Bzzzz October 25th, 2010

I love my life. But there does seem to be quite a lot of it.

Between my job (not inher­ited that cas­tle in Spain yet), keep­ing us well fed, tend­ing the gar­den, the ani­mals and ensur­ing the house doesn’t fill with dog hair like an enor­mous house-shaped pillow…well, the days are full. But I know you’re yearn­ing for news about all the beast­ies here, so I present to you the Chicken Chron­i­cles: The Reader’s Digest Version.

By the way, before I get too far along, this post is ded­i­cated to my friend Gail, at Clay and Lime­stone. Not only did she offer the phrase Chicken Chron­i­cles in com­ments about how she enjoys my chick­ens’ antics, she also man­ages to do all that life, gar­den, job stuff and blog too. My hat’s off to you, Gail!

First, Pol­ish hen Edith went broody this sum­mer. For those of you who are not chicken mam­mas and pap­pas, that means she decided moth­er­hood was all she needed to ful­fill her des­tiny in life. She took to her nest box and refused to budge. Well, I have a fairly laissez-faire pol­icy when it comes to nature, so I fig­ured, let’s see where this takes us.

Frankly, as laissez-faire can be, the whole thing was messy. Long story short, all the other hens added to Edith’s clutch so that she ended up try­ing to sit on about 15 eggs—an impos­si­ble task for a lit­tle Pol­ish hen. To com­pli­cate mat­ters, Tina Turner, a beau­ti­ful buff Pol­ish hen, was swayed by Edith’s efforts and decided to hatch a batch of her own. She was eas­ily dis­suaded for a more care­free life among the moth­er­less hens.

Back to Edith…After about three weeks it was clear that noth­ing was going to hap­pen on the baby mak­ing front, so I took mat­ters into my own hands. Actu­ally, I took Edith into my own hands and took her off the eggs to get rid of them.

Voila! There was a chick under her!

Now, I will dip into the details just a bit here, even though this is the Reader’s Digest ver­sion. Edith is not the birth mother. T. Boone Chick­ens, our enor­mous rooster, does not do the wild thing with the Pol­ish hens. I don’t know if it’s because he prefers the more full-figured hens or if the Pol­ish girls are just too fast for him, but I’ve never seen him do the deed with one of the mop-headed girls. I sus­pect that the new chicken is from Dor­thy or Mered­ith, our Easter egg chickens.

So…to get back to the story. Edith and her baby were sep­a­rated so that the other chick­ens didn’t com­mit infan­ti­cide, as chick­ens will do. After a suit­able and appro­pri­ate mater­nity leave Edith and her young were re-integrated back into the flock. It was an endear­ing sight to see her alert­ing the baby to bugs, tomato morsels and blue­berry treats. At night she would sit with the baby under her. After the baby grew too large to sit on, she would put her wing pro­tec­tively over the baby as they sat side-by-side.

Baby and Edith, his adop­tive mum

The baby is now about 13 weeks old.

So far we’re call­ing the baby “Baby.” Clever, no?

The rea­son is that the baby will even­tu­ally be named Ricky or Lucy, names picked out by Carol at May Dreams Gar­dens. But one of the names has not yet stuck because I still don’t know if Baby is a Lucy or a Ricky. We should know in another month or so. But I will tell you this. Baby has really, really big feet like T. Boone Chick­ens. And Baby looks like a cross between Dorothy and Mered­ith, the Easter egg chick­ens. We will never know who the birth mother is with­out DNA testing.

Oh, and Baby loves Edith, his adopted and devoted mum. She is his true mum.

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Bzzzz May 22nd, 2010

Our hens lay a beau­ti­ful vari­ety of eggs. The col­ors range from white to cream to brown to green to blue. The color is entirely depen­dent on the kind of chicken. The Pol­ish hens lay the small­est eggs in creamy white and beige. The Easter Egg chick­ens lay medium sized eggs in green to blue hues. The Red Star and Black Star hens, bred for pro­duc­tion, lay brown eggs. And they can really push out some mon­ster eggs!

Until yes­ter­day the largest egg I both­ered to mea­sure was 95 grams. Yes­ter­day, one of the hens pushed out a 98 gram egg. To put that in per­spec­tive, think about the jumbo sized eggs you can buy at the gro­cery store. They are only about 71 grams.  This egg was a full 27 grams larger than a jumbo egg.

You know what I say? Poor hen! It’s no won­der I hear honk­ing and yelling from the coop. That’s gotta hurt!

Posted In: Chickens

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