Friday, February 25, 2011

Chicks are 3 days Old and Doing Great!

getting a little drink - look at the tiny feather already growing on the wing!

The 4 baby chicks are doing well and mamma hen seems to be a great mother.  I am having some trouble in their area that has been sectioned off for them in the back of the main coop as mom seems to get restless and the feeder keeps getting knocked over.  I don't have a picture of it right yet, but today I made a little "A-Frame" shelter about the size of a small dog house and sectioned off an area in the main run where, on nice days, she and the chicks can have more room.  I think that will appease mamma hen!  I put them out in it today, mamma hen did a quick down and dirty dust bath and then went inside the new shelter with the babies and they ate and drank.  (it was windy as a storm is approaching here so I don't think she wanted to go outside the a-frame to get the food and water).  Everyone seemed very content!  After this storm passes, I'll let them out there during the days and I think this will be a great arrangement.  I'm learning a lot and am learning quickly what I didn't do right and need to have for the next time!  But, that's expected and I'm loving the process.  Most importantly, they are all healthy and active!  So, we're bracing for wind, rain and low temps (well, low for Southern California - mid 20's and chance of snow even!).  The main coop is good and protected and I know underneath mamma hen it's in the 90's!!  Lucky chicks.

The little legs you see is baby using the "wing tunnel" to get warm under mamma

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Four Healthy Babies!

The final tally is four chicks!  I am completely okay with this.  (and if I wasn't?).  Mamma hen moved off her nest yesterday morning and moved the 4 babies close to the food and water.  After she had been off the eggs over two hours I knew she had abandoned them because for whatever reason they were not going to hatch.  I removed the eggs and cracked them open because I wanted to see what was going on inside.  The first one I cracked was just runny yoke - that must have been the egg I candled and I was very unsure about but left it in there just in case!  The other two were developed chicks (no they were not alive) but for some reason didn't hatch.   That's a bummer but I'm sure there was a reason for them not hatching.  So, out of the original 8 eggs I put under her, I got four babies!  Two were not fertile and two didn't hatch.  I'm happy with the little flock!

Mamma hen is a great mother.  I watched her for the longest time yesterday as she fluffed up big and held her wings slightly out so the babies would have a little tunnel to run under for warmth.  They would come out, walk around a little, drink or eat and then dart back under her when they wanted to get warm or rest.  When I got home from work, she had taken them all back to the nest where she was laying.  They are a beautiful orange-red and it's going to be so exciting to watch them grow!  I hope they are all hens, ha ha!

I am feeding them organic chick starter that is non medicated.  I don't believe in medicating my animals unless absolutely necessary.  I think natural exposure and building up resistance to coccidiosis for the chicks is a better way to go and I've read when they grow up with mom they should build up a good resistance.  I also put a small amount of organic unfiltered, unpasteurized apple cider vinegar in their water for a little immune system boost.  I hope they all grow up healthy!

That's all for now - just a little chicken update!  Hope everyone is having a good week.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Baby Chicks!!

The babies are here!  So, exciting.  Monday morning, I saw two eggs were being pipped.  When I got home from work, I pushed mamma's chest back and saw there were two chicks and one more egg was pipped.  Unfortunately, I had to drive to San Diego yesterday(Tuesday) and didn't get back until right after dark.  But, I checked under mamma again and there were 4 baby chicks!  As of last night, that makes 4 hatched and 3 unhatched.  I'm not sure if the other 3 are going to hatch but I will know soon.  If not, 4 is great!  I was very worried last night cause it didn't appear that anyone ate or drank anything. (I'm a worry wart)  I went online to my chicken forum at and was told that newly hatched babies can go 60 hours without food or drink and not to worry and that mamma will take them out when ready!  Whew, relief.  So, away we go!  They are sooooo adorable!  Little orangey-red fluffy things.  They are Rhode Island Reds since Jack is a RIR and I only put the larger brown eggs under her that are from the RIR hens.  More to come later but wanted to get this out!  I'll be going out soon when it warms up a bit this morning.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Counting Down... One more Day!!

I'm so excited about tomorrow.  I really hope everything has gone well and the baby chicks hatch tomorrow as planned!  Dang, I'm beside myself!

I had a good weekend.  Friday, we worked on the shop some more and were making good headway until the winds picked up.  Navigating 4' x 8' sheets of plywood in 30 mph winds on ladders is not our idea of fun, so that was short lived.  Did my taxes on Saturday since it was a cold, rainy and windy day.  That felt GOOD to get finished!  Whew.  No horseback riding cause of the weather.  Sunday, I rode Mickey, worked on the workshop some more and then I got the baby chicken area completely ready for Tuesday when I hope they hatch.  

There was a little happening on Sunday that is noteworthy.  While working outside, I had let the chickens out to free range as I normally do when I'm close by.  All of a sudden, about 15 feet to my left I saw two coyotes running top speed toward the flock of chickens that were out pecking and scratching away.  I yelled, "No!!" as I was certain one or two were in an instant to get carried away.  Right after I yelled, I saw my Boxer dog Sherman in hot pursuit!  He chased them down at least 5 acres away.  I quickly called the chickens into their run, counted them and was shocked to find they were all accounted for!  I'm certain between my yelling and them being chased by Sherman, they were distracted and momentarily gave up on their lunch.  Sherman is my hero!!

Just had dinner and about ready to call it a night.  All vegetarian "(non) chicken taco pie" (made with seitan), green beans and almonds, cornbread and chard followed by two homemade chocolate chip cookies.  Yum!  Well, I'll be checking in hopefully tomorrow or the next day hopefully with pictures of baby chickens!

Winner of the Bumper Sticker Giveaway

I had a hard time choosing a winner of the 15 custom bumper stickers from cause I would start to feel bad choosing one person over another from my blog buddies!  So, I asked a neutral party to choose her favorite out of all the names.  I took the easy way out!  Ha ha. 

So, the winner is... Inger from   She chose "Pippi Chicken" as the next hen name!  Thanks everyone for contributing.  It was fun and I enjoyed all the names.  Have a great day!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Custom Bumper Sticker Giveaway!

Well, the little peepers are supposed to hatch in 6 days!  I'm so excited.  I thought it would be fun to do a giveaway for the person who can come up with the "best hen name".  I will be keeping all the pullets and am at a loss for names. 

The giveaway is for 15 custom bumper stickers that you design from  I just got a custom street sign made after the name of my place here, "Lazy Dog Ranch" and it's awesome.  

What is the "best" hen name?  I suppose that is quite subjective but I'll know it when I read it! 

This is how it works - suggest ONE name in the comment form.  If you refer someone over to my blog who also participates, then you can enter a second name.  I'll announce the winner on Monday morning.  In the meantime, you can browse their site at  The link to the bumper sticker portion is  You will be able to design your sticker any way you want and they have lots of pictures, borders, etc to choose from.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with!  Hope everyone is having a great week.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Egg Candling & Hen Fights!

Haughty, the setting hen got up yesterday afternoon and decided she was going to have a bite to eat.  I lifted the hatch of the area she is kept, scooped her out and let her be with the other chickens to eat and drink.  I took the opportunity to candle the eggs she is setting on.  Since I'm inexperienced at this, I was just going to let her set and whatever happened happened.  But, Kelle at The Never Done Farm blog wisely told me to candle the eggs because if some aren't fertile, they can explode and rot and the hen will abandon the nest or it will contaminate the other eggs.  So, I shut all the windows of the coop, shut the door and it was me, a flashlight, a toilet paper roll and the eggs.  I looked up online what to look for and since I'm such a novice, I hope I "read the results" correctly!  From what I could see, 7 out of the eggs seemed to be developing well!  There was one where I saw a small fracture in the egg while candling and that one had nothing in it.  So, I grabbed the "bad egg", put the 7 back am hoping for 7 healthy chicks in less than two weeks!
In the meantime, I saw something that was a sight for me!  When I came back out of the coop, all the gals and Jack were eating cause I left a lid full of scratch laying on the ground.  I am wondering if Haughty is getting a bit more aggressive since she is soon going to have babies as I'm sure she will most likely protect them from other hens down the road.  Well, the "lead hen" is Theodocia and if I hadn't know they were hens, I would have thought I was watching a cock fight!  Theodocia and Haughty were jumping up in the air, bumping chests and sparring madly!!  The other hens fled and when the two of them stopped their spar, business went back to normal.  Wow.  Didn't quite know what to make of that!  Haughty was then ready to go back in her area and she resumed setting on her eggs.  To appease hint of guilt of being a chick killer, I made sure my candling assumption was correct and cracked open the egg I took away and was relieved when there was no baby chick inside!!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My First Blue Egg!

I got a great big "little" suprise after coming home from work yesterday (Monday).  I went in to close up the chicken coop, checked on the girls and almost stepped on something on my way to look at Haughty, the setting hen.  The smallest, most perfect little pretty blue egg!  My Easter Egger, Tu Tu Evans, layed her first egg!  Must have taken her by surprise as it was layed in the middle of the coop, ha ha.  It's the prettiest shade of blue and a bit darker than I expected.  Very small of course, but that will change with some more time.  What a great Monday treat!  Good job, Tu Tu Evans!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Moved Momma Hen to be, to a New Nest!

I've been worried and researching what to do for a few days now.  My broody hen was setting in the regular nesting box which was above ground.  I saw images in my head of tiny fuzzy chickens catapulting out of the nesting box to get injured or mauled by the other chickens.  I read that moving a broody hen can cause her to reject the eggs.  After getting a lot of opinions from both sides of the "argument", I decided to go for it.  Remember when I brought the new girls (the Easter Egger and Barred Plymouth Rock) home from the feed store and I had them in the back of the coop until they were old enough to mix with the older hens?  Well, I reconstructed that, but this time a little better, with a hinged lid where I can access the area easily.  I made a new nesting box out of an old milk crate (half size) and lined it with new pine shavings.  I removed most of the pine shavings in her area of the coop and put new shavings down.  I set a cinder block in and put her food and water.  And, then... I moved Haughty!!

At first, she was upset and I thought I had made a mistake.  She was clucking loudly and pacing frantically back and forth.  I decided to let her be alone.  About 15 minutes later, I went back to assess the situation and she was cozied up on top of all her eggs!!  Success!!  Now, I don't have to worry about falling chicks!!  16 days and counting till I hope I have baby chicks!

Friday, February 4, 2011

If All Goes Well, Jack is Gonna be a Daddy!

One of my Rhode Island Reds (Haughty) went broody almost 2 months ago.  It was way too cold to think about having babies around, so I figured the setting and urge would pass in about 21 days.  Not.  Like I said, almost 2 months ago!  So, Tuesday I gave her 8 eggs to start laying on.  Spring is almost here, Rhodies aren't known for being real broody and she deserves an award for persistance.  So, if all goes well, I'll have chicks two weeks from Tuesday!!  (day 21) 

Jack is the proud dad!  I pulled the Delaware eggs and only left the brown RIR eggs, so the chicks will all be Rhode Island Reds.  The reason I pulled the Delaware eggs is because when breeding a RIR rooster and a Delaware hen, they are sex linked - all the males will be white and look like Delawares and the females will look like Rhodies.  Since I'm not going to keep any roosters (Jack said this is a one man camp), I figured my hens who look like Rhode Island Reds should be Rhode Island Reds!  In the future when my Barred Plymouth Rock starts laying (very soon, I hope), I will want to hatch some of her eggs as they will produce a "Black Rock" chicken.  I want some of them around! 

So, wish us all luck around here!  I'm hoping for a successful and healthy hatch in a little more than 2 weeks!