Batch #1 at 6 Weeks

Our first batch will be 6 weeks old tomorrow, they are gorgeous and I have the pictures to prove it!  I lied when I said they haven’t changed since the last pictures.

Below are the Ameraucanas, they have an eagle like face and flat black feathers.  As they mature their feathers will have a striking metallic green sheen when the sunlight hits them.

Here are the Olive Easter Eggers, they are stunning and we can’t wait to see them continue to fill out.  They will be doubly gifted, good looks and pretty green eggs.  I imagine the roosters will be real lookers too.

Since we’re talking about roosters, we had 3 Ameraucana roosters last spring and they were all sweet.  As I just said, I think the OEE roosters are going to be some handsome devils.  See our Rooster Adoption page on our website and think about adding a roo to your flock, we’ll have several beautiful, lovely boys available.

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Babies and Decisions

We welcomed 17 new babies on and through May 9-11.  We set 20 OEE eggs and 11 Ameraucana eggs, 9 OEE eggs hatched and 8 Ameraucana eggs hatched, that’s about 50% (altogether), which I will say is better than nothing!  All babies are beautiful and healthy.  This was a more difficult hatch then the last one.  The first batch hatched quickly over one day, this batch hatched slowly over 2.5 days.  I had to help 2 chicks out of their eggs and free the beaks from the shell and the membrane for 2 breeched chicks.  One chick was so slow to zip out of the egg that it became “glued” into it’s egg.  The membrane dried up over it’s head and even across it’s eye, I had to soften the dried membrane with warm water and slowly help the little gaffer out.  I learned a lot this batch, the best part was learning to trust my instincts and seeing a successful result.

We were so happy to welcome the last of Ragnar’s babies, they were joined by 2 of Cletus’s (Welsummer roo), and 2 of Dottie’s (Blue Maran Hen) babies.  Below is a picture of the OEE’s, the one on the left is Dottie’s, middle is Cletus’s and on the right is Ragnar’s.  Also we welcomed some beautiful Ameraucanas, we again had a few babies with lots of yellow and grey feathers, so I think one of our hen’s might be carrying a Blue line, we’ll have to wait and see.

Our first batch of chicks will be 6 weeks old on Monday, all are healthy and growing like weeds.  They don’t look much different then their last picture, except they are a bit bigger.  They are about 1/2 way through the their growing period here at Down by the Bay Backyard Poultry.  Hopefully in another 6 weeks we will start to be able to tell who is a girl and who is a boy.  We already have a clue about a few of them, so far I’m pretty sure we have one lovely, big OEE cockerel and one bossy Ameraucana cockerel.  Watching them fill out is my favourite part, I love watching all of their changes from chick to chicken, and also love watching them come into their own personalities.

Some plans that we had to expand our breeding to Marans and Welsummers has changed.  Ragnar our Splash Maran rooster died and then we heard from Katy last week that she had no Maran or Welsummer chicks available this season due to breeding issues.  We have decided for the time being that we will not be breeding Marans in the near future.  We have to locate a new breeder for Welsummer chicks and may be able to get some hatching eggs from a small breeder in  Alberta.  It is an expensive investment to have eggs shipped in from the west and you hope that you get at least a 50% hatch rate.  I hope we can get a new Welsummer bloodline this summer for breeding next season.

Our goal was to have 3 batches hatched before the first week of June, we are already behind and then today there was an incident that will effect the 3rd batch. This morning my family was helping move breeding sets out into their outdoor pens and accidentally an OEE hen was put in the Ameraucana pen.  I do not have 2 weeks to clear her system of Charlie and it is not in the hen’s best interest to isolate her for 5-9 days while I collect eggs for the incubator.  For the next batch, we will be setting Ameraucana eggs with a few OEE eggs from Dottie.  This will mean that the 3rd batch will not only be small, but mostly Ameraucana.

I’ll keep posting pictures, so keep checking in everyone 😉

 

 

 

Babies’ Big Day

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The warmer breezes of spring are finally here and the chicks have outgrown their inside brooder.  They are all feathered and ready for the next step, the outside chicken tractor or rather “nursery”.

Yesterday was their first day outside, and they were a bit freaked out. All new senses for them to take in. There was a breeze ruffling their feathers, a loud daddy rooster crowing at them in the next tractor, the neighbours dog barking, grass under their feet, big humans marvelling down on them and then very loud small humans running and yelling around them.

As soon as we put them outside we could see them in the natural light and we are so pleased with how beautiful they are. It is bittersweet to put fresh eyes on Ragnar’s offspring, they are gorgeous, just as I thought they would be. They are a beautiful steel blue, every single one of them. We are hoping that we will welcome some more of his babies in the next week, when the eggs in the incubator hatch. (I am going to try and secure a Splash Maran rooster from our breeder in New Brunswick this summer, so that we can again offer beautiful OEEs next season, fingers crossed!)

The chicks will continue to fill out in their seaside nursery over the next 10 weeks.  I personally handle them twice a day, moving them from their nighttime space in the coop to the tractor, and vice versa. My family and I will pay them some visits throughout the day as well.

Today is cold and wet, so they have had to stay in their pen in the coop, and that is scary stuff too. There is a very angry daddy rooster next door who also, and reluctantly has to stay in the coop and he’s letting everyone know about it.  Then a very angry Uncle rooster who is upset that another rooster is under his roof, and then the loud chatter of clucking hens as well.  I imagine they will sleep very well tonight for sure!

Below are the new pictures of the Olive Easter Eggers, and then the Ameraucanas (4Weeks of age).

These pictures pretty much sum up their personalities so far.  The OEEs seem to be a bit more busy, they have been since day one.  I had the OEEs in one brooder and the Ameraucanas in another brooder immediately after hatch.  The OEEs were constantly up and active and occasionally having “words” with each other over goodness knows what, (over who is the boss I imagine).  The Ameraucanas on the other hand were always just chillin: eat, relax then sleep, repeat.

We are excited to watch them continue to fill out and can’t wait to see the beautiful birds they will become, especially Ragnar’s babies, I’m so sad we lost him 😦