Little peeps

DSC_0669

So guess how we have been keeping busy lately? Check out some of our new arrivals, just hatched yesterday and overnight. We have a few more eggs in the incubator in various stages of hatching and are hope all the chicks make it out fine.

DSC_0668

And here is a quail chick – unfortunately, out of the batch of quail eggs, only one proved fertile. You can see this tiny bumblebee-sized chick next to a chicken chick for size comparison. We hope to get some more quail chicks, but so far, it seems content with its larger companion and they snuggle up nicely together under the heating lamp.

Hope everyone is doing well! We’ve finally had a break from the heat and enjoyed some refreshing rain this morning.

In need of fluff

Latest Mother Earth News post is up, this time talking about chick season, which is not as far as it may currently seem:

“Though it may be hard to believe, spring is coming, and chick season with it. If you have never hatched your own chicks before, you might want to give it a go this year.”

DSC_0605

Above: a picture of one of our broodies with her chicks from a couple of years ago.

Some would say, and rationally they would probably be right, that the owner of a little urban flock doesn’t need to hatch chicks at all. It’s time consuming and messy, there are countless hurdles a chick faces on its way to adulthood, and some of the young birds will inevitably be lost at some point.

It’s easier and more convenient to just keep 3-4 hens for eggs and buy point of lay pullets every couple of years to replace the aging flock. It would probably be cheaper in the long run, too. But nothing compares to the magic of another “surprise egg” cracking and letting out a fluffy new chick. The way the children’s eyes light up when they see it, too – it’s so beautiful every single time. ♥

So here’s to full incubators, busy broodies, and a spring and summer full of fluffy peeping chicks.

This kind of day

DSC_0432

Yesterday spring was really in the air. We found the first surprise eggs from our pullets in odd corners – you can imagine the thrill (I don’t have a store bought egg to place side by side for comparison, but they are about 2/3 as large and a 100 times tastier).

I made the nesting boxes all comfy and cozy and placed dummy eggs inside.

I planted peas and sweet peas.

I put the yard in order a bit after the recent winds and rain and being unable to poke my nose out. It was great.

Now today we have more rains, a chilling wind, lots of mud, and I’ve caught whatever bug that has been making its way among the kids. Again.

But that’s OK too, as long as I have the comfort of my warm bed, books, yarn, and hot chocolate.

Stay cozy and warm!

The predators are still around

It has been a while since I’ve last written for Mother Earth News, but here is my latest post about the predators we are still dealing with, despite having moved to a different area:

“When we moved from out in the boonies to a small town and started our new little flock of urban chickens, I thought we’d have an easier life where predators were concerned. Foxes, the bane of our chicken’s existence for years, were left behind, as were hawks and owls.”

Meanwhile, we are still in floods of rain, with my poor little garden quite floated and us cooped up inside – comfortably enough, thankfully, with lots of cozy snuggle-and-read time, crafts, and tea.

Our new chicken coop

DSC_0144

Almost a year after moving here, we have taken the next step towards making this house feel like home: building a chicken coop!

We’ve still got many improvements to make on it, namely a real door, a roost, and in time some nesting boxes, but overall I think it really shows my husband’s carpentry skills.

And the really cool part? We’ve used almost entirely scrap wood, and about the only thing we had to buy was the wire netting.

DSC_0146

Some of the chicks enjoying their new abode. They were SO ready to move outside from the brooder.

Peeps again

DSC_0091

After almost a year of chicken hiatus, we’ve finally taken the plunge again. We got some eggs from a generous friend, dusted off the incubator, and three weeks later…

DSC_0096

Now these little ones need a proper residence. I know, I know – we’ve got the it all backwards again, but at least now my husband will have the motivation to build a coop. I look forward to seeing what he comes up with.

As cute and fuzzy as baby chicks are, and you can be sure they’re a huge hit around here, what I really look forward to is an established coop with a flock of adult hens, a rooster or two, and fresh eggs every day.