Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Pictures ...

These 3 big girls found a dry place to take a dust bath.
Left to right: 'Gracie' a black Australorp mix, 'Hissy' a buff cochin, 'Brows' a black cochin.
Francine is a Bantam Salmon Faverolle. She is spoiled and was following me through the upper yard. She would be show quality except for her left eye. She had an infection under the inner eye-lid when she was young. By the time I managed to get it better the inner eye-lid was damaged. As a result it waters all the time. This makes a mess of her beard on that side, so we keep it trimmed off. She is a freerange girl and is filthy.
Dumpling is a Bantam Mottled d'Uccle. She was hatched from an egg that I got from Joanna W in Boone, NC back in April of 2007. She has gotten too white after her last molt and is now retired from going to shows. She never liked being in a cage for that day anyway.
Noel is a Standard Black Cochin. She is also enjoying retirement from exhibition. She will be 4 years old this summer. It was hard to get a decent shot. She kept walking towards me.
Bones is a very friendly Standard Ameraucana Hen. Technically she is an Easter Egger since she is an off color. She followed me until I finally took her picture. As she grew up she stayed so skinny. She no longer lives up to her name, since she is now fat as mud. She lays a beautiful Blue egg almost everyday.
Bella is a Bantam Blue Cochin. She is from show lines, but not a show quality bird. She is perfect as far as size, physical structure, and color. The problem is her feathers. She is just not a fluffy, loose feathered bird like she should be. No matter, she is another pet.
Ally is a Faverolle/Dutch mix. She is only 6 months old, but has been laying since she was 4 months old. The first pic shows her favorite nest box in the loft of the open sided work shed. The second is after she was finished. Little wing pulled out some of the feathers on the back of her head.
Francesca and Franky are a 6 month old pair of bantam Faverolles. They are going to show on March 6th in Salisbury, NC. Franky is forsale, but Francesca is NOT. Francine is their mother.
This is the outside brooder I have been working on. After I took these pics I cut and put on the back. I will put 2 doors in the back tomorrow. I hope to finish the front and put it on by Friday morning.
There are a 5-6 of these chairs around here. Dad has started making them. Unemployment/forced retirement is not working for him so he has to WORK. They are extremely comfortable.
That is enough for now....
~~Matt~~

Friday, February 19, 2010

Update on chicks and sad news

The shipped chicks are 1 week and 2 days old, though 2 days of that was spent in a shipping box. From Cackle Hatchery I received 27 Buff Orpington Pullets(girls), 26 Black Australorp Pullets(girls), and 2 Black Australorp Cockerels(boys). 1 of the Black Australorps was lost on Saturday. The other 54 seem to be doing well. They were settling down for a nap. Most were on this side of the brooder. The other side is about empty.



Sunday they will be going on Shavings in a new and MUCH larger brooder outside. They have good footing and no longer need the shelf-liner. I use it each and every time for chicks. This time I had to buy some new rolls, a few of the older ones were starting to fall apart.

I am sad to report that we lost Friz. I just didn't notice the abcess in time. Towards the end it was almost better on the outside, but what we didn't know was that the infection was already in her system. I tried antibiotics and she seemed to be about better, but as soon as she came off the meds she went down fast. You can't keep them on antibiotics forever and the antibiotics just slowed it down. Once they stopped the infection quickly traveled to her brain. One day she was 85% better and the next she was going fast and then started having seizures. By the end of the day she was almost gone. We have no idea how many seizures she had, but she was going fast. There was no saving her. To keep her from suffering anymore we put her down. She was a special little lady and will always be missed.

~~Matt~~

Friday, February 12, 2010

Chicks ..... LOTS of chicks

My Pullet order from Cackle Hatchery came today. 25 Buff Orpingtons and 25 Black Australorps. There are also 2 black Australorp Cockerels. I don't know if they are in the pictures, but they have green(food dye) necks. Click on the picture for the full size version.



All made it through shipping with no losses. There are a couple that may not make it, but the rest seem to be going strong now. As I was getting them out of the shipping box I could tell their yolks were gone. For those that don't know, just before a chick hatches it takes the yolk into it's abdomen. The chick then slowly absorbs it and lives off of it for up to 72 hours. That is how chicks can be safely shipped just after hatch.

Their brooder/box is at 95 degrees and most of them are quietly eating, drinking or sleeping. I had to lay a quilt over the top of the box to get the temps up to where I wanted them. Don't tell mom, that is the quilt she finished a couple months ago.

I know the current box is a bit small. Don't worry, they will only be in there for 3 days. Monday they will go out to the outside brooder, as long as I get it done. I just needed to the keep them in until they were over the stress of shipping.

Starting at 3 weeks old I will start selling most of them. I am keeping 15 for future layers and the 2 boys to produce more future layers.

~~Matt~~

Monday, February 8, 2010

Updates and postponed show

The Morganton Poultry Show has been Postponed until April 3rd. We were not able to get the cages, tables, etc from the storage trailer to the show building. Just too much mud. We were lucky to get the Hipp's truck back out. Their trailer is sitting in the mud for awhile.

Francesca is back to 100% and going strong. She has gained most of her lost weight back and will be going to show in Salisbury on March 6th.

Friz is recovering quickly. The scab lump that was covering the abcess came off yesterday. You can see where she had 2 puncture holes. We are all surprised that it was able to heal. That large of an abcess on such a small bird and in that particular area should have been the end of her. She is fighter and has healed nicely. She still sleeps in the house at night, but goes out most of the day when it is not raining.

With good there is always bad.

I have bad news about the 5 brooder babies. I lost Petie on Wednesday and Splenda yesterday. Petie was a blue silkie and splenda the white silkie. I have no idea what I did wrong. They were right at 8 weeks old. They just started sleeping all the time, got weak, and then passed. The 2 cochins and cochin mix seem to be fine. There were NO other symptoms. The only thing I can guess is a nutritional deficiency of some sort. I have raised a handful of silkies before in the same way and never had a problem with Starter grower and fresh water.

~~Matt~~

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Update on Francesca

The pictures were taken previously. I am just using them as reference.

She is almost better. I would say about 90%. She is exploring the yard out in the drizzle. She is one that could careless if it is wet and nasty. The Snow has melted quite a bit and uncovered the ground in areas. Francesca is out with Franky(her brother) picking around. She should be back to 100% in a few more days.

I will not be showing her at the Morganton show on Feb 13th. She lost quite a bit of weight from her trauma. She may have it all back by then, but I don't want to put her through the stress of being bathed and caged. For a bird that has never seen the inside of a cage, cage training can be a stressful few days.


Friz is also recovering nicely too. Her large abcess is about half the size it was and healing at a steady quick pase. She has been staying in the living room to keep it dry and clean. I have a medium size pet crate that she uses to sleep in. I put too many shavings in yesterday and she pushed most of them out but what SHE wanted. I was left to clean the mess. Shavings do not come out of carpet easily.

She was already spoiled, now she is a spoiled rotten house chicken. Well, at least for a few more days.

~~Matt~~

Monday, February 1, 2010

Tired of Winter

Please make the snow go AWAY. We haven't gotten as much as others, but it is more then a normal winter here in the foothills of NC and we are expecting more this coming Friday. Also the cold can go away too, that junk makes for so much work. Having to go out every 2 hours to defrost waterers is irritating enough, but having to walk through snow is exhausting.

The current white junk has delayed work that I MUST get done. I am expecting 50+ chicks come the end of next week. I have to get the outside brooder done. It is currently covered and being used as a shelter for the freeranging bantams' food. This also gives then a good size area that is DRY.

About half the birds will not come out of their houses. Good thing I built most of the houses to open wide on one end. That way I can just put their food and water inside and they still get the fresh air and sunshine. The largest group that will not exit is Dot and his flock of mutts. Dot stepped too far out his house today and touched the snow. He lifted his foot and started growling, yes chickens can growl. He HATES snow. He went back into the house and started crowing at me.

This is an old Picture, but Dot hasn't changed much. He got some frost bite last year and lost about an eigth of an inch off of each of his spikes and the short spike(3rd from the back) was lost completely. He is my original Bantam. He is the very first bantam I ever had. He is a mixed breed. He will be 6 years old on May 26, 2010. This picture doesn't really do him justice. He has alot more buff and red, especially now after last fall's molt. The sun made the dark burgandy and black across his saddle just look black. He used to weigh around 2.5 pounds, but has gotten fat in his old age. He is about 3 pounds now.


Dot has 3 ladies that match him in color. Someone in that house is picking everyone's neck feathers out right under their wattles, happens every year. Click the pictures for full size views.


First is Caramel, then Nougat, and last is Peanut. Caramel is Nougat's sister, but a year older at 4 years old. Peanut is Caramel's Daughter, and is the same age as Nougat(3 years old). In fact they were hatched the same day and raised together. I better stop there or I will go into extreme detail on the entire family history of all of them and my beautiful Snickers that I lost in 2008. She was the first hen that matched Dot, except the lack of feathers on her legs. He is her father and the Daddy to all those pictured. It is called line breeding. If you didn't notice their names came from daughter/grandaughter relation to Snickers.

This is Snickers on January 27, 2007. She was a professional shoulder walker.

Went a bit off subject there. Thanks for taking the trip with me. I still can't talk about my precious Snicks without tearing up. Just too much heart to raise chickens.

~~Matt~~