Posts tagged clutch

A Rose Among Thorns

After waiting and watching for three months, we have discovered that little, blonde Sunnyside is the only hen from our latest clutch of six eggs. Five of those eggs hatched, four of them are dark grey or black males and she is the lone blondie and the only female.

Her lot in life so far has not been an easy one. For starters, she had trouble hatching out of her pretty blue eggshell. Two days after the first chick had hatched, her egg finally had pips around the center but progress was very slow. After the recent issues with the school incubator, we took action.

Here, FM is helping Sunnyside out of her shell. The membrane had adhered to her fluff.

Here, FM is helping Sunnyside out of her shell. The membrane had adhered to her fluff.

Her leg is stretching out.

Her legs are stretching out but she was completely spent with the effort.

After releasing her from her confines, we tucked her under Tweedle Mum and hoped for the best. All has worked out just fine.

After releasing her from her confines, we tucked her under Tweedle Mum and hoped for the best.

She was so tiny even after she had fluffed up!

She was so tiny even after she had fluffed up!

All worked out just fine!

All worked out just fine!

The first family photo

The first family photo (around 3 weeks old)

Around the two month mark, her four brothers began showing signs of Rooster-ness. Their first attempts at crowing was the gender giveaway. Little Sunnyside never joined in with her own party horn and we knew then that she was a hen and therefore a keeper.

She is not a pure breed but a mix of all sorts.

As with our whole new brood, she is a mix of a whole variety of breeds.

Our guess is that she is mostly Ameraucana because her blue eggshell, her ear tufts and her prominent tail. Hopefully she will go on to lay blue eggs of her own. She is cute, tiny and timid but is managing to hold her own among her aggressive, domineering brothers. Tweedle Mum has now kicked all of them out of the nest and out from under her wings. As a result, little Sunnyside spends a lot of time alone since she has not yet been accepted in to flock with the adult hens and she avoids the aggressive hassles from the boys. She is very curious but I haven’t managed to ‘scoop’ her yet. She is as fast as lightning and a talented flyer!

I have already nicknames her "The Lorax" because of her fabulous winged mustache!

I have already nicknamed her “The Lorax” because of her fabulous winged mustache!

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If You Can’t Beat ‘Em….

As reported in The Torture Chamber post, putting Tweedle Dum in isolation for a few days succeeded in getting her back into the routine of laying eggs and flocking with the others. But, one month later, she has become broody again. This hen is made to mother.

With our flock dropping down to an all-time low of 4 hens, it is as if she knows that we need a few more chickens running around.

With no rooster on the scene at the Queendom, FM called in on a work colleague and came home with six freshly laid, probably fertile eggs in a wide variety of colours.

These six eggs came from a farm with many breeds of chicken, resulting in the full rainbow of egg colours.

These six eggs came from a farm with many breeds of chicken, resulting in the full rainbow of egg colours. We may be so lucky.

The weather has warmed up significantly and it only drops slightly below freezing on some nights, so we are able to house Tweedle Mum and the eggs away from the other hens in the coop. To hatch a successful clutch, Tweedle Mum needs to feel safe and secure from predators and other chickens while she sits for the requisite 21 days.

Here she is immediately after we placed her in her new digs. She seems to approve of the dog crate housing.

Here she is immediately after we placed her in her new digs. She seems to approve of the dog crate housing.

The garden shed has once again become her broody pen but this time she is sitting in the lap of luxury inside a large dog crate, rather than under an upturned Costco vegetable box. Although we provide her with both food and water close at hand, she gets up only once each week to eat, drink, poop and preen. I check on her a few times a day and sometimes bring her a fresh garden salad of clover which she eats hungrily. The rest of the time she sits, flattening herself as much as possible to cover all of the eggs.

Tweedle Mum is our smallest bird and it is quite a stretch for her to cover all six eggs. Her wings need to be partly opened and her chest flattened below her.

This photo was taken on day 8.  Tweedle Mum is our smallest bird and it is quite a stretch for her to cover all six eggs. Her wings need to be partly opened and her chest flattened below her.

We couldn’t break this girl so now she gets her way. Go for it, Mum! Our hopes are high and we are trying to come up with 6 more egg-dish names!

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Chick-a-licious

Our clutch is now 8 days old and it is amazing how quickly these little gaffers grow! Already there are a few who no longer look like chicks and we definitely have one bold rooster – perhaps two.

Look at that cute little tail!  His tail (I'm convinced it's a HE) is the only tail so far in the brood.

Look at that cute little tail! His tail (I’m convinced it’s a HE) is the only tail so far in the brood.

When they sleep, they all pile on top of each other and truly snuggle. They often lay across each other and chirp contentedly as they drift off. Their sleep cycle is about 6 minutes before they jump up, run around, eat drink, poop and then sleep again.

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Not a beak in sight! When they are awake, they endlessly peck at each other, but all seems to be forgotten when they get drowsy.

As I said earlier, there is one that is showing all the signs of being a rooster. Firstly, his posture changed yesterday and his stance is now completely different from the others – with his chest pushed forward and his long neck stretched out.  He is far more curious about noises and our presence, when the others all shy away and hide. He is slightly darker in colour than the rest of the Chanteclers, making it easy to pick him out of the crowd.

Yesterday he became a cockerel in a matter of hours.  With his puffed out chest and his long-legged stance, he already stands guard of his flock!

Yesterday he became a cockerel in a matter of hours. With his puffed out chest and his long-legged stance, he already stands guard of his flock!

Some of them love to sleep and get comfortably stretched out when they feel a snooze coming on. But others resist the snooze and try to stay upright, standing or feeding, until they simply fall on their faces.

Resisting sleep as long as possible seems to be fairly common. We always get a chuckle when they fall asleep standing up, leaning on their beaks or tip over.

Resisting sleep as long as possible seems to be fairly common. We always get a chuckle when they fall asleep standing up, leaning on their beaks or tipping over.

I can almost hear you thinking, “Oh no. All she is ever going to write about is these darn chickens”.  But don’t worry. The novelty will soon wear off – I think.

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