Chickie Birthday!

That’s right, the three chicks are a week old today! I’m actually sort of surprised they made it, since our coop isn’t fancy and I’ve just been leaving Mama Star in charge.

We like it down here!

I went out to see them as soon as I got back from Austin. They were all hanging out together as usual. They had gone through a whole container of food and most of their water, which tells me you can only stay away from these guys one day unless I get a bigger feeder. But these are easy to handle and clean, so I’ll keep using them.

When I saw this, I had to blink.

I spread some scratch on the ground for Star, then headed to the garage to clean and replenish their water holder. When I came back, I could see Star, but there was lot of movement near her. The chicks had come down! I guess they figured it out yesterday!

Bronzer, Granite, and Steel look so mature!

The chicks were eating all Star’s food and running around pecking at everything. I was happy to see them eating blades of grass with abandon. They are so confident at one week old. I’m happy.

We’re busy growing feathers.

Yep, those babies can’t help but cheer us up. Even Lee is charmed by their peeps and pops. I even catch him giving the older chickens treats. And he was asking me about my chicken food ingredients.

We’d like to get to that long grass over there. That grass is getting trimmed soon. I promise.

Speaking of the other four hens, they got annoyed by a garage light that wouldn’t shut off and quit laying on the fridge. Now they are putting all their eggs in the far corner on an old mop. It’s really painful for me to get to them, but at least all four laid in the same place. Eight eggs, no searching! Plus, Big Red gave one. Do I need more chickens? Maybe not!

By the way, for Earth Day, our local grocery store, H-E-B, gave away cool Earth Day bags. A friend in Maryland wanted one, so I went out after lunch and got one for me and her, when I knew they’d still have some.

Pretty.

While there, I got a little bouquet of flowers to reward myself for perseverance. The store flowers are reasonably priced, though not compared to the wildflowers.

I got myself flowers to cheer me up.

I hope you thought about the wonderful planet where we all live today, and the amazing animals and plants we share our home with.

Chickens Sure Are Good Mothers

More stories of chickens, coming up. I was getting concerned about keeping Star, my mama hen, literally cooped up with the chicks in such a small space. I came up with the idea of blocking off the exit from the original Tractor Supply coop into the larger chicken run, which would give them a lot more space to run around, plus room for Star to poop that isn’t in the middle of their eating area.

You can’t really tell, but Bronzer is standing ON star. Good mom!

I looked around for something easy and temporary, but couldn’t find anything that was both large enough and liftable by me. At last I spotted a fine roll of chicken wire just sitting in the garage, looking at me. It could be cut to the right size and used to cover the hole!

I recruited my spouse to help me, since I didn’t know where wire cutters were, and it’s fun to make him go outside and do things every so often. It’s a bonding activity. He measured the space and cut a piece of chicken wire, which we then managed to attach fairly securely to the entry. It will most assuredly keep the chicks IN, but I don’t know if it will keep varmints OUT.

All secure-ish.

When and if the nephew gets back, I’ll see if he has ideas for reinforcing it. Once the chicks are a month old and fully feathered, I’ll probably let them out, anyway.

The big moment arrived and I opened the door to the space. I thought the chicks would rush right over, see the opening, and dash down the ramp to see all the delicious plants and dirt.

Hmm, I can do downstairs.

Instead, Star came over, looked out the door, and went down the ramp, where she promptly took a dust bath. I knew she wanted one! Meanwhile, she kept making interesting clucks, which seemed to be aimed at the chicks any time they came near the door.

They ran around peeping, but did not exit. She went back up the ramp, and promptly blocked the exit. I realized right then that I could not keep the food and water “downstairs” like I’d hoped. She was not going to let them out!

Can we come out? NO!

I came back a few times yesterday to check, and sure enough, Star had pooped, eaten a bunch of grass that had started to grow in there since the other chickens abandoned it, and taken more dust baths, but there was no sign of chick exit. I decided to put HER food on the ground, since the chicks seem to like it a lot and I’d prefer they eat their medicated rations.

Can I come out? NO!

I do believe Star is in charge of chick activities, not me. And she is one smart Mama. It got so windy yesterday that it would probably have blown the chicks around. Plus, a late cool front came in, and it got chilly outside! The babies needed to roost under their mom, where it’s nice and warm.

Star’s mothering instincts are quite impressive to me! I’m a bit bummed that I had to go to Austin for a couple days, so I may miss their big moments of freedom. Or, when I get back they may be right where they were, enjoying their chick food and grit, and gurgling their water.

One nice thing about getting up early is sunrises!

Let’s hope things keep moving along in a positive fashion. There actually has been good news both in my little circle and in the world this week. It’s good to have a bit of balance back!

Hungry and Cute Chicks with Pix

As soon as I got a break from work meetings, I headed out to feed the flock and check on the new babies. I was happy to see that Star had at least moved them in the night. I was wondering if she’d ever move!

The fraternal triplets. Look how they differ in size and foot color!

It looked to me like no one had touched the food or water I’d put out, so I moved them closer to the chicks, and then sprinkled a little of the food on the surface. Once the gray chick took a peck at it, the other two joined in!

Hey! This is FOOD! Note the wary Mom head in most of my photos.

Pretty soon, Star ALSO realized there was food in there, and she started eating out of the food dish. I’m hoping that modeling will encourage the little ones to peck in the nice clean container, and maybe also figure out the water is over there.

We’re all eating now!

I feel like I helped the little dudes out a bit, and I sure got a lot of joy out of watching them eat. I assume they didn’t need to eat much the first day, but will need LOTS of food from now on!

I may be the smallest, but I ate first, chirps the gray one. I don’t have names yet.

I promise, no daily update posts, though I’ll probably sneak in some photos as they grow. I’m glad Star is a good mom so far!

I’m already hiding the gray one from you! And how dare you spend only $1.35 on our feeder!

I’m a Chicken Grandma!

Well, that didn’t take long! An hour after I wrote my previous entry, I went over to check on star, and reinforce her door with some heavy stones. I heard PEEPS. I couldn’t see a dang thing, though.

So, I moved her aside, and there were two little black chicks, one who obviously had just hatched. I then looked on the other side, and there was a very perky brown chick who looks a lot like Buttercup. Yay! They all hatched!

Hi, I’m the Buttercup baby.

Star let me rearrange the food and water a bit, so the little ones can get to it, and then I left her so the third baby, who I’m guessing is hers, could dry out.

I see some white bits on this one! It’s Henley’s.

I’m so happy that they all made it, but a little sad that I barely missed the hatching. I do have to work, so I couldn’t sit there all day and annoy Star. I’m also proud that I got that chick food in there just in time, too!

I can’t tell, but I bet the new one is gray.

I was curious as to what the little fresh one would look like when dried off, so I went back, and sure enough, that’s a gray one, just like Star.

I look like my mom!

I let Bruce know he was a dad, but, as a rooster, he had no idea what I was talking about. He did strut a bit, nonetheless. He’ll figure out why soon enough, once his kids come downstairs. I’m also sharing photos of the mothers, just so you’ll see what they might look like later (depending of how much of Bruce’s good looks come through).

For now, everyone is nestled under Star, recovering from the arduous hatching they had to do. When they come out, there’s food and drink waiting for them, so hooray!

They can just hop over and get food, whenever their mom lets them.

Trying Again with Chicken Parenting

Since it’s looking like it will still be a while before the relatives are back and I can get some new pullets (I need help rearranging the coop), I decided to try the old egg experiment again. You see, for the past few days when I go outside to feed my little flock of 6 (five hens and Bruce, the rooster), I see this:

MMM, chicken scratch.

Yes, I see five chickens. Someone is missing. That would be Star, the beautiful and large gray Czech Blue Sapphire hen. Coincidentally, she is now the only one laying in the actual hen boxes, since she chased Buttercup and Henley away. I still don’t know where Bertie Lee is laying, but everyone else has been laying away since it warmed up.

I’m busy. Shut the dang door.

Yes, Star has gone broody on us. I guess it’s her turn. I decided to go ahead and let her set on some eggs, if she’s so fired up about it. I took a couple eggs from the other hens and stuck them under her, so I’m guessing she has 3-4 under her (including one dud). I wrote down on the calendar when 21 days would be up, and we will see if she continues to brood away and produces some chicks.

I know she’s eating, because she gets out for a while when it’s warm outside. That’s probably when it’s easiest to maintain warmth. She’s definitely in there all night, and not taking up space in the garage (yay). So, I guess we have another waiting game on our hands, and this time no one is gonna shew the broody hen off the nest. We can spare a few eggs, and who knows, maybe some of them will hatch into hens that lay green eggs (thanks to their baby daddy, Bruce, who’s an Easter Egger).

I’m looking forward to hearing from you all! Send me some comments. Blog listeners can even send voice messages (unless that turns out to be a big mistake).