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Farmette 1769

by Monica Melograna-Ward

Tag Archives: chicks

And eats and eats! What a hungry, hungry hippo! We just had an illness run through the brooder that Chance II was in, losing one of his little buddies, but (crossing fingers) that problem seems to be going away.

Chance II is back to eating like a pig and drinking as usual:

Here are two side view glamor shots:

#1 Left Side – Not so bad.

#2 Right Side – Hold your breath!

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Chance the 2nd has made it past the critical first stages of life. Having a deep bowl of chick crumbles proved successful by itself. He figured out how to eat on his own. That could not have timed out better since my freelance business got busier and I had no time or energy to focus on him more than any of the other chicks.

I actually need to stop saying “he” since “he” is a “she”. The following video clip has that mistake in it. She is a smart little girl and equally energetic. Not sugar n’ salt water booster needed here. All that she had to do was figure out how to eat and drink. Chance II passed this test with flying colors.

Our first post on Chance to was here:
Please forgive me for my lack of expertise in blogging. I am not sure that this is the BEST way to get to the original article, but I do know that it WILL get you there.

Chance does get a little help from her friends. Her room mates are always glad to pick out the leftovers from her crossed beak (saving tidbits for later?).

Now, onward and upward she goes!

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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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Our little Serama rooster decided to hide the day I was taking pics of the mini flock. Today, although a drizzly, unpleasant day, I was able to get a few great photographs of the new trio.

This is partly due to the fact that they are in a small, above-the-ground coop that is easy to access. Our son helped with one of the hens and then ran off to play. Although this set was convinced we were going to eat them, I am happy with the results. The screaming birds were actually quite photogenic.

Serama Hen #1

The first one is a pretty little hen full of character. I purchased her and the other carefully from another closed flock. They have been in the front coop for a few weeks now, separate from the rest of our fowl, with the exception of our resident Serama rooster that we hatched and raised here. They are healthy hens, but I no longer take any chances. Even though it is a lot of fun, buying at an auction or from a trader is too risky. If an illness is carried in, it can take your whole flock out.

Serama Hen #2

This one is a cutie. She is getting very vocal with her protests at being disturbed. She is probably calling out to her Roo to save her. The rooster really made them feel at home upon arrival. He hovered over them with his wings spread out to help keep them warm. He did this as a young cockerel with the other chicks. Some of the roosters are quite the charmers with the girls.

Serama Roo's Unhappy Pose

Roo's Protest/Beauty Pose

Seramas can really scream. I suppose this will help keep predators away. But, the cage they are in is locked up tight. These little chickens need good protection so that they do not become hawk snacks…

And he continues the protest!

Little Monster...

These little chickens are very endearing. We can’t wait until their eggs start hatching!

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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


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


Have a Cockle Doodle Day!

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Especially on Bantam chickens (mini size), HUMIDITY is the key to hatching eggs. It has to be really high (70%+) or the chick will get trapped in its dry shell and die.

This is mainly a pictorial blog. I will make a few comments with the pics.

First Chick of the 2011 Hatching Season

After the humidity was raised, this chick hatched just fine. I took the shallow plastic tray that the incubator came with out, and added water straight to the bottom. I also had a foil tray and a few small steel cups filled half way with water. This did the trick, bringing the moisture level way up.

First and Second of the New Chicks

Number two came quickly after. If one hatches, the others hear it and seem to “wake up” quicker for their own hatching process.

Eight Chicks at 10 Days Old

They grow very quickly once they break out of their shells. Water and chick starter feed need to be available at all times. CLEAN, WARM and DRY conditions are also very important for new chicks.

2 week difference - same parents

I am guessing that the older one is about 3 times the size of the one that just hatched this morning. They are together for the pic only. Different ages must be separated so that they don’t pick and maim each other.

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I promised to record the best time to start egg candling. At least for me and my homemade candler, it is at 5 days of incubation.

Faint Spot of Life – Middle

It is still hard to tell what is going on in a lot of the eggs, but the ones that are not growing are fairly obvious at this point. Mistakes can happen, so I will keep the “bad” eggs in until the 10 day mark. This is about half way through the process, since with your average chicken egg, it takes 21 days to make a chick.

We received 9 more new hatching eggs in the mail. They sat overnight at room temperature in order to acclimate to the warmth and settle down from all the movement of transport. Not rushing to the incubator seems to be a key factor in a better hatch rate for mail order eggs.

Fertile eggs cannot survive a freeze. But, it is OK for eggs to sit cold-ish while fertile. A hen normally lays an egg a day in a designated spot until she gets a nice group. Then, she actually sits down on the group to heat them up – staying on the nest around the clock from this point on. Egg embryos are designed to patiently wait in a holding pattern until their mother says “GROW!”.

The first set of eggs will be chicks at the end of the week. I am in the process of making a “Hatcher”. It needs to be much like an incubator. To the best of my knowledge it does not need a fan and certainly does not need an egg turner. But, it does need temperature control and lots of humidity. I will have more on this later after it is finished. I doubt that it will be ready for this week’s hatch.

Once the eggs start peeping (YES, you can hear them from inside the egg as they ready for their transformation) and/or 3 days before their due date, they can be transferred from the incubator to the hatcher. The humidity needs to be increased, so that they can break out of their shells. Up until now, we have just left them in the incubator until they break free, but this makes a mess. The hatcher will, hopefully, be a good addition to our setup.

A few great links:

Incubating Your Eggs From The Easy Chicken for beginners

Hatching and Brooding Small Numbers of Chicks

How To Hatch Eggs – Baby Chicks – Back Yard Chickens

Later in the Incubation Cycle

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