Saturday, March 13, 2010

New chicks

About a week ago our newest chicks hatched. Out of 6 eggs, 5 hatched. Of these 4 are black and one is fawn coloured with stripes - 'wild colouring' (this chick is most definately a Barnevelder x Welsummer - and the type of fowl I am most interested in breeding).

As always, chicks are just so cute, and its easy to just sit and watch them and the interactions between the mother and chicks. The instincts of the mother hen are incredible, and the 'obedience' of the chicks is quite amazing (as parents of 2 young children we can only dream of having that sort of 'control' over our kids!!!!). The kids love them (its hard not to though!), and so far it looks as though we might have 2 roosters and 3 hens (crossing fingers!).

The sight of the chicks has now set off another hen to go clucky, but I don't think I will let her sit on eggs this time (this hen was the one that raised our first 3 chicks), as by the time they hatch we will be half way through autumn, and it can be pretty wet and miserable and probably not so good for little chicks. She is pretty determined to stay on the nest though, so it will be interesting.

free-ranging in my garden (I will post on the 'evolution' of my garden defenses soon)

The first 3 chicks we hatched are doing great I think they must be about 15 weeks old now, and are quite large, solid birds, and very active and healthy. Much better than some that I have bought from breeders (with very skinny legs and fairly sickly looking). I think naturally raised chicks (under a hen) fed good wholesome food grow up into healthy and vigorous hens/roosters. I feed my chicks boiled egg with garlic as their first foods (its a traditional first food) as well as organic ground wheat or rolled oats. I try to add seaweed meal to their food as often as I can, and try and get them out to free range when ever possible. I don't vacinnate them or medicate them in anyway.

Not much else happening around here, autumn is upon us, and it has really cooled down at night which is lovely. Making us think about preparing for winter, jobs like finishing putting up the insulation and a few missing doors. Also firewood collection. We will have to run our combustion stove ALOT over winter, so its a nice feeling to have a good stash of firewood, cut, split and undercover. We already have enough to get us through, but it nice to have a little bit spare incase it will be a cold winter this year (I suspect it will be). I hope that this winter we will be a bit more comfortable than last year!!

stormy skies!

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