Friday, June 2, 2017

Two chicks hatched


When I got home yesterday Lucille was sitting by the feeder and my first thought was, "she's sitting on chicks!" I picked her up and she had two chicks under her.  They must have hopped out of the nest box and could not get back in so she was sitting on them keeping them warm.  I put her and the little ones back in the nest box and ran down to TSC and bought some chick feed. 

I got the small coop all ready and Jim helped me pull it out in the yard.  Momma, babies and eggs are all comfy together in the small chicken tractor. 

I believe these are the two eggs from Laverne.  I bought some fertilized eggs too but I put two of Laverne's with them.  When I looked at what was left of the shell it didn't have any writing on it (the purchased ones have initials for the different breeds) and it looked like the color of her eggs.

Lucille is a very happy momma! I do hope some of the other eggs hatch, but sometimes getting them through the mail the do get a bit scrambled. 

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Checking the hive

I checked out the hive over the weekend to see how the bees were progressing.  They were doing well. They had some more comb drawn out and lots of capped brood.

Can you see the queen?  I didn't actually see her until I was looking at the photos!  I took these two photos to text to my nephew and while I was taking them I thought, I should take a picture of each frame and maybe later I could find the queen.  There is a lot going on when you have the frame right in front of you.  Your trying to be careful and not disturb the bees too much. I thought it was great that one of the photos I took had the queen in it.

All the covered cells are capped brood.  They are new bees waiting to emerge. I filled their sugar water to help them create wax to build out the comb.  We have had a few rainy days so maybe they've been stuck in there with nothing to do but draw out comb!

The chickens are doing well. Here is Bert and Laverne in the yard. You can see Bert's saddle feathers drape over his tail stump.  

Laverne has been my big egg producer!  Almost one everyday.  Princess Diana is one every couple days and she still has problems with some of the shells not being firm enough, but she is getting better at it!  Lucille is still sitting on the eggs I bought for her, and not laying any new ones. One did get crushed but the others are still being sat on. I tried to candle them but really didn't see much, I'm not sure if I'm doing it correctly or really what to look for so we will just wait until around the hatch date to see what happens. 

In case you couldn't find the queen, here she is. 

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Bees and a Broody Hen

The bees are here!

Saturday we went up to Greenville to get the bees.  Only one escaped on the ride home, but she stayed in the back window.  When we arrived home I put my bee coat on and carried them out by the hive.  I should have let them rest for a little while but I thought I'd open the front and let them fly around and get acclimated to their new location. 

I pulled some of the staples off the screen covering in the front.  When I started pulling the screen away from the corner they started flying out.  I should have just left it at that little corner but I ripped it completely open and they really flew out, it was like a black cloud! After I ripped it off I just stood up and slowly walked away.  Jim had been standing on the other side of the fence taking photos but when I walked back he was already moved closer to the house and of course the bees were following me and they started getting in his hair.  I brushed them out and told him we needed to go inside for awhile to let them calm down. We got in the house and Jim discovered he had a bee in his shirt!  No one got stung, thankfully, but Jim did have a stinger in his arm but not in deep enough to hurt him.

So after they rested for a couple hours I got my smoker and all my new bee tools together and went out and moved the frames into the new hive box. They were alot easier to be around when I was using the smoker.  Still had a few flying around me but most were staying on the frames.  I didn't see the queen but I didn't take too much time to look at them. I just wanted to move them and let them get settled again.  I put the entrance reducer on the front set to the very small opening, I also put a jar of sugar water on top of the frames so they can have some food to help produce wax to build out the frames.

I have not bothered them since I got them in the new hive. I do need to add some more food for them but I'll have to do it sometime after work in the next couple days. I'm very excited to have them here on the farm!

So Lucille decided she wanted to go broody!  This means she had been sitting in the nest box for a few days non stop. Usually they will lay a bunch of eggs then get down to business and incubate them. During which time they stop laying any more eggs.  I slipped a couple of Laverne's eggs under her and one day when I was feeding her some treats she stood up and I felt under her to see how many eggs there were....just the two I had put under her!  I had ordered some fertilized eggs on EBay and while they were traveling I built Joe a new home inside one of the ends of the Corn Crib Carport. 

Joe's new home

He has a nice area to roost that is sheltered from the elements and a great swing to roost on during the day!  Then I got the eggs in the mail, too many to put under one hen but I think I ended up putting 9 or 10 under her which is still a lot I think!  I got an assortment of a few different breeds.

So when they arrived I moved Lucille into the small coop then next morning. I set her on the eggs but she got up right away. She was not happy about being moved.  I left her closed up inside for the day and when I got home she was up on the roost!  So I opened it up and let her out in the yard and she made her way back over to the big coop and was drinking some water. I knew she would go right back into her old favorite nest box, so I quickly moved the eggs to that box and sure enough later she was in there sitting on them. I figured I would just leave her and if they hatch I can move mom and chicks to the other coop then. 

I'm not sure if she knows well enough what she needs to be doing, When I moved her to the small coop I took Laverne's eggs that I had put under her a week prior and candled them under a flashlight and I didn't see any of the telltale veins along the shell indicating growth. So this may be a big flop.  We will see what happens around June 1st. 

Monday, May 1, 2017

RIP Queen Ann

Sad to say we lost another one.  Friday when I got home from work I let everyone out to run around the yard but Queen Ann wasn't there.  I thought maybe she was in the nest box laying an egg, but when I looked all the eggs were in there but no Queen Ann.  

I thought if she had flown out she would still be around the coop, she would not have wandered far. I looked to see if there was any sign of anything swooping in and grabbing her but there was not any blood or lots of feathers in the run area. 

When Jim got home he suggested I look more to see if she is injured someplace.  It didn't take long to find her body.  It was the same as when the other girls were killed.  There were a bunch of feathers around, her neck was broke and she was not eaten on.  You could see she was missing some of her tail feathers. I then did some more investigating and found some fresh large dog tracks by the coop.  The dog must have been running around the coop and she got startled and flew out, got chased down and killed.

We had the animal control come out and they took pictures but there was not much they could do.  They were going to go down and talk to the neighbors with the dog that had attacked before. 

She will be missed very much and those pretty blue eggs.

Friday, April 28, 2017

Princess Diana in the house

I moved Princess Diana, AKA Wonder Women or Wonder Chicken, into the house this week.  Her head wound didn't look like it was healing well enough for me.  I think she is sneaking out at night battling foes! Like Cheetah or Circe.

She is doing okay in the dog crate in the house. I put a board across the back so she has a roost.  She immediately tried to roost on the food dish when I first brought her in. I just want to give her some time to heal before Bert pulls at her head again.  I would have rather removed Bert for a week or more so Princess Diana didn't have to reestablish her pecking order when she goes back, even though she is on the bottom. The dogs like it when we have chickens in the house because they flick their chicken feed all over the place!  Yummy crumbs to lick up!

I'm also going to have to have a saddle made for Queen Ann, she is getting a bald spot on her back from Bert being too amorous.  Joe is another problem...Bert still chases him off when he gets to close to the girls.  I let him free range with everyone else when we are home, I figure if Bert is chasing him he's not mounting the girls!  But Joe is a naught rooster.  He likes to attack you, especially if your back is turned.  He attached Jim yesterday when he was walking back from the barns. I told him, you have to keep an eye on him at all times. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Hive painted

I painted my hive pieces. I used some of the paint we had around from painting the chicken coop, which still needs a second coat and the trim pieces put never ending. 

I think it turned out nice.  I anxiously waiting for the email saying my bees are ready to be picked up. I still have to put the frames together, hope to get that done in the next couple days. 

Friday, April 21, 2017

Princess Diana's First Egg

Exciting time last weekend, Princess Diana laid her first egg.

How do I know it was her?  Well it was laid in one of the upper nest boxes.  The other girls don't use the top ones at all. Princess Diana likes to roost there at night and I have to move her each night to the roost bar with the others. And it is a dark brown coloring, at least on the top, that her breed is known for. 

She has been a very good layer.  She is still trying to work out the coloring of the eggs, but that is one of the last things done before it gets laid. 

She has an injury on her head.  Tuesday when I came home from work, Laverne and Bert were outside the fence.  They must have flew over for some reason.  That left Princess Diana in the coop area with Queen Ann and Lucille, both can be pretty aggressive towards her.  Bert usually steps in between them but if he was out most of the day.  I noticed she was missing some feather on the back of her head and I could see some blood.  So that night I took her in the house to look at it.  There was a flap of skin that was almost ripped off.  I put some medicine on it and she seems to have healed nicely.
I wonder if Bert could have caused it too.  He can be pretty aggressive with pulling on the feathers on the back of their heads when he his mounted on them. 

Everyone is doing fine now.