Fowl Update

July 23, 2007

It’s dark out, and almost 9pm, but I can hear the guineas outside making a racket about something. They’re not called the “barnyard watchdogs” for nothing! We have two sets of babies (keets) left. The first batch we so carefully penned up was a disaster. None of those survived. The others that hatched out close to the same time was a smaller group, and there are still two keets running around. I have hope they’ll survive, as they are already half grown.

Then last week we noticed a new group of 5 babies. They are still pretty small, and already down to 3 keets. One way or another, something seems to get to the little ones, and the survival rate is pretty low. I think we have too many hawks, owls and 4-legged predators.

Of course, it’s better than the peafowl, which have zip babies right now. I still haven’t had any luck with any eggs hatching in the incubators. My only hope now is one peahen who is sitting on an unknown number of eggs. This is the first year any have tried to nest. I hope she does better hatching eggs than the incubator.

The peahens will probably stop laying soon. The peacock is molting, losing feathers at a rapid rate. That usually signals the end of mating season. It looks like another not-so-successful year with the peafowl. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but the last couple of years have been a bust.

The 3 little chicks of assorted flavors are growing rapidly. In fact, I mistook one the other day for one of the little Golden Sebright hens. They wander further away from Mama Hen these days, and don’t always stick together either. I think they may all be hens, which would be a miracle, but they don’t have much of a comb even yet, and a rooster should be showing a pretty good sized comb by now.

Our last little outside fowl, Peepers, just got moved into a bigger cage on the front porch. After she was abandoned by her mother, and I couldn’t get the other hen to adopt her, I put her in a birdcage on the back porch. She’s about outgrown it, so we put her in a bigger cage. I’m not ready to turn her loose yet, since she’s only half grown. I’m not sure how’s she going to do on her own.

She doesn’t look like the other three, so we have 4 chicks that are all different. Nothing like fowl diversity!

Peepers on top of her bird cage.

What Egg-xactly is it?

July 5, 2007

Some of our chickens like to lay eggs in a feed trough in the sheep shed. When I went out to gather eggs, here is what I saw:

Okay, true confession time. The top egg I placed in there for comparison. It’s a peafowl egg. Our peafowl are in a large aviary, so lay their eggs in there. Once in a while we find a chicken egg in the aviary, as our Golden Sebright’s can slip through the openings in the wire at the bottom, but generally speaking, the chicken eggs and peafowl eggs aren’t together.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering what peafowl are – I know some people get confused at the term peafowl! Think peacocks. Only peafowl is the real name for those type of birds, peahens are the girls, peachicks are the young birds, and peacocks are the boys, and the boys only.

Anyway, back to the nest of eggs! In the middle are two chicken eggs. The white one on the left comes from a Sicilian Buttercup hen. The one on the right comes from a Buff Orpington hen.

Now the bottom egg, I’m not sure egg-xactly what it is. With that odd shape, I believe it may have been a Polish Crescent Sliver Moon chicken.

Well, okay, maybe not. I do believe it came from our Polish Crested Silver Laced chicken however. I really don’t know what happened that she laid this egg with such a strange shape. They usually look just like the other chicken eggs.

I guess she just wanted this one to be egg-stra special!

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