Thursday, June 25, 2015

Cheep, Cheep from some different peeps!!

So it all started with my beautiful Marigold (RIRxSL) who at only 7 months old, and laying for barely a month, decided to go broody on me. After 2-3 attempts to "break" her broodiness, I decided to let her go. A co-worker told me she had an abundance of QUAIL eggs, so I asked if she would be willing to give me some for Marigold to try and hatch. I have no shortage of fertile chicken eggs, but I also have two other broody hens set to incubate 10 eggs between them.

So on June 1, we put eight tiny quail eggs under Marigold, in a plastic washtub, in her coop shared with 3 other hens. NOTE: The large white eggs are fake chicken eggs, for size comparison, and also kept with the others as a buffer from the full weight of chicken, versus a quail hen. My co-worker told me 30 days to incubate. 

Anticipated hatch date of June 30.

So here is the lovey Marigold, settling in for her first incubation/hatch.

Over the first couple of weeks, I had to keep taking other eggs out of her box. I think when she was on her daily break, one of the other hens was laying her eggs in there (despite having their own next box.) Unfortunately, some of the quail eggs were broken with the extra traffic (or jealousy) and we were down to four.

A week ago (around 21 days) my co-worker told me her (incubator) quail eggs were hatching (around 21 days!) Yikes! I moved Marigold to personal quarters in our basement on June 20.

This morning (June 25), as the past few mornings, I went downstairs and greeted her and listened carefully for any extra sounds ... SILENCE. I turned the lamp on and went out to feed the other hens. When I came back in I heard faint peeps ... could it be??!!

Before I knew it a teeny-tiny little chick emerged from under her, then a second one!

OH. MY. GOSH. CUTENESS. !! These adorable little peeps came out of eggs that are barely an inch or so long, so they are soooo tiny! Marigold is a Mama!! Hopefully two more to hatch.

Had to get my daughter to day camp, and myself to an appointment ... do you know how hard it is to leave adorable, teeny, tiny peeps?

Later this morning when I came home I checked in on Marigold and her babies. It was very quiet, but I started calling out to them and heard them under her ... after a bit out they came, one ... two ... and THREE!! The third chick still quite sleek/slick looking - so likely hatched this morning!

Here's "EENY" !!

Here's "MEENY"

There's a newly hatched "MINY"
And we're waiting for one "MO"!!

Chick Therapy. It's CHEEP (I so had to go there!) and it's effective! And I really needed it after the stress of losing my entire set of keys, with my collection of shopping tags, and two USB drives a couple days ago. Chicks ... chill... relax... repeat as needed!

And for size comparison to a chicken-chick, check this out ...

Pharoah, a brother of Marigold, hatched last September

One last pic of EENY & MEENY before I get back to work!

UPDATE: We have four out of four!

And we have one "MO"!!

Marigold in her private brooder box ... her food/water is upper left in front of her,
and I set up two bottle caps (lower right) with food water for the chicks to discover.
The extra water bottle with a nipple is overkill right now.

Monday, June 15, 2015

News from the Peeps - Week 18 - Laying!

The girls enjoy some free ranging time in the yard
G'day Third Graders!

Guess who's laying eggs?? Yes, your little chickies are all grown up and some of us have officially graduated to "HEN" status! Check it out ...

One of these eggs is not like the other ones ...
The white eggs are from us!! Aren't they beautiful?! The brown egg (from the other hens) is here for size comparison ... it is a "large" egg. The smaller white eggs (about 1.5 inches long) are what we call "pullet eggs," the first eggs that a pullet starts to lay (and thus she become a "hen") Within a day or two however, the eggs we lay are larger (the bigger white egg) and within a week or two will be close to the size of the brown egg!

Can you guess which one of us might have laid the egg? Yep, Henrietta on the left there ... her bright red comb and wattle are good indicators that she is ready to lay eggs. The girl on the left might have a week or two yet to go. Even though we were all hatched the same week, we develop individually as you can see. Maybe Henrietta got to the food quicker than the other one?!

The girls check out the "compost corral"
We've had a few opportunities to free range in the yard in the past couple of weeks. One of our favorite places to scratch around is the "compost corral" ... a big pile of compost and mulch (surrounded by straw bales so we don't make such a mess of it) and buried treasure!! Buried treasure you ask? You bet! There's all kinds of goodies in here, like food scraps, bugs, big fat worms, insect larvae, grass clippings ... it's a chicken buffet!! And when we get the compost all pooped in, scratched around and broken down ... it will make some great, nourishing topsoil for the garden!

Chicken "salad bar"
After some time in the compost pile, we then browse the chicken salad bar for our leafy greens and seeds, and more bugs! This is the life a chicken is supposed to have! It is sad to think of the millions of chickens who live in sheds and cages, with no sunlight, no compost, no dust bath, and no salad bar :(

Egg-u-cation: Because we get to live the life that a chicken is supposed to live, our eggs are much healthier than most of the eggs you'll buy in the store — higher in protein, lower in fat and cholesterol, and higher in vital micro-nutrients like Omega 3's. Eggs are the most easily digestible, and one of the healthiest, forms of protein you can eat! And you can do so much with them: scrambled, fried, poached, boiled, souffle, quiche, baked, egg salad, devilled eggs, meringue, french toast, milkshakes, mayonnaise ... and so much more. Y.U.M.!

Thanks for doing such a great job at studying embryology, incubating us and hatching us! It was so fun to visit with you as we grew. I hope you have enjoyed our adventure together!

Cluck, cluck from your peeps!!

Sunday, June 7, 2015

My baby girl is ten!

My baby girl is ten! Where have the years gone?!

She is smart, sensitive, caring & compassionate. She loves to swim, cook, craft, & sing.
She is self-driven, works hard, & something of a perfectionist (when she chooses!)
She has a great belly laugh when you get her going!
She is strong-willed, occasionally defiant, but quick to apologize & forgive.
She is a force to be reckoned with!

In honor of reaching this double-digit milestone,
we had a Girls Glamor Party to celebrate! 

Four of her best friends (H, K, F & M) joined us for an afternoon of nail-painting & photography fun, with lots of yummy treats thrown in.

Professional nail painting ...

Glamour photos ... 

Do you remember the era of the "United Colors of Benetton"?? (They still exist!) ... 
These spectacular kids would make a great poster for them!

T's best friends from school, swimming, & life ... a beautiful bunch of girls — inside and out!

This year's birthday dessert ... cream puffs & strawberries ... Y.U.M. 

The girls enjoyed a healthy assortment of tasty birthday treats!

I love you sweet T!!