Monday, August 19, 2013

Mama Got A Little Carried Away

Some people know me as the Crazy Hat Lady.  I (almost) always wear a hat when I go to church.  I could probably count on one hand the number of times I have gone to church hatless in the past 10 years.  I like hats.  I have a fun collection.  People give me hats and I have shared a few with other folks as well.

Lately there seems to be a whispered rumor floating around in the atmosphere and cyber-space.  I'm hearing less of the phrase "Crazy Hat Lady" and more of the phrase "Crazy Chicken Lady".  After this past weekend I think we are going to have to quit whispering and just call it.  Yes.  I am well on my way to becoming the Crazy Chicken Lady.

Wearing something on your head when you go out there keeps spiders and other things out of your hair.  Yes, this is an old picture and my hair is much longer now.

For Christmas this past year Santa brought me an incubator with an egg turner.  WOW!  What girl wouldn't be thrilled to find that under her tree?

And doesn't everyone keep theirs in the living room bookshelf next to the baby grand??

In March we had a total of 8 White Leghorn pullets that we had purchased at the Co-Op.  We had 9 female and 3 male Buff Orpingtons (which quickly became 2 males when Mr. Marvelous got tired of them attacking me every time I went out there.  We're talking scars, people!).   I started 14 eggs in the incubator.  We had a power outage and lost all of them.  We also had 2 hens die of unknown causes.  In April I started 18 eggs in the incubator.  None of them hatched, probably because I still wasn't getting everything according to directions.  Oops.

May 16th I set 12 eggs and followed the directions METICULOUSLY.  To the point I was getting up in the middle of the night for the first week to make sure that the temperatures and humidity were right.  Of those 12, 5 hatched and 4 survived.

We let them do a little early exploration,  and then on August 11, they moved to their outside home.

At this point we had 8 White Leghorn hens, 7 Buff Orpington hens (we lost another one in July), 1 Buff Orpington 'Roo, and 4 Buff Orpington babies.  One of the babies is definitely a 'roo, one is definitely a hen and I'm not sure about the other 2.  In July, the Leghorns started laying eggs.  Currently I am getting 8 eggs from these 8 girls 6 days a week and 6 eggs from them 1 day a week (we give them a break on Sundays).  My Buffs are laying 1-4 eggs a day, the lazy things.  Still, I'm getting an average of 10-12 eggs A DAY.  

Are you keeping up with the math at this point?  I now have 12 Buff Opringtons and 8 White Leghorns.

On July 19 I started another dozen eggs.  On July 23 we had a nine hour power outage and lost all of them.  On July 28, I started again, this time with 15 eggs.  I figure if I am doing well to get a 50% hatch rate, this will give me (hopefully) a few more layers.  Once again, I was meticulous with the directions.  

On August 16th the craziness started.  At 4 a.m. on the 17th, I was awakened by CHIRPING.  I came out and sure enough, had 2 new babies in the incubator.  Oh joy!  

 Yeah, they are pretty ugly at first.

By 3:30 that afternoon we had NINE new babies in the incubator.  At this point there are so many of them that they are rolling the unhatched eggs around (not good) and stepping on (and pecking) each other, so we put the 5 dry, fluffy ones in the brooder in the basement. 

Taking pictures of babies under a grow-light who are the same color as the wood chips is a little challenging!

By bedtime we had a grand total of TWELVE new chicks, one egg with a hole in it and another egg rocking.  We moved the rest of the babies to the basement brooder in the morning.

We do try and find creative ways to re-use things at our house.

 I decided to move the incubator down there as well just in case.  I'm crazy enough to think that if the un-hatched chick can hear the chirping and cheeping of its' siblings that will help it somehow.

Sunday evening our neighbors called and asked if they could bring their daughter over to see the new chicks.  They came and we sat visiting around the brooder, watching the babies.  Who needs television?!  Every so often we would get up and go peek in the incubator to see what was happening.  Just before leaving, the daughter went to look one more time.  After more than 24 hours, the last chick was finally out of the shell.  

Math wrap-up: I have gone from 12 Buff Orpingtons to TWENTY-FIVE.  Gulp!  We now have a grand total of THIRTY-THREE chickens.  In one weekend I more than doubled my flock of Buffs.  In two more months I should have at least 1 more buff laying, possibly 3.  In five months or so, I will have another 6 or so laying (that's working on statistics; I won't know for sure for a couple of months).  

Mr. Marvelous says that our chickens are now giving the rabbits a run for their money.  

On my way to being the Crazy Chicken Lady?  Well, I guess in truth I am probably there. 

Oh and if you need any eggs.....!

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