Zippy’s little ducklings!

25 May

Zippy the pekin hen has taken to motherhood once again like a duck to water!

This time, instead of brooding chicks, she is brooding 2 sweet little runner ducklings who hatched out last Saturday. Already the ducklings are growing fast and Zippy is wondering why her little ones are determined to splash everywhere, getting her and themselves wet through!

However, she is such a loving and caring mummy that she welcomes them back under her warm feathers to dry off.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M-sw38esupk

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

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!!

 

 

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!

 

A Difficult Day…

15 Apr

I am not one for hating Mondays, the start of a new working week, but I am making one exception to the rule and that is the Monday of 15th April 2013.

It started off difficult from the moment I woke up to check on my poorly ex battery hen, Ferb.

I had left her in a comfy bed of fresh straw the night before, hoping that nature would be kind, gently carrying  her into a deep sleep and easing her pain she had been suffering from of late.  However, for some miracle, Ferb was still with me. But it would have taken no expert to realize that she needed a little help and I could not wait for nature any longer.  Sometimes, it is more painful to watch an animal suffer than it is to help them on their way.

With much difficulty and with great heartache, I made the phone call to our vets. They were very kind and so understanding.

I said my goodbyes to Ferb at 9.30am on Monday 15th April. I felt some comfort that I had done right.

There will always be a special place in my heart for her.

 

Ferb, always made me smile!

 

Ferb in her prime!

 

 

 

Ferb – A very poorly hen

14 Apr

Before I begin to write anything, I want to apologize  for the sadness this post carries. After the previous joy from my newly hatched chicks, the past week has been very difficult for Ferb. Since loosing Phineas the same day my chicks hatched, little Ferb’s health has been on the decline. Although Ferb started the year quite well laying a few enormous eggs, she suddenly stopped laying mid March. Antibiotics, this time did not seem to help and I have watched with a tear in my eye, knowing all was not well.

Today, has been the most heartbreaking of all. I have been continuously watching her. I am afraid to say it is only a matter of time and I can only pray for her to go peacefully.

Tonight I have placed plenty of straw around her to try and make her as comfy as I can. For some reason, turning off the light startled her, so tonight, the light is left on for my dear little Ferb.

 

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!