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Bungles Chicks – 4 weeks old!

4 Aug

Bungle, the millefleur pekin hen is doing a splendid job bringing up her 4 week old little chicks.

It’s the most amazing experience watching your broody hen raise little chicks. From the day you put those precious little eggs under your broody to the day those little ones peep from under mum’s feathers to say hello to the big wide world is a miracle and fills your heart with delight!

So far, I have had 100% fertility and hatch rate out of my own eggs. Not bad at all I don’t think but really I need to say thank you to Mr Lemony Splicket and all my little hennies for doing such a wonderful job at creating such wonderful little chicks.

Raising chicks under a broody hen seems better for the little chicks too. They seem to develop much quicker, learn all the tricks of the trade from their wonderful mum and seem to make good healthy strong girls and boys and you don’t have to worry about that heat lamp! Mum does all the temperature gauging! Just fresh water with a little apple cider vinegar (helps prevent coccidiosis which can be a killer in chicks), a good healthy chick crumb (I feed garvo mini pellets which can be fed until laying) and clean dry bedding is all you need to think about when you have a broody hen taking care of you little precious chicks.

Here are some pictures of my recent hatched chicks. Sometimes, if the weather allows, Bungle loves to take them on a guided tour around the garden but I have to watch them…little chicks are very quick and quite flighty. Mum is never far away however. She has certainly disciplined her chicks very well!

 

You may see from the pictures that it looks like Mr Lemony Splicket has given us 1 little girl and 3 little boys!

Hopefully I have found a loving home for the little lady but I am seeking 3 loving homes for the baby Splicket Juniors if anyone is interested?

If you are serious then please take a look at the ‘Own Your Own Goofy Chicken‘ page

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)

Bungle hatches her first Chicks!

6 Jul

Congratulations to Bungle, the millefleur pekin who

successfully hatched 4 pekin chicks on 4th July!

Bungle began showing signs of broodiness on 17th May and it was clear those powerful hormones had taken over and this little lady was not going to give in until she had some fertile eggs placed under her!

A broody hen is a very determined hen. Her behavior can sometimes dramatically change from a sweet little angel to a squawking  and shrieking little terror, raising her tail and fluffling out her feathers should you attempt to go anywhere near her. She also spends hours in the nest box, making sure no other hen can enter to try and lay an egg. She lies flat like a pancake, her eyes focused as though in a trance. And worst of all, a broody hen will  most likely stop laying any tasty eggs for you! I have had 2 different experiences with 2 different  kinds of broodies.  Zippy was a very placid and gentle broody whereas Bungle was the terror broody!

"How much longer do I have to wait?"

Zippy, ‘The Determined but Placid  Broody Hen’

 

After many desperate attempts to try and break Bungle’s broodiness,  I finally realized that the hens have beaten me again…

I made up a soft straw nest in our rabbit hutch, perfect for a broody to sit on eggs in peace. Bungle was placed in the hutch for a couple of days with some pot eggs to see if she would settle which she did without a doubt.  Around tea-time on 13th June, I carefully put 4 eggs under Bungle.  These had been laid previously by Kojak, the buff pekin, the father being the one and only Lemony Splicket of course!

 

 

6 Week Old Chicks!

11 May

Another week has past…

We have had some glorious sunshine in the past few days and this has been the first time the little chicks have had their first adventure outside on the fresh grass!

Lemony Splicket was very interested in the little chicks…I think he sensed they were his own.

 

 

 

 

Chicks – 5 Weeks Old!!

2 May

Time is flying by so fast!! Days are hopefully getting warmer and the birds are singing the Summer chorus.

Meanwhile, in the chick brooder, the 2 pekins and 1 faverolles chick are growing well and full of mischief. The 2 pekins jump around each other whilst the faverolles chick, better known as Cheeks,  makes sure they all realize that there is only 1 top bird!

Thankfully, the days do seem much warmer now, so I am able to reduce the temperature in the brooder quite nicely and with the help from a thermostat, this makes acclimatizing the little ones a gradual and easier process. I am hoping that in 3 weeks time or so, the little chicks will not need any heat source at all, unless temperatures severely drop at night.

May has also seen me busy refreshing my 3 metre square run. It was a very hard job but I am pleased that it is now clear. I can start to see the little green shoots of hopefully to be a lush and tasty treat of herbs, grasses and clovers which the hens will adore. The bees and insects will enjoy it very much too!

After the sadness of loosing my last ex battery hen, the little chicks have given me back  my smile and keep my days very busy!  I am looking forward to many years of fun and joy with these little ones and one day they will become part of the flock with Lemony Splicket and his increasing henfriends, his much favorite at the moment being the delightful and very beautiful Maize Moo. However, I still think one of those pekin chicks is a cockerel and I will have to find him a home if this is the case. 2 Lemony Splickets would not be a good idea especially as I live up in a built up area! Not only would I have a fight for henfriends but also a crowing competition at the crack of dawn which would not please my neighbours! See what you think…

I hope you enjoy the chick pics. See if you spot a Lemony Splicket JNR!

 

Cheeks and the 2 little Pekin Chicks

12 Apr

Time flies by so fast…

Before I realize, 2 weeks have past and my 3 little chicks are growing strong. Thankfully after a traumatic time of hatching, sweet little Cheeks, the favorelles chick is doing really well. I have since learnt that Cheeks is an ermine faverolles so I will be really looking forward to his or her getting beautiful feathers.

The 2 little Pekin chicks are also doing very well. They are a beautiful honey colour and have so much energy. They will often run and play about, it’s so funny to watch.

I feed them on garvo mini pellets but I must say, I have had to use my food processor to grind the pellets to a smaller size as I was concerned they were a little too big and I didn’t want any crop problems. I have not given any treats like corn or mealworms but I will be very soon!

Tonight, the little ones have been fighting for a place on my arm to roost!! They are quite liking to jump onto my hand and earlier Cheeks enjoyed climbing quite far up my arm! To their disappointment, however, my tired arm would not stay outstretched for longer than 5 minutes and I had to say goodnight and let them snuggle back under the lamp!!!

 

Hatching Chick!

5 Apr

Hatching Chick – Cheeks

Well the little chicks are a week old today and they are already growing well!

The weather has been really cold here so it has been an ongoing battle to maintain the temperature in the brooder. I have been up and down all nights to check  it’s not too hot or not too cold! I feel like I am a Mummy again!

Today I have removed their towels now their little legs are getting stronger and put down some cozy chick bedding which they like to scratch in very much!

The pekins are very playful! They remind me of Lemony Splicket when he was a tiny chick! I cannot tell which are cockerels and which are hens yet!

We have named the favorelles chick, Cheeks! I think you will see why at the end of the video. She is so sweet. She had such a struggle hatching, I was very worried she wasn’t going to make it. But, this little chick is a true survivor and watching her hatch was very special.

I hope you enjoy the video. Unfortunately, it does not play on mobile devices due to Copyright issues but I am working on a solution!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VoG9i4ZcKYA

 

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!

 

 

 

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. 

 

 

Beak Ball Practice…

7 Nov

Well, as the days grow  much colder and shorter, the hens are not put off by their regular sporting activities. Today is the  start of Beak Ball practice and my favourite team so far appear to be the Ex Bat Hens who outshine Pekin Chicks and Cheeky Pekins. Poor Maize Moo, the millifleur Sablepoot, is getting a rough deal and appears to be  doing all the hard work whilst Kojak the Pekin takes all the glory, snatching mealworms from under Maize Moo’s beak. Pekin Chicks, on the other hand, are needing further practice and hopefully Mummy Zippy will encourage her chicks to perform better. Lemony Splicket, the cockerel, is a slow learner but his growing size may eventually be in his favour.