Thursday, May 27, 2010

Finally a Good hatch

I figured out the King Suro. The digital readout on the temp is off by 3 degrees. After checking it against a trusted thermometer, I ran it at 102.5. The first hatched the night of day 20 and the last this morning which is day 22. That makes their Birthday is the same as DOT'S.

Now that I finally have the Suro figured out, I am putting it up for the season. LOL !!! Whatever else I hatch can be done by hens, I am dealing with 20+ broodies on empty nests.

Fertility and Hatch Rates
Started with 24 eggs.

10 not fertile - didn't start.
***Either that is just a 60% fertility rate or I kept the eggs to long in this HOT house. Probably some of both. I may have to give some $$$ back to folks that bought hatching eggs if they don't get at least a few chicks.

Of the remaining 14, 10 hatched. - 72% hatch rate

Another is pipped but made no progess since early this morning. The last 3 are doing nothing. 2 of those were too thick to candle with my MiniMag. They may be infertile, which would raise my hatchrate.

If they start to develop but die it is a failed hatch and goes against the hatch rate. If the egg never starts then in falls to the infertile or old eggs and does NOT count in the hatch rate.

There were also 3 eggs under Momma that got collected a couple times. They got cold for several hours both times. 1 hatched and that just happened to be the ONLY standard cochin egg I set. It is from a Show Quality Splash hen(Nicolette) and a Show Quality Black Roo(Jerry), so the chick is Blue. It is the one with the really white chest and neck. You can even see it's feathered feet in the 4th pic.

SO ... Momma Hen has 11 babies. She is in the 2'x5' brooder box/house that she has used every year for the last 4 years. Thanks to the USPS for the nest box...HA.
Added food and water. Mamma was hungry. She gently got up and moved over. The chicks stayed where they were just long enough for me to get a picture. This is how they were spread out under the hen.
Then they followed.
The Broody box opens on the far end to let her and the babies out. The side panels come off for added ventilation as needed.

I thought I was careful to just set eggs from the blue and black Ameraucanas,
but seems I have an OOPS from a white easter egger. Must be some partridge in
their genetics or something that chipmunks the chicks.

I had a bad weekend and lousy week, but today has added some brightness to the bleakness. My birds are the best therapy there is. There have been times I wouldn't have gotten up in the mornings, but they have to be let out and fed. Then I just sit out there and let them drain the stress away. Can't fall asleep or they climb all over me and leave not so little gifts. :)

~~Matt~~

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Planning a Birthday, HenPals giveaway, etc...

I know everyone is going think I am crazy or at least crazier, but this is Dot. He is the first bantam I ever had. He is a mixed breed and weighs in at about 3-3.5 pounds. He is on the large size for a bantam. He will be 6 years old on May 26th.
I got his egg from my Uncle, who claims he "had no birds that look anything like that." Only 2 hatched from those 11 eggs and 1 drowned on the first day. I had hatched some standard Barred Rocks 2 days before that, so I picked out the 2 smallest of the standards and placed them with Dot. When a little older Dot was able to stay with all of the Rocks. That is how he got his name, since he was just a little Dot among all those chicks.

He is the man and knows it. He looks a little odd in that picture. He didn't know what I was doing. He was on the shelter looking down at me. He is friendly and I can pet him if he is at the same height, doesn't like people standing over him. He has the loudest crow I have ever heard and has no problem getting next to your ear and splitting an ear drum. He has been close to death a few times in his life. At 18 months old he got a fungal respiratory infection that almost took him. He has lost his tail feathers twice to dogs when he was in the wrong neighbor's yard. A Big Australorp rooster almost killed him. I ate that Rooster, no one messes with the DOT. A Cooper's Hawk flipped him, but somehow did no damage. He got in a fight with ChitterButt through the fence and lost ALOT of blood. You can see the old scars in his wattles.

Dot will be here as long as he lives. I always do something for him on his birthday. Last year he got a can of corn and a big handful of mealworms. He is at the point in age that he doesn't always share with his women.

Entered another GIVEAWAY:
I have put my name in for the HenPals Chicken Nesting Box Giveaway. Very generous of these folks to do this.

Baby Pictures:
Here is a couple pics of the current babies with their Mothers. The first is Pigie with the her 6 that were born on April 1st, 3 d'Uccles, 1 mix(whitish), and 2 Dutch. The only boy in the bunch is the medium sized d'Uccle. The little d'Uccle(Baby D) is just bossy.
Up next is Miss Blue with her 4 that were hatched April 27th. All are d'Uccles and I have not sexed them yet.Settling down for a nap in the grass.

AND one of the my pink pond Lilies finally bloomed.

Welcome to my RANDOM world,
~~Matt~~

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hatchery Birds vs Mareks and entering a giveaway

I think I have finally stopped losing teens. I ordered from Cackle Hatchery and will NEVER do that again.

At about 4 weeks old I sold 35 of them. Up to that time they were isolated and had never been in contact with other birds. I was selling a large portion of these chicks and wanted them 'clean'. I ended up selling 35 of them at the Salisbury, NC poultry show. I kept 19 for my future layers. A week or so after this the remaining ones moved to the outside brooder. They were let out on the ground during the day and introduced to everyone else. Around 8 weeks old the Australorps started going down with Mareks one at a time. I lost 7 of 13 of the Aussies and 1 runty Orpington. After the 4th was euthanized we stopped trying to doctor them. Once one showed symptoms it was processed.

Mareks is a viral form of cancer that chickens carry(cannot cross species). Something like 90% of the backyard flocks in the US have Mareks in the flocks in one form or another, but are immune. There are a couple strains of highly deadly Mareks, but the rest are just a part of the world. There are 3 types of mareks; the kind that causes tumors, the one that attacks the nervous system, and ocular(grey eye). A normal, healthy bird develops an immunity quickly. Chicks from unHealthy flocks that are heavily immunized for generation after generation are going to have problems with their immune systems. I have never lost this many and feel terrible for the folks that bought Aussies from me. If I had known they would have difficulty building a normal immune system I would have never sold a single one of them.

I normally lose 1-2 started chicks each year out of 30-40, but those are normally the ones that already have some wrong.

OK, back to the healthy ones. The rest seem to be doing well and growing normally. This was them a week ago.
They are fairly intelligent. They have learned how everything works. They are going in on their own and roosting at night up on the platform of roosts. The roosting took a couple weeks, but they went in on their own on the 3rd night.
I no longer let them out the front. They have to stay in the covered lot since a hawk came in and killed the Black/White rescue pullet. The lot and room under the house gives them about 30 square feet per bird.

For fun I am entering the giveaway at Laughing Duck Farm. I love reading her blog. I hope I can come up with something like this when I have 200 posts.

~~Matt~~

Friday, May 7, 2010

Growing babies and more flowers.

I love chickens and most other creatures. I think that is obvious in my posts and comments to others'. I also really enjoy plants. I have developed a fairly green thumb over the last few years. The following is just a bit of what I see/do during the day.

Here is Miss Blue and the 9 day old babies. The 4 d'Uccles are doing well. One has a curled foot that we tried, but failed to correct. As long as it has a good life it will be yet another PET. Everyone was under the house out of the sun, but came out when I sat the food and water out of the house. You can see Blue's head through the feed jar.She brought them out for about 10 minutes, but the babies don't like that bright, Hot, mid-day sun for very long.
Here are some of the Six 5 week olds. The only boy in this group is one of the d'Uccles. That means I only have 1 to find a home for. I may rehome the 2 d'uccle girls with him, but the 2 Dutch and 1 dutch/game mix are staying.Creamette is a lovely little Blue Cream Light Brown Dutch. She is going through 1 of many chick molts.
Here are a few of the Roses that are in bloom.A bloom on one of the Clematis vines.My last 2 Amaryllis flowers this season. This is the second season I have had these particular ones. I set them out a little late this year, they had already started the bloom, and they ended up a bit short.The Iris are my favorite Flowers that are currently Blooming. I have alot of the smaller Irises around, but the large varieties are sure showy. The 'peach' Iris that was so nice got destroyed a couple days ago. I don't know what variety this is supposed to be, but I call it my "Carolina Iris" due to the carolina blue coloring. This is the only one of this variety that is here. I hope to be able to divide it later.I have a bunch of rooster combs sprouting and a variety of other seeds in starter pots. As soon as I dig up Dad's mustard I will be spreading Zinnias. My Dahlias are coming up. Not sure what happened, but about half just didn't come up. Those need to be weeded this weekend.

We should be able to get the first Squash of the season in a few days. If it doesn't rain soon the first may be about the last.
Once again here is the guard Cat, well Kitten. She is 11 months old. The tailess, half starved, terrified kitten that was covered in ticks and sores has come along way from that 2 month old that got tossed out here last August. She is an outside cat and is fixed.I fell for the "belly rub trap".She was holding on and biting me. She got attacked by something a couple days ago. She lost alot of fur, but otherwise is fine. I think she may have tried to hunt something that she shouldn't have.

The rest of today's pictures are in my photo album on photobucket. Feel free to go look.

Hope ya'll enjoyed the pictures,
~~Matt~~