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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: bantam

We noticed some mites on a hen that was getting her injured leg wrapped. They are extremely tiny and easy to miss, but when you see them on your poultry, it is best to deal with the situation as soon as possible. Within the next day or two, one by one, I pulled our birds out of the coops. Each chicken was treated for these nuisance pests.

Our injured bantam Ameraucana hen

Wild birds and newly purchased poultry are the main sources of chicken mites and lice. It is part of the deal if you choose to keep chickens, but merely requires periodic checks and attention. Bird mites/lice are species specific. You may get a few on you when working with your chickens, and they may bite you. But, they will not take up residence on humans.

With our poultry now held in smaller, stronger coops due to predatory loss, parasite proliferation and disease can occur more easily. Free ranging chickens are usually very healthy since they have the freedom to take care of their own hygiene and balance their own nutrition.

Our main coop is a tractor type and allows you to move your chickens to a fresh patch of grass. It is the best compromise for caged v. loose. We need to build more of these.

Chickens normally clean themselves off by taking dirt/sand baths. They enjoy dusting themselves as much as they like to scratch and peck at the ground. I sometimes let a group out towards the evening to frolic about so that if any of them elude re-capture, they’ll roost shortly as the sky darkens. When they are in “zombie sleep mode” I can grab up any of the strays.

When I was taking this closer look at our fowl, I noticed how glossy our red bantam Cochin rooster had become. The feathers of a rooster are so beautiful. The older a male chicken gets, the more magnificent the plumage becomes. So, after completing my farmette chores, I took some new pics:

“Mozart” (bantam Polish rooster) unhappy about picture day

Black & White feathers

“Big Red” – Red bantam Cochin roo

Red feathers

Black & Red bantam cockerel

Black & Red feathers

Splash bantam Cochin cockerel

Splash feathers

Blue Showgirl Silkie roo

Blue feathers

White bantam Polish x Showgirl Silkie “Ugly Project” cockerel

I am not sure if any iridescence will show up in this little guy’s tail feathers, but we will know by the Spring. Either way, he is handsome
– in a strange and bizarre kind of way.

White feathers

Hens can have great feathers too.

Splash bantam Ameraucana hen’s feathers

Mille Fleur bantam Cochin hen

Mille Fleur (“Thousand Flowers”) feathers

Pictures do not do justice to the color, shine and detail of chicken feathers. In order to see how truly gorgeous they are, you must see them in person – or raise your own personal  flock!


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This boy was finally caught on his evening roost. I managed to get a few good pics of him this am. Aside from his battle wounds (still healing from his territorial fight), he is a very good looking bird.

The nice thing about Cochins is their mild mannered nature. This guy never tries to skewer (with his spurs) or bite people. Once you catch him, he is a cooperative model.

Bantam Birchen Cochin Roo:

His imitation of a Bald Eagle.

SG Silkie x Bantam Polish Cockerel
(just plain missed getting his pic yesterday)

This young roo has not been plucked nor is he molting. He is actually part of our ugly breeding project.

Chick Magnet!

This growing adolescent is actually quite full of himself. Our lady’s man proclaims to be quite a stud.

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More 2012 Breeders (& Upcoming Stock)

Bantam Ameraucana (Blue Egg) Breeders:

Splash Ameraucana Roo

Splash Ameraucana Pullet:

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FARMETTE 1769 – JUNE 2012
Chicken Pic Parade

Our Bantam Cochin Breeders:

Red Cochin Cockerel:

White Cochin Hen:

Blue Laced Cochin Pullet:

Mille Fleur Cochin Hens:

Birchen Cochin Roo – Who would not be caught for a good pic, so please excuse my photography. Also, this roo is recovering from a run-in with another too. He lost!:

Our Silkie Breeders:

SQ Blue Splash Silkie Roo:

SQ Blue Splash Silkie Hen:

Black Silkie/Polish “Ugly” Hen:

SG Blue Frizzle Silkie Roo:

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This is the first deformed chick that has hatched here on the farmette. I really should not joke and call him a freak. His name will be Chance II since his survival will hang in the balance where eating and drinking are concerned.

The story can be told mostly in pictures. As much as his beak is twisted, he is able to drink. That is good. Food will be a challenge. Instead of having a shallow food bowl, I am going to try one that is deep. It will be filled with chick starter food (fine crumbles).

Chance II is an amazing chick so far. He cracked his way out of his shell with that crossed bill. Maybe it was an advantage and worked like scissors (I really should not joke).

Surprisingly, despite this baby’s special physique, he is strong and healthy. He peeps and runs around behaving just like the other chicks. If you look down in the brooder bin, you really can’t tell that anything is wrong.


I saved the best view for last. This angle shows the left side of his face as normal, but he right side gone a-rye in development. He can see fine out of his left eye. The right one did not form into something usable. I am glad that he is not completely blind.

It was hard to get Chance II to keep still for photos. This is a good thing. Maybe our oddball chick will not only drink, but eat some chick starter food soon. 🙂

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Things on the Farmette change all the time. As we delve further into our experiences in country living, we make more refined decisions about what works for us.

Our poultry is a big concern. We had added lots of different kinds of fowl to the mix. There are no regrets. We have loved having them all and learned a lot from doing so. This year, mainly by attrition as predators such as feral cats, coyote, foxes, and hawks discovered easy pickings in our domesticated bird lot, we have downsized by type.

We had started letting them back out, again, but that had dire consequences – worse than the last raid on our bantam coops a bit farther back in time. Everyone is now locked up for good unless we are out keeping a careful eye on them… They just love running around picking green shoots of grass and reducing the insect population, but it is not safe to leave them out for very long. We need to build a few mobile mini yards, so that they can enjoy more freedom.

We will be keeping our pet turkey raised from a week old poult.  She sits down to be pet like a dog and will follow you everywhere. Gertrude is a farm pet. We also get extremely big eggs for breakfast every Spring.

However, her beau Bart is FOR SALE. He is 1/2 Royal Palm and 1/2 Standard Bronze. He is a proven breeder and is 2 years old. We got him as a Jake. He is not aggressive (actually shy), but will follow you for food. Bartholomew puts on quite a show for his girl and will gobble up a storm during breeding season, or when feeling a bit cocky – throughout the year.

Bartholomew the Tom Turkey - $40.00 OBO. "Update" Gertrude for sale also if purchased with Bart. $75.00 for this big, healthy, breeding pair. Note: Need incubator for eggs since hen is so heavy. Gerti and Bart - SOLD

We have 2 female Japanese quail (need to get a boy). And the rest of the flock is made up of Mini Bantam chickens. Chicks are hatching out of our incubator now. It is located in my office so that I can keep it properly maintained and monitored at all times.

Our focus is on “the Ridiculous-looking chicken” project. We cross Americauna, Polish, Silkie, Silkie Showgirl, D’uucle, Serama, Sebright and Cochin in order to accomplish this goal. One great by-product is that the crosses are extremely healthy since inbreeding flaws are bred out in the process. You get a lot of great looking chickens, wonderful layers and a strong genetic pool.

Project Chicks

Chick Pic 2

The following pics show last Spring’s crosses and Parents.

Silkie Showgirl x Polish Hen

Cochin x Silkie Hen

Serama Rooster

Polish Roo

Polish Top Hats have quite a Headdress

Bantam Americauna Rooster

D'uucle x Silkie Hen full shot

D'uucle x Silkie Hen head shot

Silkie Showgirl Rooster head shot

SSG Roo

This RIDICULOUS masterpiece is up for sale. He is an Americauna x Silkie Showgirl and falls into the Easter Egger category since his female offspring will lay blue or green eggs.

Americauna x Silkie Showgirl Young Rooster - SOLD to Becky M.

Alternate pose

Head shot

This hen is a Serama x Sebright with a little Cochin mixed in. There is also one more hen. She is a black with rust colored Serama with a little Cochin mixed in. She produces nice tiny chicks.

Serama x Sebright Cochin Hen

Serama with a twist of Cochin Hen

And last but not least is our Purebred Silkie Roo (a bit muddy today).

White Silkie Roo

Marshmallow

Have a Cockle Doodle Day!

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Egg hatching season has arrived! By the time our newly acquired eggs hatch, the weather will be softening up. So, I purchased a set of fancy half breed eggs on Ebay. The keeper has all purebreds, but the different types are all loose together. Since they consisted of fancies that we were planning on crossing anyway, this purchase seemed right.

You take a great risk getting eggs in the mail. I am not sure if it is true, but egg sellers claim that postal x-rays will kill the embryos. Temperature is the most likely culprit of getting unhatchable eggs delivered and, of course, breakage. Once the eggs are on their way, there is no control over what happens. I carefully weight the cost vs. risk factor. Hatching eggs are normally non-refundable.

Some egg sellers get defensive and focus on “operator error” as the most likely cause of a bad hatch. I don’t buy eggs from sellers that rant and rave about this particular issue in their description text. I am sure that they are doing everything right on their end, especially since most of the eggs that I have gotten are so well packed. But finger pointing at customers is immature. A seller can sometimes act like the “God of egg hatching” while buyers are merely “amateurs that screw everything up”. Most egg buyers are pretty responsible. It does take some practice, but when you get pretty good at incubating, a “no hatch” batch’s most likely culprit exists in the transit part of the process.

The new eggs are in the incubator. They have been in for several days, so I candled some to test for fertility/life. Things did not look promising. I checked a few sites about egg candling that confirmed my feeling that the eggs were probably bad. Up until now, I have kept questionable eggs in the incubator for the duration of a normal hatch, but was seriously considering tossing this batch early.

So, I took an egg out randomly to crack open into a container. Much to my surprise, although EXTREMELY small (now exposed in a white, kitchen, soup bowl), I could see the little heart of a chick embryo beating in the yolk. It just kept beating too. NOTE: A humane way to put a life like this to sleep is with ice, cold water.

I found a site that has a few “questionable” fertile egg pics. It gives a better range of visuals for reference. My eggs look a lot like the “undefined” examples on this site.

The lesson for the day is – give your eggs some time. When I get some more obvious visuals of healthy growth for these bantam, chicken eggs, I will record the timing and hopefully remember to post it to this blog site. I’ll try to get a good candling pic too.

Here are our eggs in the incubator;

Started growing 02-11-2011

The two with the “X” marks are from our Polish bantam rooster and Showgirl Silkie hen. They produced great chicks last year, but we lost the offspring that we kept to a predator raid on the coops. I am looking forward to raising all of the new chicks – in critter-proof cages.

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