A little belatedly, hatching season opens here again – and this time, with guinea fowl eggs. I have received some as a gift, and apparently a couple were already in the incubation process, because they surprise hatched after only a week.
So far, we lhave these two adorable keets. One looks like the standard coloring and the paler one could be lavender.
This little one had huge trouble getting out of the egg. I ended up performing an assisted hatch and peeling nearly all the shell. I was really apprehensive, but after a couple of hours it was already running around the brooder! So don’t give up on those chicks who are struggling to get out. They may be perfectly fine and just require a bit of assistance to start out in life.
By the way, did you know guinea fowl are kosher? I have only discovered this recently. We don’t eat our birds, but I’d love to try some guinea eggs.
Last week, we had a sad incident, in which a fox got two of our chickens. I admit I have grown a little careless, as I wasn’t aware there were any foxes in the area.
From my previous experience with foxes, I knew they never give up until they’ve eaten all the chickens in a coop OR until they realize it’s impossible. I knew my old coop wasn’t fox-proof. And I knew I didn’t want to race outside with a hammering heart every time a hen started clucking.
So for a week, I overnighted my chickens in boxes inside the house, and meanwhile, I commissioned a secure and convenient stainless steel coop.
Although it isn’t as pretty as some of the rustic style coops I’ve admired on Pinterest, it’s by far the best coop I’ve ever had. I can’t believe how much I paid to have it made, but I’m happy 😊
It has two handy shelves for nesting boxes, and a lower section for our quail that can also work as a secure space for a broody hen (of course I would put the quail elsewhere).
Now I’m just waiting for this fox to come again so I can laugh at it 😁
Sadly, a couple of days ago we had to re-home one of our two roosters, because the duo was simply making too much noise for our long-suffering neighbors. As hard as it was for us to part with one of our guys, it’s better than having to give up chicken-keeping entirely.
We have an excess of roosters every year, and it’s never possible to keep them all – and always hard to say goodbye.
“It’s hard to be totally pragmatic and just weed out as many birds as possible when you have raised them from an egg. Plus, cockerels are fun and often so handsome it’s hard to part with them. It can be tempting to keep a “backup” rooster or two in case something happens to your alpha roo.
The problem around here – and in many other backyard flocks – is that we always end up with too many roosters. We hatch chicks every year, and around half are male. This year we had about 60% male chicks.”
This has been a busy summer, but thankfully, not too busy to appreciate the good things in life. Above: a little moth we were lucky enough to be able to watch transform from a chrysalis before releasing it.
Our mango tree surprised us with pretty big fruit this year. The previous winter had been rainy, so I guess it needed more water.
Two pullets of this spring’s hatch. All in all, we have 5 young pullets and 8 cockerels (the latter will not be remaining with us – one roo is quite enough!)
Quail eggs – as pretty as they are delicious.
Hope everyone is having a good August! I love the sunshine, but could do with less heat.
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.
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.
The little quail pen. It’s easy to move so that they can dig in a fresh place from time to time.
An inside shot of the quail: the darker one is the female. Raising them has been fun and I can’t wait to try hatching their eggs (which, by the way, make delicious tiny omelets).
The upgraded chicken coop: now on a raised netting-covered platform. Most of the poop falls right through the netting, which reduces the mess and smell.
Clockwise: sage, mint, rosemary, lemon balm.
Tomato seedlings are in the ground.
Two of my favorite repotted geraniums. They are incredibly easy to propagate: just cut a piece, stick it in moist potting soil, and it will soon sprout roots. I’ve been making little plants to give to neighbors this way.
As you can see, we’ve been busy and enjoying the nice weather. I hope everyone is doing well and keeping safe.
This was my last winter project for this year – a top down raglan cardigan made from alpaca yarn. I love the satisfaction of throwing something over me that feels almost like a blanket – but I suppose I will get to enjoy it next season, as it’s already getting too warm here for stuff like that. I’ll probably attach a couple of nice big buttons.
Now on to summer projects – lacy tops, table runners, baskets, bags, and more. Always more ideas than time!
On another note, we are doing OK in the midst of all the craziness that is taking over the world. We are, of course, privileged to have a house with a private yard and a nice balcony with a beautiful view, so despite the lockdown we never really feel confined. There’s always plenty of outdoor work going on, whether it’s hanging out the washing, weeding, or mucking up the chicken coop.
One of our recent projects has been raising a pair of Japanese quail Shira got for her birthday. The female just laid her first egg a couple of days ago. Japanese quail rarely go broody, but we’ll probably try to incubate once we gather enough eggs.
Stay safe, everyone. These are scary times we live in, but I have never felt so connected to friends all over the world. We are truly all in this together, and I am optimistic that it shall pass and we’ll emerge on the other side stronger and more resilient than before.