Friday, October 25, 2013

Tiny Dancer is Molting

Tiny Dancer, our only standard-size chicken and our oldest, is molting, and she just looks awful. And I hate that the coop is full of her feathers everywhere. It looks like a predator got lucky. But when she's back to herself again she'll be a an even more beautifully-feathered Columbian Wyandotte.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Mystery Chick Appears!

Just happened to check the coop a few minutes ago and heard a wailing chick! Didn't even know we had an egg ready. We must have overlooked it buried in the nest fluff. Lee had marked some to hatch just two weeks ago. It's black with a black beak and grayish black feet. I was glad I was there because it squeezed through the chicken wire and popped out of the coop. I put it back and the two easter egger hens, the lavender and the black ones, promptly guided it to the run area and sat on it, both together! It's so cute...the black hen was peeking out the lavender one's wing.

We successfully rehomed our two Sultan cockerals in July, leaving us with our single rooster Ponyboy, the golden neck d'Uccle. Hoping this new chick is a female and the actual offspring of one of the two momma hens, which would give us another green egg layer.

Friday, July 12, 2013

Poor Penguin

Lee found our birchen cochin chick Penguin keeled-over dead in the coop the morning after July 4th. I had just checked on them right before sunset on the 4th and gave them some scratch. I thought it was odd that this chick, who was always the first to scramble for treats, for the first time did not partake. She just sat there, roosting on the ledge of the sand bin. She was growing so nice and fat, like a cochin should. And her birchen feathers were really pretty. I'll miss her. Everyone else is just fine.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chicks Update

2 months have gone by without an update. I've taken lots of progression photos, but have been lax in posting them here. I'll get them linked at some point. In the meantime the chicks have moved into the coop with the older hens. It was a pretty easy transition, and nobody really got picked on. For a while they separated themselves into two cliques, but the hens seem to like the new company, and they all hang out together now. The chicks loved all the new space and immediately enjoyed pecking, dust bathing, and the spacious roosts.

On June 19, when the chicks were about 13 weeks old, we heard the first crow from one of the sultans. We have since heard Ponyboy (previously Goldie), the golden neck d'Uccle, crow as well. So far their bantam shrieks are not very loud and don't happen constantly, although I've heard some long strings of cock-a-doodle-doo's. 4 houses down is another coop with standard-size chickens and we can clearly hear their rooster, but I'm pretty sure our crows don't carry that far.

Still not sure if the other sultan is a roo, too...I have not seen it crow and is always sitting quietly when I visit. Penguin, the black cochin I thought for sure was a roo, looks now like a very pretty birchen cochin hen...she just took a longer while to feather than the others. Her comb is also bigger than the other pullets but not as big as it would be if she were a roo. She and my favorite chick Squirrel, the silver-laced cochin, are just the friendliest of the bunch. I consider us pretty lucky that only 2-3 of the 8 chicks are roos.

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Momma Hen Postcard

Last month I got a Postcrossing postcard from the Netherlands of a Momma hen and her chicks. Adorable!

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Chicks Update

8 chicks, and I am only fairly certain that 3 of them are girls. The rest are just way too friendly and bold to not be roos. Two have telltale combs. I love them all and each different personality. I am sad that we can only keep one rooster. The chosen one would be our first rooster at the new house.  I don't know who I'd keep at this point. I've held each one of them every day since arrival, and while there are some that still don't like to be picked up an held, they are all pretty tame and not afraid of hands in the brooder. They will be 6 weeks old on Monday 4/29/13.

I think this larger of the two Sultans is a roo. Its pinkish comb is slightly bigger than the other's, and it will bump chests with the other suspected roos when challenged. Very friendly. Loves to eat out of my hand.

Maxi has no apparent comb, and it doesn't look like one is hidden, either. Kind of a loner, likes to roost while the others sit or eat together. Doesn't really like to be held. I wish I had more Polish.

I really like this one. It's the brooder greeter and has never flapped its wings in an attempt to escape my hand. Still runs around in circles as it did when it was days old. I really hope its hen appearance holds true.

Golden Neck Ponyboy is the sweetest definite cockeral. I would love to keep this one for its awesome personality and the chick colors it can produce.

I just love d'Uccles! I no longer think it's a buff columbian....more like a poorly spangled millefleur. Sweet pullet.

This slow feathering, most-likely-to-be-a-cockeral chick just doesn't like to be held. It struggles the most to escape my hand. The few feathers it does have on its back and head are looking very roo. Still, a good little boy that I'd rather keep than give away.

Molly is a sweet chick, most likely a pullet. A little skittish, but doesn't mind being held. I love the partridge feathering.

Some days, this sultan's comb looks pink, sometimes it's just pale. So I'm not sure what it is. This smaller sultan is the most laid back out of all the chicks, hanging back to roost or eat later.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Golden Neck d'Uccle Chickens

Golden Neck d'Uccle 'Ponyboy' - 6 weeks on 4/30/2013
Golden Neck d'Uccle

So I've been researching about the Golden Neck d'Uccle. Ideal Poultry where I got mine from indicates it is a rare variety. I found out how the color is bred from an article on the Belgian Bantam Club of Australia's website. Apparently, the golden neck color is the white offspring of two blue millefleur - all the base black of the normal millefleur is replaced with white, a homozygous blue millefleur. They say "Golden Neck" is an American name. The Dutch Chicken Color Calculator calls it "Splash Patterned Yellow/Golden Millefleur", or just Splash Millefleur -- I love this online color calculator. The genetics of chicken color combinations is so fascinating to me!

The girls had named it Goldie - I'm calling it Ponyboy -- Stay Gold!!
Shady Oak Bantams has some beautiful golden necks. This rooster they have is gorgeous.

This is our other d'Uccle -- a pullet, I think, which I thought at first was buff columbian, but right now just looks like a poorly spangled millefleur. I don't remember how long it took my previous d'Uccles to develop their spangles, and the millefleur ones were a richer gold/red. Maybe her color will improve as she gets older.
I can kinda see it -- in the splash millefleur (Golden Neck), the black is replaced with white

Friday, April 26, 2013

Guinea Flashback

Reminiscing back to when we had guineas at the old house. We had 7 keets in different colors and they grew up to be very pretty and very LOUD!

8-7-2008 5-01-48 PM

I think we had them for about a year until one day they all decided to dance atop our neighbor's metal roof at daybreak...they were pissed and soon after we had to give them back to the Quincy farm where we got most of them.

 8-7-2008 5-02-00 PM

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Childhood Chicken Memories

f 3-2-2008 5-12-06 PMAs I said in my profile, my husband wanted our girls to have childhood chicken memories like he did. I'm glad he convinced me (mainly because he said he would do most of the work!).

My younger daughter's 7th birthday is this week. I asked her recently if she remembers our first chickens, and she doesn't for the most part, until I show her the photos from our original 2008 flock.

5-2-2008 4-11-31 PM
Feeding the chickens
5-12-2008 4-15-58 PM 5-12-2008 4-17-59 PM
Loving our first hatched chicks
3-28-2009 9-17-07 AM 3-28-2009 9-17-42 AM
These were baby d'Uccle x Sultans
3-28-2009 9-17-50 AM d'Uccle x Sultan chicks

Our daughters love the new little chicks we have today. I love my chicken memories of their childhood.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chick Progression - The Sultans

(Clicking on any of the photos should enlarge it within a slideshow)
3/22/13 Just Arrived







They were the largest chicks upon arrival, and now tower over the others. Very quick to feather, but the crests still developing. While they are both laid back, I suspect they are both roos from their size and big feet. I hope not, because I really like them. I like all my suspected roos!
I just read a forum post on BYC that Ideal's bantam sultans are larger than normal bantam and smaller than the standard size...must be why they look so big!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Frizzly, or Slow to Feather?

Penguin @ 5 Weeks
Little Penguin is not feathering like the others. It has a few wayward wing feathers that curl out, and it's tail feathers are growing in oddly, but the other feathers look kind of normal. The secondary feathers on the wing are taking a very long time...looks pathetic compared to the others. No bald spots, though. Frizzle? Double Frizzle? I don't know. His feathers are not soft like the other cochins. Emerging comb and wattles are looking pinky-roo. Head feathers look pointed and blackish-white. Wing feathers are black with brownish tips. Maybe a birchen? Photos below @ 4 weeks.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pullets or Cockerels?

So after spending time with the chickies everyday, I think I can now make an educated gender guess from their looks and behavior. They will be 5 weeks old on Tuesday, 4/23/13.
Listed from most likely male to most likely female: (my little girls named them!)
L-R around the hand: Penguin, Molly, EE, PB, Squirrel
  1. Gold-necked d'Uccle "Goldie" - has a noticeably larger comb than Peanut Butter,  very friendly, and lately quite bossy. The comb is just now turning pink. I remember when we got our first d'Uccles Moneypenny and Smurfette at about the same age, the guy had a whole flock and you could easily tell the cockerels from the pullets by the size of the comb.
  2. Black Cochin "Penguin" - pink wattles starting to show. Comb is bigger than Squirrel's and Chocolate. Very slow to feather. not very friendly. But if it's frizzle as I suspect, he'll be a keeper. It may just a few wayward wing feathers, though.
  3. Silver-penciled Cochin "Squirrel" - always at the door when I arrive and wants to know what's going on. Friendliest of them all. But while she acts very roo, she looks more hen.
  4. Sultan "Easter Egg" I'm just not sure about these sultans. They are either both boys or both girls. Both are the largest out of the flock and were quick to feather, but their crests are still coming in. This bigger one only comes to me if I have feed in my hand.
  5. Sultan "Cheez" - The slightly smaller of the two sultans...the one with the silver gene. Now looks just as white as the other. Very laid back. Would rather wait than join the crowd around my hand to feed.
  6. White-crested black Polish "Maxi" - looks and acts like all the skittish Polish hens I've had before.
  7. Partridge Cochin "Chocolate" - quick to feather; feet feathers also have the barring. The girls have recently renamed her Molly. So soft!
  8. Squirrel
  9. Buff Columbian Millefleur d'uccle "Peanut Butter" - laid back and aloof like my previous d'Uccle hens. Small comb compared to Goldie's.

Peanut Butter