Monthly Archives: July 2016

Frizzle Cochin Chicks!

Guys. GUYS. These chicks. I can’t even…they are just so fluffy and funny and cute.

When they first hatched, they were fairly standard chicks in appearance…other than their fuzzy hobbit feet.

Amerauca mom Booty did a great job with her hatch. I put fertile eggs under her, and in 21 days, out popped four fluffy chicks, like magic.

Despite the psycho side-eye she’s giving me here (all my adult hens hate my camera) she’s super sweet, and doesn’t mind me snuggling her chicks at all. Which is good for both of us, because you just gotta snuggle chicks this fluffy. The babies weren’t always sure about all these snuggles, but if one objected, all I had to do was hold her out to her mama, who would peck her on the head and tell her in no uncertain language that I was a trusted friend.  After that, the chick would settle down in my hand, perfectly happy (and often go straight to sleep!)

You can’t really tell in the pictures, but cochin chicks have THE SOFTEST fluff ever in the history of soft fluff. I was amazed.

Booty taught them how to dust bathe. And nap in the sunlight.

As they grew older, their wing feathers came in, proving they were frizzle cochins. See how the feathers curl out? This created the greatest look in chick feather-styling EVER, as they grew out the feathers on their feet and legs.

It also led to jealousy and hurt feelings from Ellie, my soulmate hen. WHY are you always in THERE playing with those little fluffy butts? I’m molting, I’ve got a fluffy butt too – nothing special to look at in THERE.

It’s okay. Ellie always gets snuggles too. She’s a total lap chicken.

We just finished (mostly finished) remodeling the chicken coop, and the mama and chicks have moved into the coop with the big girls…in their own private apartment. I’ll film a video tour soon.  I decided this in-the-coop-apartment will work better for future broodies, and so I moved the pet rabbits (Daisy and Dandelion) into the former duck coop/broody coop.

They have lots more room, plus they and the chickens can see each other, which both species seem to enjoy.

And what, you may ask, is going into the old rabbit hutch? Well, since it was originally made as a chicken coop, it’s going back to that purpose. It’s just the right size for a trio of tiny serama hens! Next Spring I’ll get hatching eggs! I’m so excited; I’ve wanted these mini chooks forever. I plan to let them out for regular free-ranging in the garden. They are so small, I don’t think they will destroy the garden like full-sized hens. We’ll see.

And a brief update on the Bobwhite Quail – I still love them. They are my favorite quail for sure. They are so personable and friendly.

 

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Snowflake and White Bobwhite Quail

Wow. It’s been forever since I wrote about the bobwhite quail. They are mostly grown now – although they obviously mature a lot later than my coturnix. These guys still act like sweet little babies!

They are SO sweet, in fact, that I am planning on keeping two pair (one white, one snowflake). This means I must build yet another quail coop! Well, with every one I build, I figure out a better design, right?

They are very talkative little quail, with lots of cute vocalizations.

I think the snowflake color is gorgeous, but there is something surprisingly appealing about the white ones.

They seem to be more friendly and inquisitive.  Unlike the snowflakes, they are always coming up to the wire to look at me, and talk to me.

I’m trying something new in their coop.

Do you see it? Up there in the corner?

Parakeets!

I have four of them outside with the quail – two blues, a yellow, and a green one. After doing extensive research (particularly of English parakeet-keeping practices) I’m going to try keeping them out here year around. As long as they have a secure, draft-free area, and plenty of time to acclimate, they appear to do fine in my temperatures. I will, of course, monitor them closely during the winter, and if they show signs of discomfort, bring them inside.

But right now, they are loving life! They and the quail get along wonderfully, sharing the ground (when the parakeets feel like walking) and the branches (when the quail feel like perching). I even saw one of the keets go for a brief ride on one of the quail’s back! The quail didn’t seem to notice or mind.

And now for a gratuitous squirrel pic.

This nest box was supposed to be for the birds, but the squirrel chewed the opening larger and claimed it.  Pesky little rodent!

Broody Hen, Currants, and Little Fruit Pies

I’ve been waiting for my reliably broody hen, Josie, to go broody because I want to hatch some frizzle cochins.  Surprise surprise, it was her adopted daughter, Boudica, who decided she wanted to start a family.

Booty (as I call her) is just turning a year old, and has never been broody before.  I was a little nervous she wouldn’t have the commitment to carry through, but I went ahead and ordered the eggs for her.

They came via the post office – and my mail carrier was sweet enough to make a special trip by my house at the beginning of her route to drop them off!

The former duck house has been shifted into the chicken yard, and turned into the Broody Barn.

I was afraid Booty would insist on trying to return to her old nest in the chicken coop, but I think she is smart enough to appreciate the peace and quiet. I am able to leave the Broody Barn’s door open, so she can come and go as she pleases…and she does, always returning faithfully to her new nest.

 

She has eight eggs, and although I really only want one new hen for my flock, I hope she has a good hatch rate. It would be so much fun to see her care for a bunch of babies!

She’s a sweet girl. Although she growls at the other hens if they come near, she lets me raise her up to check on the eggs whenever I want without a fuss.

She’s got about a week left to go. Fingers crossed, everyone!

In other garden news, I’ve been harvesting lots of currants. Pink, red, black, and these gorgeous white ones.

I’m making them into jelly. One batch didn’t set, but that’s ok. I labeled it “Currant Syrup” and will use it for flavoring kefir and yogurt!

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I’ve been also canning cherries, and I’m making a bunch of mini 6″ pies (apricot, cherry, plum, gooseberry, and blackberry) to freeze. And, of course, eat. We’ve had three already. Hey, no judgment. They’re small.  🙂