The “Flying Pig” Blog
May 23, 2021 On March 7, 2021 I filled one incubator up a lot of eggs. I had hoped for a great turnout, but realistically I am perfecting the “recipe” of my incubators, to the room they sit in, the temperature and humidity. It is chicken science. The same day I find out that my first broody hen is sitting in eggs. No clue as to how many. Three weeks later, she hatched seven beauties which only one has her characteristics. #15 is a pure Swedish Flower Hen and is a great mother. She nurtured them to the ripe ole age of three weeks and then she was on her merry way to provide me with her daily eggs. Since they are still young, I believe I have four cockerels and two pullets. Yeah me. (Insert eye roll here). But they are fun at trying to figure out who is the hen and who is the rooster that provided me with these chicks. I was unable to see which chick hatched out of what egg, so essentially, I am at a loss. I know that #32, my only Heritage Plymouth Barred Rock Room only breeds with #23, a Ayam Cemani and you can really see this combination in the testy cockerel (second from right in photo). The others definitely have #33, the Ayam Cemani as the rooster as I believe he was the only one practicing during the month of March. I know I have one Wyandotte cockerel. And one AC Roo crossed with a Cream Legbar pullet since her hair is crested and her tail is all Legbar, but black. I can’t wait to see how she turns out. I think the other pullet might be full AC, but there is no way to determine correctly. Then a cockerel of Swedish Flower Hen hen crossed with an AC. He looks cool with his mulberry waddles. And the last one might be BCM cockerel but I will be patient and see. This phot is all of them getting comfortable prior to the guineas moving them off. Here is a photo of the 3/28 at nine weeks old.
May 22, 2021 Today was a beautiful weather day with sunshine, not too hot, light constant breeze and the first day the 5/12 Rooster Roulettes will be going to stretch, scratch and grow at ten days old. I purchased some low priced pop up outdoor dog run for a one pound dog and cut the bottom out of it. Used several landscape staples, a few bricks, set food and water and voila, outdoor playground for chicks. I have semi determined out of these roulettes that I have: two Cream Legbar hens crossed with a Swedish Flower Hen rooster, three Black Copper Marans hen crossed with a Cream Legbar rooster (which they all have a white dot on the top of their heads), and the last two are Golden Laced Wyandotte hen crossed with my Ayam Cemani. Here is a photo of the 5/12 at 10 days old.
May 20, 2021 Today, I have a second hen on the farm turning broody and has decided to make her space in the collapsable dog kennel inside the pink kiddie pools. She is #20 a Black Copper Marans with a silvery sheen on her chest. She’s beautiful and stubborn. I know from collecting eggs that I have two yellow ceramic eggs there for encouragement but really? So I’m guessing she is on her one egg she laid and the two yellow ceramics. I allow her to stay and see by night if she is still there or if she is one of the hens that take about 6 hours to lay one egg. I have not figured out if this new hen craze are the hens avoiding the roosters, lazy or this is just their “thing” right now. Night come to lock them up and #20 is still sitting. I feel awful that she is going to only hatch out one eggs, so I give her 8 additional eggs. She was great. She never pecked at me and she pushed each egg under her like a pro. Now wait on her one week later than #19. Here she is.
May 18, 2021 Peanut is not going to make it. It has no thrive to live. Sometime during the morning, I picked up Peanut to check him out and he died peacefully in my hand a few minutes later. Not the best way I care to start my morning, but it happens. The rest of the seven roulettes are thriving. The egg flock has been very productive and the roosters seem to be having way too much fun.
May 17, 2021 Peanut does not want to stay in the sling seat. I am placing him back in it about every hour. Peanut is still eating and drinking today. The rest of the roulettes are steadily growing and beginning to eat everything inside. By the end of the day, I had no idea if Peanut would make it through the night. I will see in the morning.
May 16, 2021 Go out of the house for errands and come home to one dead chicken in the brooder. Failure to thrive…survival of the fittest. I do not like it, but it is an unfortunate part of farm life. The egg flock are producing nicely. The cooler sunshine weather has allowed the Storm Troopers some great foraging around the farm. Peanut is now comfortable sitting in a makeshift swing made out of a COVID mask to rest the one leg that will not bend. Time will tell for it.
May 15, 2021 Peanut is still literally kicking. It sleeps like a dog with its beak on its leg. Now on to farm news outside. Every night I go out and close one big gate on the first chicken coop with 12 chickens. Then I go to the second coop which holds a variety (five Ayam Cemani chicks, six Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, six Rooster Roulettes, three guineas, three roosters and one hen). The AC and BLRW all live at the top of the ramp in the coop house and I installed a plastic fence gate for security. For the past few nights I have had to take my chick stick and coax them towards me so I can catch each one and place them upstairs. Not a problem with the BLRW and four of the AC. But then there is #47. Either a feisty hen to be or an arse of a becoming rooster. One, #47 is the fastest chick EVER! Two, #47 is very smart in dodging, hopping, weaving past me when I have my hands down to catch it. This circle play by play takes about 10 minutes every night. I made the mistake yesterday and forgot to put the coop door down, thinking they would not know what or where this hole would do. Wrong! All five AC went out, walked around the coop and four came back in. Cool, I have four that are smart. I was able to get them up and behind the gate with the BLRW. Then there was #47…..running like a road runner in the woods, under fallen trees, over branches, through limbs that I could not get near. Every step I took, #47 ran ten feet away in every direction. This went on for at least ten minutes. I stepped back and called Blaze, my guardian watchcat, he walked behind the coop and sat. I waited with the large gate open. Blaze moved about two feet towards the gate and #47 ran into the coop. Dang, I own a great cat! I closed the gate, closed the coop door and then began twisting in several circles until I was finally was able to get #47 in my hands. I held it for awhile, cuddled it and we had a little chat. I don’t know if it helped or not, but it made me feel better. Here is a photo of Blaze my farm cat.
May 13, 2021 I woke up to a hatched chick and gave it a couple of hours to get on its feet. When it didn’t, I had to take action and to make a long story short, bath, blow dry and placed in a sock on a heating pad in my lap. I nicknamed it Peanut. Peanut might have splay leg but is doing better. Second hatch of the day was the membrane of the shell stuck on half the chick. I soaked it in a warm bowl of water on a washcloth to easily have the membrane fall off. Now it looks like a black dinosaur in the incubator and will not stop cheeping. Time will tell for that one. As the sun sets every night for the past two weeks, I walk up to the guinea coop to wrangle up the six Blue Laced Red Wyandottes “BLRW” (now six weeks old) and the five Ayam Cemani “AC” (now five weeks old) to tuck them in the coop house behind a gate away from being attacked due to their small size. I have six Rooster Roulettes that are also six weeks old and they are twice the size of all of them. I believe this group has one pullet and five cockerels. I found a stick awhile back that I began to use to wrangle chickens. So tonight, there I am, with my stick attempting to get the BLRW and AC chicks from under the coop house corners and up the ramp, or catch them and put them behind the gate. This goes on for 45 minutes. Why? Because #47 a AC chick begins to run into and out of the woods with the Rooster Roulettes chasing behind it. All the while in my head I’m thinking….there goes a $100 chick. I walk fast with my stick in hand and begin to veer it away from the woods, it completely avoids either gate to the guinea coop and begins to run in and out of the chicken coop, not once, twice but three times as I follow #47 around like an old stubborn lady that won’t give up. The Roulettes have now seen #47 and begin to show their hackles face to face. I believe #47 is most likely a cockerel. My stick is definitely not working, I have one leg covered with, let’s call it mud, and #47 is still running everywhere while every adult hen, rooster and guinea supervise cackle and watch with no help. Finally #47 runs into a corner and I pick it up to hold it, tell him thanks for the exercise and that I won’t let the Roulettes get him. He gets set with the others and life is grand in the guinea coop house for the evening. That gate is not opening until the Roulettes are hopefully sold this Saturday. If not, they will learn a new coop to live in. Part two of my life….I also have a 5x10 covered dog kennel that I have converted for sawdust and hay storage that some of the hens have converted it to a few egg nests. So, yesterday #19 (a Golden Laced Wyandotte) has decided that the popular hay bail is where she is going to become broody over possibly four eggs of which two are ceramic. With lots of online help, I have added four more of today’s laid eggs, checked her leg band number and was able to remove one yellow ceramic fake egg. She was happy. Now, every night I pet her, tell her she is pretty and lock her in the kennel. Then every morning I unlock the door, pet her and leave a couple pieces of lettuce for her to snack on. Now we have a potential hatch date of June 3rd of Rooster Roulettes and will have to keep my eye on the extra four eggs. I am looking forward to see how good of a mom she will be. I have to admit, I feel muscles that I did not know I had now, so I must go to bed. But the kicker…….my husband watched the entire event from the porch!
May 12, 2021 The absolute joy you feel when you see new life born. It’s eggciting! Rooster Roulettes are my favorite because you can tell the breed of the hen by the color of the egg shell, but have no idea who the rooster could be until the chick is born. This morning, the incubator was to be be set on lockdown (those who don’t speak chicken-the humidity gets raised and you remove the egg rotator) but several of them decided against that. When an egg pips (the first peck of the chick breaking open its shell) the seal of the shell has been broken and changing the temperature with the humidity by opening up the incubator can result is egg death. So today, I opted to leave in the rotator, since two chicks have hatched healthy and several of the eggs are pipping. These two chicks will assist the other eggs hatch by walking over all the eggs and talking for the next day or so. Here is the first photo of the two coming out of their shells. Seven of them have moved into the brooder.
May 12, 2021 continued…. One of my coops has an automatic door and the second coop does not, so I have to manually open it. Once I picked up the brick to prop the coop door……one Golden Laced Wyandotte hen ran (more like a waddle) lightning fast down the hill. What is she doing? Where is she going? On sunny days I open the back doors of each house of each coop and sometimes prop the nest door open for more air circulation. A few minutes later I start my walk back to the house and stopped at the ‘dog kennel’. This dog kennel is a metal 5 foot by 10 foot with a cool roof that attaches to keep everything dry underneath. I call this my raffle kennel. I won this kennel for $4 and then had to purchase the roof….totally worth it. During the winter months, I store bales of hay, a collapsable dog crate and full bags of wood shavings that I use in the yard. Also I have two pink kiddie pools stored in there for me to make future dust baths for the birds. There she was, #19, on top of on one of the hay bales just scratching away. Hens have been using this kennel for the last couple of months to lay their eggs in the kiddie pool and on the highest hay bale. I figured she was just going to lay an egg next to the two ceramic fake eggs, so I let her be and leave. Later that day when I went to gather eggs (I usually go check at least three times daily) #19 was sitting. Really, you are going broody now. Do you not realize that you are on ceramic eggs? I checked once more before their bedtime and #19 was still there. I am guessing on two fake and two real. Let’s wait and see, so for now I lock her in for protection. Here is her photo.