Saturday, April 14, 2012

Spring Chickens

Winter was rough on our hens this year.  The molt lasted about two full months.  If it weren't for our young EE's, we would have had to buy eggs from the grocery store!  (The horror!)  They started to lay again right around the new year.  There were feathers everywhere.  

After the molt, we had about two months of harmony.  Then disaster hit our poor girls.  We had our first even casualty.  The girls were free ranging in the backyard in late February when a fox attacked.  He got our poor Omellette.  We were heartbroken.  Omellette and Maple were are favorite two hens.  Omellette would come to us for treats and even let us pet her and pick her up.  She was by far the most tame of our little flock.  We miss her dearly, and explaining her death to our three year old was rough.  He still asks about her.

Now that Omellette is gone, and the three originals are just about done laying, we have decided to replenish our stock.  We got six new chicks from Big R a few weeks back.  We have no idea what breeds they are, but here is a picture from their first day home.  I estimate they were hatched on March 20.

And here they are at about a week old.

They are still in the brooder in the garage for now, but we had a few days of very warm weather, so we brought the chicks out to play.  They are starting to enter their "dinosaur phase" now and aren't very cute anymore.  They get so awkward for a few weeks.  We'll leave them in the garage under the heat lamp until they are fully feathered, then they will transition to the small coop until they are big enough to go into the big coop with the older ladies.

I think the two black ones are going to be Plymouth Rocks, but I'm at a loss as to what the other four will be.  Hatchery choice, you know.  As always, it's an adventure!