Friday, June 24, 2011

The Chick Experiment

Only one of our 8 eggs ended up hatching. I gave it until Monday morning, a full 5 more days, until I knew I had to make a change of plans! The kids and I went to the feed store and I purchased 3 of the youngest chicks I could find and brought them home. It was still pretty early in the day and Buttercup, as usual, was still trying to hatch her clutch. I reached under and took all her eggs and then one by one took each baby chick and placed it under her. I was so nervous. I wasn't sure what she would do with these new chicks.
 I stayed for about 30 minutes just observing her. The first time she saw each chick she would squwak and peck at it! The chick would run back under her to hide. I went inside for about 2 hours and then came to check on her again. Now we accepting of two of the chicks, but every time she saw the golden sexlink she would still peck at it. I wasn't sure if I was going to have to take that chick out, but I decided to give it a bit more time. By the end of the day Buttercup seemed much more at ease.
Today is Friday and she has had the chicks for 5 days now. All of the chicks are accepted and so cute. You can see Buttercup teaching them how scratch for food. She is up and moving around much more now. I feel like this way of "breaking her broody" was so much more fun than suspending her in a cage! It's really been such a learning process, but very rewarding. I never knew how much I enjoyed raising animals! I think I will let her raise them to about 6 weeks and then let my friend begin her own coop with the young ones. :)

Mottled Houdan and Golden Sexlink

Buttercup teaching her chicks how to scratch.

White Sultan and the chick Buttercup hatched. It's a mixed breed.

Friday, June 17, 2011

New Life!

23 days ago I put 8 fertilized eggs under Buttercup to help break her broodiness. Today one of the eggs hatched! They were supposed to hatch on day 21, but I decided to give it a few days just in case. This afternoon I went out to check and sure enough, there was a little chick under her mama! I was worried for the chick's safety in the big coop, so I fashioned a brooder for mommy and baby. I'm not sure if any more of the eggs will hatch, but I'll give it another 16 hours or so and see what happens. Here are some pictures I took of the brooder I made. It should keep the chicks in, but let mom out to go and forage for food as she needs it. I only hope that she will protect her chicks from predators, they are very exposed here. I may put the fire screen over the top at night, but we'll see. I'll talk to the feed store when I pick up some chick starter and see what they say.
 This is the brooder I used when we first got the chickens. I put a milk crate in the end with a towel over it so that Buttercup could feel like she's in a protected place.
 I wasn't sure if she would use it, but I put her eggs in the crate, then set her in the brooder and she went right over to them! She is such a good mommy!
Here is a glimpse of the new chick peeking his head out from under his mommy. I say "he" because I already suspect he's a rooster, but we won't know for sure for a few more weeks.

Our new baby chick! I'm so excited at my hen's first hatching!

Friday, June 10, 2011


It's 4am and I'm awake again for the second morning in a row. My mind just won't turn off. I dream about yesterday when I put soap on my grandpa's finger to work his ring off. I think of his hands, still warm, and how they won't hold mine anymore. My grandpa was my hero, the kindest, most gentle man I've ever known. I'll miss his jokes, I'll miss his black converse and his Alaska belt buckle. I'll miss the way he always took time for us grandkids when we came to visit. I'll miss the way he answered the phone. Even though I knew this day was coming, I couldn't ever be ready. I'm hoping that at some point I'll cry and let all this emotion out. His funeral will be in 5 days, maybe then. I guess part of me isn't quite ready to accept that he's gone and the crying might make that fact real. I'm not sure how to end my thoughts...I loved my grandpa...