Retirement and the Mini Cooper

We just got four new  Araucana chickens so Kate and Anna, the resident chickens, have gone into semi-retirement. They have moved from the big chicken coop to the Mini Cooper that is in our orchard. They will spend the remainder of their lives enjoying the grass and the fruit trees.  Meanwhile our new quartet is settling in well and we’re looking forward to their blue eggs.

The Four Araucanas

Kate enjoying the view from the new Mini Cooper

 

Fart Eggs and Other Chicken News

The new chickens, Kate and Anna, are settling in well although there have been a couple of surprises. The other day I went out because Kate was doing a lot of squawking and complaining.

Kate the Rhode Island Red/Sumatran Blue Chicken

Kate the Rhode Island Red/Blue Sumatra Chicken

Kate is a much different chicken than our old Beulah. Beulah was a talker and I had many back and forth conversations with her. Kate is an orator. Loves to hear her own voice and it is pretty much a one sided conversation with her. She reminds me of the American election campaign where there is a lot of noise but not much substance.

Anyway, I went out to see what her problem was – apparently nothing – and reminded her that she hadn’t laid her egg yet. A couple hours later I checked the nest and found a very small egg in it.

Kate's regular egg and the small egg

Kate’s regular egg and the small egg

I thought that was pretty weird and headed straight for Google. I found out that it isn’t too unusual for young chickens to produce these eggs although it was the first that I have seen. These small eggs have several names – wind eggs, fairy eggs, witch eggs and fart eggs. They are all part of a young chicken adjusting to her new egg laying routine. After playing her little joke Kate is back to producing her large brown eggs.

In the meantime Anna has turned broody and spends most of her time on the nest trying to hatch her eggs even though I remove them each day and, because we don’t have a rooster, they are infertile.

Anna the Sumatra Blue/Rhode Island Red Chicken

Anna the Blue Sumatra/Rhode Island Red Chicken

Hopefully she will give up soon and enjoy the last of the Summer days.  Anna reminds me of the days when we had Banties running free in the yard. Every so often one would disappear and 21 days later come out of the bush with a clutch of chicks. They were always wonderful, protective mothers and fun to have around. Now that we are seeing so many more predatory animals around a chicken wouldn’t last long running free.

To give the girls a bit of variation I have created a Chicken Chariot. This wheeled cage rolls up to their coop,

The Chicken Chariot

The Chicken Chariot

I open the sliding doors and they hop in and I close the door. I can then roll it around the yard so they can dig in fresh grass or soil for the day. I still need to paint the racing stripes on it.

 

 

The New Girls on the Block

A couple of months back our old hen Beulah died of old age. It was hard to replace a good and faithful chicken like her right away so we waited until a couple of days ago to purchase two new hens. Our neighbour breeds chickens so we picked up a Rhode Island Red crossed with a bit of Sumatra Blue (Kate) and a Sumatra Blue mixed with a bit of Rhode Island Red (Anna).

They are named after Kate and Anna McGarrigle – two well known Canadian folk singers. Haven’t heard many pleasant tunes from our hens yet but we’re getting two eggs a day so all is well.

Anna

Anna

Kate

Kate

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus)

This guy has been sitting on a camellia bush right outside our bedroom window for the past two weeks singing songs to his reflection.  He starts at sunrise and sings off and on throughout the day until sunset. It is quite a pleasant sound, close to canary standards but not quite there.  Generally these vireos are quite reclusive so we feel honoured to have him around but a little saddened that he is in for a big disappointment when reality strikes.

Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) 2_watermarked 

Looking for Lunch

This little hawk showed up today to take a look at Beulah the Chicken and the birds visiting the bird feeder. Beulah was too big and all the small birds went into hiding so the hawk left empty beaked.

IMG_0013_watermarked

 

Looking for Handouts

One of four Steller’s Jays taking advantage of our bird feeder. It is a bit surprising they are still around this late in the season but the weather has been milder than usual. We also have a hummingbird coming regularly to it’s feeder which is very unusual for us.

IMG_0022_watermarked

Party Poop

The past few days the yard has been full of robins who are flocking together to begin their migration south. Things went very quiet when this Cooper’s Hawk showed up on Beulah the Chicken’s house – not a robin to be seen.

Hawk-Cooper's (Accipiter cooperii) _watermarked