the Ameraucanas. “Ginger” was my first thought, which was quickly followed up by my friend, Maria’s suggestion of “Mary Ann,” but her husband quickly stepped in with “What about the redhead from ‘Mad Men?'” I couldn’t argue with that, as I adore the character of Joan. So, Ginger and Joanie they are.

Meet the feisty redheads…