Cookie and Piper’s Story

Meet Cookie, she is a 2 year old Buff Silkie Bantam… and our little mother hen. She is the one girl I can count on to set on fertile eggs and NEVER give up until they hatch. Don’t let her size fool you, she runs the coop, the flock knows better than to mess with her, the eggs, or her chicks. She weighs only about 1.5 pounds, and has chosen her one and only friend to be Piper, a 8.5 pound Standard Cochin.

I’ve mentioned in the past that it’s a good idea to have your flock members all about the same size and weight to minimize bickering. It’s not a rule, only a precaution. You just never know if the pecking order ritual is going to be a peaceful one, or a war zone. In this case, we have a peaceful friendship… but not without rank.

Cookie was the only survivor of five mail order chicks in 2016. I didn’t want her in the brooder all alone so I went to every local feed store in hopes of finding baby chicks to put in with her. No luck finding chicks 2-3 days old, all I could find were week old Standard Cochins. Here we go with size again… these chicks were way too big. Having zero choice, I took a chance the twice her size Cochins wouldn’t pick on this frail little Silkie.  They didn’t, just the usual drama. When night came and the cold set in, they all huddled together and all was forgotten. Whew!

I sold all the Cochins when they reached 4 months old, except Piper. I guess Cookie never forget that without Piper, she may not have survived.

 

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Hens Dust Bathing Together

Peaches, an older Silkie and daughter Willow are spending quality time having a dust bath together. Peaches hatched this young hatch-a-long pullet in April of this year and they are still inseparable. Her other chicks cut the apron strings months ago and show no interest in continuing a bond. As a matter of fact, Peaches has been demoted to the bottom of the pecking order by her own adopted babies! Happy she has a friend.

Willow is half Ameraucana, half mystery. Her eggs are olive. Cool!

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Planning for Fall Chicks

Summer is almost over and that means it time to plan for fall chicks. Unlike most parts around the country, Phoenix’s springtime doesn’t always give us the 8 weeks we need to get chicks from the brooders to grow pens before it’s too hot.  I like my pullets to be at least 12-16 weeks old before the 90 degree temps hit, and that could be as early as March.

We all have our preferences, and I’m sure chicken keepers in Phoenix all raise chicks their own way. But personally, I find it a lot easier to keep chicks warm, rather than trying to keep them cool.

What will TBN Ranch be hatching this year? Silkies of course… but we’ve also expanded to accommodate laying hens. After pondering over which breeds to buy, I finally decided on the Leghorn, Dominique, and Ameraucana. Not a big fan of the Ameraucana and their rather aloof personality, but I do appreciate the splash of color they contribute to the egg basket.

As you can see I’ve been busy painting coop signage too! Here’s a few pics of the breeds that will join our flock in the near future. Gosh, if I order them get the chicks in October they won’t be joining the flock until February or March of 2017…  sure does take a long time doesn’t it?

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Hatch-a-Long Pullet at Ten Weeks

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Meet Willow, she was hatched back in April. She certainly has grown! She’s one of two fertile eggs put under a first time broody Silkie. A trial run so to speak, hoping the hen would follow through with her duties as a Mom to be. Obviously it was a success and I’ll use her again when it’s not so hot.
July in Phoenix the temperatures are 110-116, definitely not suitable for hatching eggs! I tried it once, a total fail.
Willow is a barnyard mix, all I know for sure is the hen was an Ameraucana, the green egg made that I.D. pretty simple. Look at those yellow legs, she almost glows in the dark. ha ha!
Can you believe both chicks turned out to be girls? That hardly ever happens. Lucky me!

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