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Happy Birthday Bungle, Bluey and Lemony Splicket!

2 Aug

Happy Birthday today to my pretty Pekins, Bungle, Bluey and handsome Pekin, Lemony Splicket!

A year ago I searched all over to find some day old chicks for my broody hen Zippy who had been desperate to hatch her own eggs which sadly failed. She was delighted when the 3 little chicks arrived and were placed under her, raising them like her own.

Now, a year old today, Bungle has her own little chicks to care for, Bluey had a short spell of broodiness but now laying well again and Lemony Splicket is charming all the ladies as well as being in fine voice…and producing 6 chicks of his own!

Lemony Splicket strutting his stuff!

Lemony Splicket strutting his stuff!

 

Bungle looking well, now with chicks of her own!

Bungle looking well, now with chicks of her own!

 

A small pekin but with a very loud call when she sees me or wants something!

A small pekin but with a very loud call when she sees me or wants something!

They certainly have changed since being little chicks. Bungle, who we thought was a cockerel, turned out to be a hen and Lemony Splicket turned out to be the cockerel! Bluey still was the smallest but has always been the loudest (even louder than Lemony Splicket)

Bye Bye Ducklings!

24 Jun

It’s been rather a busy time of late here at the Goofy Chicken HQ. A couple of weeks ago, we said farewell to our 2 Runner ducklings which were reared by our broody pekin hen, Zippy.

Zippy’s adopted ducklings have grown twice her size and she was getting rather tired of being drenched by the little dabblers! Fortunately, for Zippy, the Runners have moved into their new home complete with a much larger and deeper paddling pool to dabble and play in. They love it and the owners apparently have great fun trying to get them into their coop for bedtime…

After all the worry over the  young Runners becoming too attached to their mummy Zippy, all has turned out well. There is only just one last thing to mention and that is how well the adorable Zippy did raising these ducklings, bless her! Well that’s pekin bantams for you…they make the most wonderful and loving mothers of all.

Here are some reminder pictures of Zippy and her adopted young, always close by.

 

 

 

Zippy and Ducklings have fun outside!

26 May

The little Runner Ducklings are growing at an incredible rate!

Today saw some glorious sunshine and it is time to let the little ones and Mummy Zippy out into the sunshine for some fun!

I think Zippy is grateful she can get a little break as these fast growing ducklings are quite a handful!

 

 

Hatching Ducklings – Day 28!!!!

18 May

The day has finally arrived!!

4 weeks has gone by since we put the Runner Duck eggs in the incubator…

Just 4 weeks to go!

 

We candled the eggs at 2 weeks and found that only 4 were fertile.

On the eve of hatching day, a tiny pip appeared in one of the eggs…

 

Tiny pip, bottom right

 

The hours passed and the little crack became much bigger…

 

“Im a CUTE Duckling,
Let me out of here!!”

 

At 8.30am on Saturday 18th May, a cute little Runner Duck entered the world!

He was very sleepy (just like me) and a little out of puff after all that hard work but nevertheless, he was enjoying the warmth of the incubator and having a little snooze to recover! What a little cutie!!

 

Hello Little One!

 

A second egg out of the four had also began to pip. A good few hours passed and I started to worry. But by 3.00pm, the 2nd Runner Duckling had hatched!!! Yay!!!!

 

Little Sweeties!

 

Throughout the day, I have wondered backwards and forwards into the house to see if I can see any sign from the last remaining 2 eggs. Unfortunately, no sign of pipping can be seen. I turn the humidity up a touch and my fingers are tightly crossed.

Sometimes eggs can hatch late. I am not going to give up yet. There is still time. But for now, I have to give my 2 new little babies a nice warm, safe place where they can start their new life.

Zippy, the pekin hen, has been broody for 2 weeks. She has been sitting on 3 pot eggs, determined that these precious eggs which she has tenderly nurtured and loved will hatch into little chicks and grow strong and healthy. My hopes are to place the little ducklings under Zippy where she will bring them up and love them as though they are her own chicks. I just hope she does not notice they look slightly different to the chicks she has brooded in the past!

Tonight, at 9.30pm, I gently take out the 2 little ducklings from the incubator, placing the lid back on quickly to prevent too much humidity loss in hope the last 2 eggs hatch at a later date.  The little ones are strong and eager to see what is going on around them!

 

We’re off to meet our new Mummy!

 

C’mon We’re ready to go!!

 

Carefully, I reach in to take out an egg from under Zippy…

She has hidden them well and it’s difficult to find them at first. I feel I am being too slow and Zippy pecks me in disagreement that I am trying to touch her eggs. Finally I manage to collect all 3 pot eggs. I then gently lift the first little duckling and place it close to Zippy, trying to coax the little one to go under her tummy to keep warm. Zippy pecks in disagreement again and I worry she is not going to accept the newly hatched ducklings.

Clucking and pecking the little ones head, I wonder whether to take the duckling away from Zippy but I wait and watch, hoping that this will be ok.

Then, I  notice she is not actually pecking in aggression but instead is trying to pull the duckling towards her. The duckling is being a little slow and not sure what to do but Zippy is persistent and insists the little one must behave and get under her tummy where it is nice and warm. I continue with the 2nd duckling and the same scenario happens. Finally, after a little shuffling and grumbling, all goes quiet in the nest.

I go back after half an hour to check on the new mum and her babies…

All is quiet. Zippy is asleep and the ducklings are warm under her.

Now all I can do is try and get some sleep and prey that all is well.

Tomorrow, as the sun rises for a new day, I just know I will be up with the dawn chorus to check on how these little ones are doing!

Fingers crossed. I will keep you posted!!

 

 

 

 

 

Zippy’s Going QUACKERS!!

14 May

Zippy, my sweet buff Pekin wishes for little chicks again…

I tried to see if I could stop her broodiness as you can see but Zippy got the better of me again!

A week has gone by since  and the determination on her little face is increasing day by day as she nestles on some little pot eggs which I finally decided to place under her. Little does she know however the plan I have in store for her!

Day 24!

 

Sitting in my incubator are 5 potential Runner Ducklings waiting for day 28 to arrive. Zippy will have been sitting on her pot eggs for about 2 weeks when the ducklings finally hatch this Saturday, 18th May.

I am hoping to introduce the ducklings very carefully one by one at night when all is dark and quiet. I shall gently take out a pot egg from under Zippy, replacing it with a cute fluffy duckling until all ducklings are snuggled under their new mummy.

Broody bantams can raise ducklings well. It can, however, be quite alarming for the Mother Hen when her little cuties rush over to plunge themselves in water for their first swim! It will certainly be a challenge to see what Zippy makes of her new arrivals this weekend! A close and watchful eye will certainly be needed to make sure the new mummy welcomes her little brood of ducklings and cares for them like her own!

I am hoping she will not notice they look slightly different to the brood of chicks she raised so brilliantly in the past!

I do know one thing, these little Runner Ducklings will adore their mother if all goes to plan!

 

Good Luck Zippy!!

 

 

Easter Chicks!!

31 Mar

Happy Easter Everyone!

Maundy Thursday saw the hatching of my 3 little chicks. Lemony Splicket and Zippy are the proud parents of 2 beautiful pekin chicks who are today 3 days old. The 3rd chick is a very sweet Favorelles who had a fight to break out the shell. She is still a little weak but this tiny one is a true fighter. We have named her Cheeks as she has cute little fluffy pom poms either side of her cute face!

All 3 chicks are doing well. They love to play but then they get so tired they have to have a good long snooze!

 Now all I need to do is find names for the 2 pekins!! It is hard to tell them apart as they both look so similar!!

More clips to follow on the progress of these sweet little chicks!

 

 

 

Day 21 – Hatching Day!!

28 Mar

CHICKS ARE HERE!!!!!!

CHICKS ARE HERE!!!!!!

Congratulations to the proud parents! Lemony Splicket and Zippy have had their first 2 little chicks!

Today they hatched at approximately 9.30am, being day 21. They are sweet and mischievous, typical pekins!!

The favorelles egg hatched too at about 8.30pm this evening. She went through quite a long ordeal trying to break her shell.

Exhausted and tired from a long hard day and night, I’m off to bed now!!!

Tomorrow the chicks will be fluffed and ready to go in their brooder!

  Some pics to keep you going…..

Pipping Eggs – Day 21!

27 Mar

Although the day started in a very sad and upsetting way, my spirits were soon lifted…

Today, at approximately 6.30pm sees the start of Day 21! All has been pretty much quiet and I must say, I had started to get quite anxious that nothing seemed to be happening.

At roughly 3.30pm this afternoon, 2 of my pekin eggs began to pip! Then later, 1 of the favorelle eggs did the same!

It is about 10.00pm now on day 21 and 3 chicks are definitely starting their difficult mission of breaking out their tough little shells. I am still waiting on the 4th egg.

I am wondering if I will wake in the morning to see chicks running about in the incubator!

 

Watch this space and check tomorrow to see if the chicks hatch!!

 

Day 14 – Our First Incubation

21 Mar

Well, we are on the last week of incubation. Today is day 14 and I decided to get out my excellent Titan Egg Candler to check for growing chicks.

This is what I have found…

I would highly recommend using a good candler so you can clearly see an egg which is not fertile compared to one which has a little chick growing inside.

Out of the 14 eggs we had this is what we have left in our incubator…

2 Pekins, parents being Zippy and the delightful Lemony Splicket

2 Faverolles, eggs purchased from a local farm

Unfortunately, the Silkie eggs and Silver Laced Wyandotte eggs were all non fertile so we have removed them from the incubator.

Now, all we can do is wait and hope. After all, incubating can bring much excitement and also deep disappointment.

Monday is day 18 and I shall stop automatic turning and increase  humidity to 65%

 

Meanwhile, Mr Lemony Splicket is feeling very proud of himself!

Incubation…Countdown has begun!

9 Mar

After much hard work and planning, our old, dark and rather spooky coal shed has gone through a tremendous transformation into an Incubation Room. Once this was the home to a growing family of furry little mice. Sadly, they moved on to pastures new and the new coal shed feels much brighter and certainly less scary.

 We put in a window, added a mesh inner door and a new strong wooden outer door. After a good few coats of white paint, Andy, my very patient husband, provided the wiring for lights and electric. It was an incredibly hard task but well worth our efforts.

Thursday evening at 6.33pm to be precise, the last egg went into the incubator . It is set at 37.5 degrees C and reads a humidity level of 45%. Humidity will be increased to 65% on day 18 and the automatic turning every hour will be switched off. We have a oil filled radiator in there to stop sudden temperature fluctuations as this can also impact on hatching eggs. 

Fingers crossed for Easter chicks. If my calculations are correct, day 21 falls on Maundy Thursday.

What am I hoping for?

Well, in the incubator we have:

  • 3 Black Silkies
  • 2 White Silkies
  • 5 Silver Laced Wyandotte bantams
  • 2 Columbian Faverolles bantams
  • 1 Columbian Pekin
  • 2 Pekins (belonging to mother Zippy)
Hatch success rate can vary so much depending on many factors such as health of hen, incubation issues, fertility of cockerel and how long the eggs have been stored for and at what temperature. The eggs we purchased were fresh that morning. They were placed in a cupboard under my stairs at a temperature of about 20 degrees.

 

So, let the countdown begin. Now all we can do is wait. Patience is a virtue. The next 3 weeks are going to be such a drag. I have a feeling there will be a chair and hot flask of coffee beside me on Maundy Thursday.