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LAST CHICKS OF SUMMER......!!!
Fri 14-Oct-11
10:41 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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I'm not sure whether this is good news or bad but one of my hens has obviously gone broody without me noticing & now I can here cheaping coming from an ancient (& very battered) Edwardian chicken coop that I was about to start renovating). I can't get to the back of it to have a look at them because there is a huge tangle of brambles growing over the egg collection access. I hadn't wanted to cut them back because they had been loaded with fruit this year. Still now they are virtually finished I can brave all the thorns & get it cut back. I want to get the broodie & the chicks to a warmer place now the weather is getting cold at night. 

My hens are very crafty & determined to get their own way & as I have a lot of them it is very easy for them to fool me at night when I lock them up.

I think I could only hear one lot of cheeping & there definitely wasn't any yesterday so goodness knows how many eggs she had collected. I think it is the same hen who hatched the seven chicks earlier in the year. Luckily Dorkings or my Dorking X White Plymouth Rocks make wonderful mothers. I can hear her chatting to the chick & to the eggs....it always brings tears to my eyes to hear this. The cheeping of the chick & her replies will encourage the other hatchlings to break out of their shells. Nature is just so wonderful in it's complexities.  ponder  smile smile smile

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Fri 14-Oct-11
11:29 am
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Toffeeapple
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Aww, that is a lovely story!

I'll try that again!

Fri 14-Oct-11
12:02 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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I am so envious, my last attempt was no good as the eggs were not fertile. I so enjoyed the 2 chicks that hatched earlier in the year and watching them growing up. I really hope my broody hen does her stuff next year. OH keeps muttering about the pot for Bubble but there is no way my new boy is going, he has started a proper doodle and his feathers look grand. None of my family are for eatingpeace

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Fri 14-Oct-11
12:19 pm
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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I do eat my extra boys as nobody wants them. Dorkings are a dual purpose birds so they plump up well. It is not easy to do the deed as I am so fond of them & they are so beautiful to look at. I just have to keep calm about it & do the killing fast. After all I eat chicken & I am sure my boys had a great life.  I keep two roosters for my girls.

I find the plucking a real chore as I get older & more stiff in my joints so I now skin them.

Aly I wish you all the best with your birds...I hope you get lots more next year & that they are all girls.....!!  wave  smile

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Fri 14-Oct-11
12:50 pm
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Aly
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I have buff orpingtons who are also plump but I am veggie although OH is not. I admire you for doing the deed as that is after all what they are there for and have a good life. It is the exploitation of animals I cannot deal with and am careful what I buy to cook OH

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Fri 14-Oct-11
1:06 pm
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Hattie
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Aly, I totally respect your point of view.....I think we all make our choices over what we eat. I never thought I would be able to kill my cockerels but I suddenly didn't want anyone else to do it. I had someone to oversee my first effort, just in case I could not go through with it. I did 4 in succession & my teacher did no more than hold them to stop them from panicking. Now I do it alone & use a metal cone to keep them from flapping. It is very fast, a matter of seconds. I do thank them as I do it.....I think that is important; for me at least.

Buff Orpingtons are a good breed. Are you still getting a lot of eggs? Some of my girls are in moult, so have stopped, but the crosses are still laying well.  

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Fri 14-Oct-11
3:27 pm
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Hattie
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wave  CHICK UPDATE

 

About an hour ago I went down the garden to start on the mammoth job of cutting back the brambles & what do I see but Mama hen having a dust-bath outside in the sun surrounded by 10 tiny chicks.................!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!............... TEN fluffy balls. surprised surprised surprised   I just couldn't believe it!

I moved so fast & put clean wood-shavings into the old rabbit hutch I use as a maternity hospital & gathered up all ten chicks in a box. The hen was not fussed at all & strolled after me & the box of chicks; they all settled very calmly into their new home & I put down water & chick-crumbs. Mama is looking very, very smug & she has done a great job as I think 8 of them are girls & only 2 are boys. It is very important to me to see them just after they are hatched as the boys are much paler in colour in that breed. as the days go on they go through a stage when they all look alike as the first feathers appear. I can get it wrong but nowadays I am fairly sure of myself. 

I think she knew they needed help from me, to rehouse them where they would be safe & warm & where she bought up the last brood. 

Gosh, I am just so relieved & so proud of her.....she is called Julia by the way. 

laugh smile laugh

 

It also means I don't have to rush to cut back the blackberries & I might get a few more pickings....... cool   big_laugh

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Fri 14-Oct-11
5:25 pm
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Aly
Normandy France

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very envious now, what a lovely surprise and great news if most are girls. I want to increase the number of girls to keep up the egg supply. I do not want to go back to buying the pale imitations the shops sell!

I am getting occasional eggs but 2 are in moult and one is weak and only lays now and then. Ellie who raised the chicks laid 2 eggs last week, the first after the hatching but has stopped again. I have 6 girls one of whom is coming up to p.o.l.They all started last December when snow was on the ground. The ducks have also stopped which is a shame as duck eggs make a scrummy chocolate cakechef

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Sat 15-Oct-11
10:25 am
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Hattie
Bucks/Oxon Border

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Well Mama Julia & chicks are doing well in their new home....they are all very lively & very, very cute. I put a large windfall apple in the hutch because Julia adores them & this morning there she was pecking off tiny bits for her chicks & not eating any herself....!! It bought tears to my eyes.....all that mother-love....!  

I am so glad she allowed me to move them into somewhere warmer as it was pretty chilly overnight.  
I do have a heater light if it is absolutely needed but I haven't had to use it for years. I like to bring them up to be very tough & resistant to cold & it seems to work.   wave

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sat 15-Oct-11
1:25 pm
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Aly
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I left it to Ellie and she kept her 2 warm underneath her but that may be difficult with 10laugh

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Sat 15-Oct-11
8:13 pm
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Terrier
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Picture Nadine, Pictures!

Sat 15-Oct-11
8:29 pm
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Toffeeapple
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Yes, what Janet said!

I'll try that again!

Sat 15-Oct-11
11:55 pm
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Hattie
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I wish I could but I have no camera that works at the moment. cry Also the chicks would be impossible to photograph as they just never keep still¦.they are like wind-up toys. The only time they are still is when they disappear under their mother.  laugh

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

Sun 16-Oct-11
8:07 am
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Sooliz
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Bet they're keeping you on your toes, Nadine.  What a lovely surprise.

learning to love veg…..except celery :-O

Sun 16-Oct-11
8:28 am
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Hattie
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wave You are right there Sue. I have spent the last couple of days just watching them, they change so fast at this age. By yesterday afternoon I could already see real little feathers starting to appear on their stubby little wings....before that they are covered in fluff. I have spent so much time over the ten years I have kept chickens just sitting quietly watching them (sometimes I think I am turning into one). big_laugh

I have to be very careful as one of my neighbours told me he has had foxes visiting his garden every night & he is only 3 houses away. So far I haven't seen any evidence of them in my garden (they leave little piles of almost black poo around). Years ago I had a very bad attack by them & lost most of my chickens; I was heart-broken. monster

This same neighnour said to hang lengths of old heavy chain around the coops as the foxes are deterred by the noise it makes if they brush against it.  So far it has worked & I have been able to build my flock up. smile

 

Hope you are feeling better Sue?

 

"The beautiful is as useful as the useful...perhaps more so."

from Les Miserables

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