A couple of days ago Beatrice hatched 17 out of 19 eggs. By the next day the ducklings were raring to go, running around the yard and exploring everything. I think Beatrice enjoyed being out and about but she has a busy time ahead of her.
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 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 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.
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.
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,
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.
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.