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Archive for the ‘Chickens’ Category

 

Nessa, Kenso and Demelza - a happy chicken family.

 

Chicken Update

Our new chicks are now fully feathered and 6 weeks old.  Mum Demelza is still actively mothering the chicks who are becoming increasingly bold and independent day by day.

The biggest problem we have had has been the need to separate Tabbitha from the flock.  Tabbitha is a Leghorn bantam and sister to Demelza. Instead of becoming broody she has become increasingly agressive towards the chicks. After a week of Tabbitha waking us up every morning with her attempts to crow we needed to do something. A crowing hen will soon have all the neighbours offside.  Last night we swapped the chickens around placing Demelza and chicks in the new run and Tabbitha back in her old run – hazaar she has stopped crowing!

It seems that Tabbitha is turning broody but wants to brood her eggs in the coop she is familiar with.  Demelza and the chicks seem happy anywhere so long as they are together.  The plan is now to leave them separated until the chicks are three months old by which time I hope Tabbitha has passed in and out again of broodiness and should be ready to share space again.  Here’s hoping!

Tomatoes

The Roma tomatoes continue to develop with blossom end rot.  Other tomatoes are fruiting but not in spectacular bounty.  There is still a second bed to come on – but at this stage it is looking like another poor harvest with no surplus for bottling – fail!

Eating the Produce

Tonight I am making Potato, Onion and Cheese Pancakes with Sour-cream and Chive dressing.  There are enough tomatoes ready to pick to make a Butter Crunch Lettuce, Tomato and Cucumber Salad.

Butter Crunch Lettuce has again performed really well in our sandy soil.  My cucumbers have not yet produced fruit so I have swapped a promise of honey for cucumbers with a college at work.

Garden tasks for February

We have had extremely strong winds today so tomorrow will be spent tying up plants that have fallen over in the wind and assessing the state of the garden.  We have had rain in the last week but the garden is looking very dry.  I think it is too late to sow any more seeds but I would like to try another sowing of Purple King Beans.

I intend to visit the Market tomorrow to see if there are any Vegetable seedlings worth planting now. Otherwise the next task for February is to work out in which order the Chicken Coop will rotate around the vegetable beds and planning the planting for the winter crop.

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Mr Cornwall went out to the chickens yesterday to collected our daily egg and discovered that the chicks had already hatched.

Surprise!

All has gone very well – until this morning.

I was watering the garden in preparation for another scorcher when I heard alarmed chick peeps coming from the run.  Bad Aunty Chicken was standing on one chick in the middle of the run pecking at it – hence the peeps.

Needless to say we have separated Bad Aunty into her own temporary run.

Mum Chicken and both Chicks seem OK so far.

Happy New Year!

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Demelza settling in the new Potentials.

Demelza has taken on two more eggs to brood. A friend who is trying to raise two Guinea Fowl got home this evening to find that his broody had given up sitting – so he dashed the eggs over here to place under our faithful Demelza.

Tricky thing is that Buffys and Guinea Fowl have different incubation periods, GF a week longer than the Buffy so Demelza will only have to sit on four eggs until an alternative broody chicken can be found…

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Our chicken Demelza has gone very broody and as luck would have it a friends at work had some spare Buffy Bantam Eggs fertilised and waiting to go into her incubator.  We have never raised chicks before so this is a very exciting Christmas project for the Backyard Farm.

The 'Potentials' arrive home ready to go under Demelza - B1 & B2

We waited until dusk and then snuck the eggs under Demelza – who quickly resettled putting the eggs against the warm patch of bare skin she has plucked on her belly.  I know that this is athropomorphising but she seemed to be making little happy chicken noises, lol.

The Mother Hen - Demelza the Leghorn Bantam.

So now we wait three weeks.  I’ve been reading up on how to raise the chicks, so far it seems we need to:

  • Help Demelza keep the nest clean.
  • Make sure she leaves the eggs and eats once a day (books say some chicken can stare to death?)
  • Sprinkle the eggs with water in the two days before hatching (three weeks away) so that if the eggs have dried out at all the hatchlings don’t stick to the egg membrane.
  • Buy baby chicken food – crumble at the Produce Store.

We aren’t allowed to keep Rosters in this part of Urban Melbourne – so if the Potentials turn out to be Spike and Angel rather than Buffy and Faith – they will return to the farm on which they were conceived.  By the time we know if they are Rosters or Hens Demelza will not be too interested in them anymore.

So very exciting run up to Christmas here – it seems that spring brooded hens will be winter layers – this will help with keeping eggs available for the kitchen all year round.  Tabbitha is still laying and happy to be the boss of the chicken coop for a change.

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