Yesterday was hatch day. My usual redundant morning chores were certainly more exciting to say the least when I was greeted by newly hatched fuzzy butts. This was a first time hatching eggs for Peaches, a four year old Silkie hen. She’s very proud and protective of her babies, nevertheless, I’m keeping a close watch on her inexperienced mothering. The brooder is set up and ready to go if needed.
This was a trial run for Peaches, the fertile eggs I placed under her were a barnyard mix. What I know for sure is the eggs are from a Leghorn and an Ameraucana. But the rooster? That will remain a mystery.
It will be nice change to have birds other than Silkies and Cochins in my barn, these little hatch-a-longs will remain here as permanent members of the flock. Mamma and chicks will be moved to the barn with the others, confined to a corner in full view of the flock at 2-3 weeks old.
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What’s New at TBN Ranch
Below is one of two coops that has been predator proofed, I’m confident there’s no chance of any predator ever getting inside. My once not so handy husband is turning into quite a hand! He’s not much into the chickens, but he was pretty upset about the coyote attack and this is what he did for our feathered family members. Coop is now raised 21″ high, and and has a solid wood floor. I dare even a tiny sparrow to find entry!
This coop is where chicks go after they leave the brooder, they’ll stay here until they’re ready to join the flock at about four months old.
Piper and Cookie, a Standard Cochin and Buff Silkie are the only youngsters who survived the predator ordeal three weeks ago. They are from my Fall 2015 chicks, and although integrated into the existing flock, still stick together as best pals. So happy they still have each other. They’re inseparable, they even lay their eggs together!
I’ve said in the past to keep flock members that are all about the same size to minimize bullying… but I’m kinda sorta changing my mind about that. Piper is close to seven pounds and Cookie is barely a pound, no problems with the other lightweights in the flock either. However, let’s just say it’s always a good idea to keep in mind that sometimes size does matter in the chicken world.
I managed to find Silkies locally on Friday, slim pickin’s to say the least, nevertheless, I’m happy to have found a few to help erase the painful reminder of Monday’s fatal coyote attack. Straight run, and not my choice of color, but it’s a start. Three white chicks and two buff, hopefully one white is a rooster. In October I will find quality black chicks, and a couple of blues.
Of course now that I haven’t any Silkie pullets or started chicks for sale this Spring, I’m getting emails like crazy from those looking to buy. Isn’t that always the way? lol
It’s nice to have chicks in the brooder, but this isn’t the ideal time to start chicks in my opinion. I’m taking a chance with the weather, hoping it stays moderate for a few more weeks. By the time these chicks are old enough to be moved to the coop it could be in the upper 90’s… or higher. I prefer to start chicks in October or November so at 6-8 weeks they are strong enough to tolerate our June temperatures of 115 degrees.
Coop Remodeling in Progress
All the coops are currently undergoing major modifications to prevent any more predator attacks. All the grow pens are having floors installed and raised 18″ off the ground. The hen’s coop will have heavy rubber stall mats on the ground, extending beyond the coop’s perimeters. The brooder building is already completely secure, and with all this work to be done, I’ll take that blessing!