jazzy in the snow eating warm oats

The past few days have been a bit snowy.

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Midnight and her little kids

Midnight and her little kids by stephk
Midnight and her little kids, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

They’re growing so quickly! Bella is considerably bigger than Rosie. They’re all so very sweet.

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Bella and Rosie

Bella and Rosie by stephk
Bella and Rosie, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

Here they are! Almost 4 weeks old! They’re growing so fast, and still living with Mama Midnight. They now play ‘downstairs’ during the day, and go ‘upstairs’ at night to sleep. So cute!

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tonight i opened the hatch to the area where Midnight and the little peeps are bunking. i counted one… two… three… oh no. One of the peeps died of mysterious causes (maybe a poopy vent, maybe she was sick when i brought her home, i just don’t know). death is a known risk in a project like this. i’m sad for the little birdie, but happy that the other three seem to be doing just fine and are very, very active.

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chick by stephk
chick, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

i can’t tell them apart. yet.

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Broody Midnight and her baby chicks!!!

At exactly 21 days, we made the trip up to Monroe to pick out some new baby chicks that Midnight would hopefully raise as her own. Monroe Farm and Feed had an incredible selection of chicks; some pullets, some straight-run. Some of them were very young, some of them were starting to develop their combs already! I would have gladly taken one of each but settled for four; two araucanas, one welsummer and one cuckoo maran. These were all pullets at the baby stage — it seemed that Midnight would be most likely to adopt babies, and I like a little peace of mind that there’s more than a 50% chance they’ll be hens. My mother-in-law, Trudy, was with me for the excursion. When I mentioned my grand surrogate plan earlier in their visit, her eyes lit up since she was going to be here to see it all go down.Early Saturday afternoon, we were on our way home with four tiny chicks peeping away in a box in the back seat of the car. I was so excited!

cuckoo maran by stephk
cuckoo maran, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

Too excited, maybe. When we got home, I went ahead and tucked them in with Midnight. That didn’t go so well. Midnight pecked at the little maran and seemed agitated, so we moved the babies to the other end of the coop, making sure they couldn’t get out, and others couldn’t get in. Naturally we couldn’t help but peek in on them throughout the rest of the afternoon and evening.

sleepy peep by stephk
sleepy peep, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

As it started to get dark, I decided it was time to try it again. We barricaded Midnight into the nesting box, and placed the peeps under/around her. She didn’t immediately reject them, so we sat outside for a while so that we could hear any troubling squawks and squeals. Everything sounded good so we checked on them one last time for the night and headed inside.

Protector, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

The next morning, I headed right outside to see what was going on. Mama and babies were all together and everyone made it through the night. Whew! Hooray! I rather-obsessively checked on them throughout the day, and we removed the barricade and took measures to make sure that no one would fall through the trap door.

Untitled by stephk
Untitled, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

It’s now Tuesday and the five of them are one happy little family. This little project has caused some upset for the other birds. The red birds (Ginger and Penney) and the two old birds (Jazzy and Yogi) don’t get along, so sharing a coop is out of the question. G+P have their coop to themselves, and J+Y are sleeping in a cardboard in the ‘downstairs’ area of their coop. For now, this will have to work. I am thinking that I will move Midnight and her brood to the other coop and give them half of the upstairs, and the red birds the other half. I just want to make sure that she’s not going to abandon her flock and I would think that a week is long enough for them to form that bond.

Mama Midnight and baby araucana by stephk
Mama Midnight and baby araucana, a photo by stephk on Flickr.
Categories: Cool stuff, Midnight's Flock | Leave a comment

Chicken cuteness

Today after work, we went up to Everett to see some friends before coming home. As a result, we got home after 8pm. Typically we’re home earlier and the first thing I do is let the chickens out of their coops.

When we got out of the car this evening, Jazzy was making a ruckus — it sounded like something was very wrong. I immediately went out back and let her run around, even though all the other birds were in bed (talk about early birds!). When I came back in, she started to make another fuss. So I went outside. Once I was out there, she was quiet.

I came back inside.

After a while, she started being loud again.

I went back outside, and we slowly meandered over to the coop.

After hanging out around it for a while, she went in and pecked at some scratch on the ground. I closed the gate, locking her in. After hovering around the coop for a minute, I heard her walk up the ramp into the upper roosting area.
Tonight I learned two things:

  • Jazzy likes to be put to bed. Meandering around the yard and making cute noises at me must be her version of reading a story.
  • I am owned by a chicken.
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Midnight by stephk
Midnight, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

Not sure how many broody hen photos you can handle in a row, but I love this bird! She’s so pretty, even when she’s watching me intently.

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Midnight is one broody lady!

The previous post has a photo that is captioned Yogi, though it is actually Midnight. I am keeping an eye on her as she has spent the last two full days in the nesting box. To me, that says “broody!” I wasn’t able to get the eggs from her today — she pecked me a couple of times!

I’m thinking about picking up a couple baby chicks to tuck under her wings. Will she take them as her own? I know someone who had some great luck with this; hopefully I will too!

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Yogi by stephk
Yogi, a photo by stephk on Flickr.

How could you not love this face?

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