Sunday, July 30, 2006


"you're hogging my nest, Hildegaard"

"hurry up and finish, Grace!" MEREDITH is about half way with her sitting. She still has NINE eggs. Around August 7th or 8th a couple eggs may hatch.
Truvey lent me an incubator because I know some other eggs were laid 2 or 3 days after MEREDITH started sitting. We shall see.
Here are a couple pics of white MEREDITH being "annoyed " by other hens...... but she is still stoically sitting!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Pondering the fragility of life

I had originally marked 12 eggs for MEREDITH, 3 have broken. So we are down 9. I am a bit concerened at this point that more eggs could break. This could be because the hens are not getting enough calcium. Or, because everytime MEREDITH gets off her nest for a break .. another hen may sit to lay her eggs! (traffic may cause broken eggs). I have put another nesting box out for the other hens but to no avail; Life is so precious.

It is amazing:
1)That MEREDITH (who was an incubated chick and hand raised) is actually sitting on eggs in the first place.
2)That the eggs are actually fertilized... (even though I have 2 busy roosters)
3)That the eggs last for 3 weeks under the hen without being broken!
4)That a chick is born healthy.
5)That the chick will grow to adulthood.I'll be happy for MEREDITH to have one healthy chick at this point.

Now I am marvelling at the fragility of life!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006


Well, this evening
TRUVEY my best chicken buddy and wonderful comrade showed me how to "EGG CANDLE". Its a way to see if Meredith's eggs are truly fertile and have potential for new life.
This is what you need & what you do:
1. Clip on lamp with 60 w bulb.
2. Soup can, drained.
3. Can opener :) scissors & cardboard.
4. Drill or cut a hole in the other end of the can with a very sharp instrument & be careful.
5. Cut a hole in the middle of a cardboard circle and set on the top of can.
Voila, an egg candler.
I took a few eggs from under Meredith (who got extremely cranky and rightfully so) and we turned off the lights in the room. Then we carefully held the eggs over the stream of light. We really could not detect much "action" in 3 of the eggs, maybe because they were only laid 4 or so days ago. (Or maybe my 2 roosters hadn't been busy enough :)
However inside one brown egg, we could see a long thin vein! Life! So now I know I have at least one little chick on the way.
We will "egg candle" again in a week or so. Maybe by next week, more chicks will be evident, but I will be glad to have ONE!

a little history on MEREDTH

As of today, MEREDITH is still a pullet, under one year old; here she is on my shoulder, about one month old. MEREDITH had a twin sister called Xena who eventually died after too much injury.

I had been taking care of MEREDITH because the mature hens had almost pecked the life out of her because she was very young and scared and got herself cornered in the coop. Yes, Hens can be very mean at first, that's why they call it a "pecking order"... excuse the gory picture but that's the way it is.

MEREDITH is such a survivor! About 6 weeks later, when she was bigger, (and Xena was still around) MEREDITH and Xena escaped the coop. My dog caught and teased both of them and Xena was badly injured. MEREDITH was not hurt but in shock. It was also about 45 out and they both got very cold. So I warmed them up in my electric blankie. Eventually I had to euthanize Xena but MEREDITH is a fighter !
When the hens get out of the coop, my dog has learned not to kill - but she still may scare them to death. I have had a hen die of simple shock. However, I love my dog and do many things to keep the chickens from escaping the coop.
She's one tough chicken and should be a good protective Mama!

SO here is MEREDITH at about 3 months old - her large floppy comb has not grown in yet! She is still at the bottom of the pecking order (except for my 3 young araucanas who seem to take good care of themselves as a group)
Now MEREDITH is going to be the HEAD mama of the coop; She's as cranky as can be and her babies will be here in about 2 weeks - maybe longer if we have to incubate some of them.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

ITS DAY 5 !!

Well, since my chickens and roosters are so important in my life (other than my daughter, my coyote-dog Diamond, and my special friends (and that's YOU Truvey because you understand chickens too).
I have decided to have a special blog about my birds.
After having yardbirds for 3 years - finally - one of my hens (MEREDITH) has decided to SIT. Today she is sitting on 12 eggs!!! (She has been setting for 6 days) I never thought my birds would sit on their eggs because most of them are "store bought" and were raised in incubators, not by "farm chicken moms". I have had 2 birds sit for a day but they would always quit.
MEREDITH is a white leghorn, yep, the kind you see in those awful imfamous egg breeding barns where the poor white birds do nothing but lay white eggs for people who shop at Walmart, Kroger, Safeway, you get my drift.
MEREDITH has become very cranky and that's cool, she is a MOM to be..and working hard.. I am praying that she will have several healthy baby chicks and that she will be a good Mom and keep the babies safe from getting through the fence, safe from my dog and from the other hens.
What is funny about all this, is that none of the eggs belong to MEREDITH. They were laid by other hens, different breeds such as my araucanas and my plymouth rock.
Today I figured 12 eggs was plenty so I took Truvey's advice and marked them up well with pencil. This way I can remove (and eat or sell) the fresh eggs that are laid for now on. My other hens insist on cuddling up with MEREDITH and laying their daily eggs.
The new chicks (I am praying and thrilled about this) have two fathers... I have 2 roosters, Hans and Jasper. These are small mixed breeds roosters with a lot of bantam in them. So the chicks will (God willing) be very mixed and interesting.
Ms. MEREDITH is "due" on or around Truvey's birthday August 7. Here's a pic of the flock and white Meredith is located at about "eight O' clock".