Sunday, March 14, 2010

Just Bird News

One of our chicks in the incubator hatched today. It is so cute and already has a name "peaches" for being round, fuzzy and peach colored, lol. Two eggs definitely didn't develop, one looks fully developed but rotten, one is getting ready to hatch and the last is full of chick but not showing any activity yet, so we shall see. Definitely not such a great hatch this time around. Two to three out of eight. I think we tried them a little too early in the year. The eggs I am getting now are much more uniform in size and shape, have thicker shells and are bigger. So, I may try hatching a few more after I get done with a duck hatch (adding some new genes to my much diminished flock). Unless I am completely sick of taking care of baby birds, which is very possible.

My FIL has brought us a total of 16 chicks so far, 14 of which are still alive. I have a cage and two boxes full of chicks in my living room, keeping warm by the wood stove. There are too many to fit in the bathroom under a heat lamp, so if some have to be by the stove they may as well all be in the same place.

We are still waiting for Mocha's babies. She is so cute, dashing up the driveway every day. A bit frantic, all ruffled up, making her cute peeping noise. She scarfs down food as fast as she can, runs halfway down the driveway, pauses to groom for a moment then runs back to her nest under the in-laws front steps. I'm planning to try to coax her into the garden as soon as she comes out with the babies. I'd hate for her babies to all be eaten by bass or cats :(

I don't know what I'm going to do in a week or so when the chicks in the box will be big enough to be trying to fly out of the box. They won't all fit in the cage. I'm thinking we'll clean one of the horse stalls in the in-laws barn, but pine shavings in an empty horse watering trough and plug in a couple heat lamps. Our last attempt to brood chicks outdoors did not go well. The big chickens kept knocking over the heat lamp in spite of our attempts to keep it out of their reach. Chilled chicks are sick chicks and I spent a lot of time nursing, and losing, chicks. Don't want to go through that again.

The Wyandotte chicks spend an amazing amount of time scratching in their bedding in their little box. They seem to scratch a great deal more than the Australorps in spite of being a week or so younger. I hope it means they will be accomplished foragers :) The Australorps are extremely inquisitive and are always hopping up on Duckie's cow and craning their necks to look over the cardboard sides into the wide world of the living room. Peaches, in spite of being only a few hours old, is very feisty and is already drinking her water and snapping at imaginary bugs flying around her box (or maybe at bits of her fluff--chicks shed quite a lot the first day or two).

Well, that's all the news from chick world for now ;-)


shedhorn said...

What do you use them for? Pets? Meat, or eggs?

Matthew said...

"Duckies cow"

princessmama said...

Zac, all three. Although we'll see about the meat part. Definitely will go there if we end up with a bunch of roos. I think it will be a little harder with the ducks though, they are definitely pets. But same thing, if we end up with a bunch of drakes, they'll have to be dinner (which was the plan with the ducks all along)

Matt, when Ducky was all alone he slept with a stuffed animal for company. Keeps them from yelling all night long. Even after getting the chicks for company he often sleeps on the cow, so I left it in there :)

Matthew said...

Now it makes sense. Oh the wonders of context.

shedhorn said...

Cool, I hate duck meat but chicken is great.

princessmama said...

Muscovy's are closer to red meat than other poultry, and not fatty like other ducks. If they taste anything like emu(which is a dark, red meat), yum!