|Our latest baby!|
Happy Summer! I was up early this morning and saw the full moon just above the horizon at daybreak. Apparently, the 2016 summer solstice is extra special because the northern hemisphere hasn't had a full moon on a summer solstice since 1967! It's also the 4th full moon since the spring equinox, which isn't that common either. You can read more on it in this cool article at earthsky.org: http://earthsky.org/astronomy-essentials/june-solstice-full-moon-in-2016.
What it all boils down to is...my kids are finally out of school for the summer! Their last day was the 14th and my eldest graduated from high school the next day. A lot has been going on this past week, as you might imagine, and it all began on Sunday the 12th, when I went to the coop and discovered this little one peeking out from under his mama!
Exactly 21 days prior, I found Watermelon, my largest Black Australorp sitting on a couple of eggs. She was acting broody (aka hormonal and protective of the eggs)...so I put a couple more under her. The total was only 4, since we've never been through a natural hatch and I wasn't sure if she'd abandon the nest or not. A week later, I found one egg broken. I believe another hen had hopped into the nest while Watermelon was taking a water break. It's shell might have been weak too.
Anyway, we were down to three eggs. She didn't actually lay the eggs...although one may have been hers. One was a green egg from my Easter Egger named Moon and one was a dark brown egg from one of my French Black Copper Marans named Venus. The third was either from Watermelon or one of my Barred Rocks.
On the 12th, the little one above hatched, followed by egg #3. Unfortunately, that baby didn't make it. But by the next morning, the green egg hatched...
Now, my roosters are French Black Copper Marans, which means that this chick...assuming she's a she...is an 'olive egger'. I'm really hoping 'she' ends up laying olive green colored eggs! Her mother's eggs are a light to medium shade of 'easter egger' green and dad comes from a breed that lays very dark brown eggs, so we'll see...
|First baby at day 1|
|Second baby on the left|
|Hiding under mama's wing|
Watermelon is proving to be an amazing mother. She's protective, tolerant, immediately taught them to drink from a glass bottle waterer (the kind in rabbit/hamster cages)...which she remembered from her chick days. And when I took her out for a second, so that I could clean a spot, she freaked and wanted to get back in the cage with her babies. I set up a rabbit cage in the coop so that they'd be safe from trampling/pecking, yet they'd still be with the flock. Kind of a brooder/nursery.
The baby's are doing great and growing quickly. The cutest thing is that they like sitting on top of their mother, piggy-back style.
|Cool view from up here! (chick #2)|
|1 week old. See those feathers coming in?|
And for those of you who read my red fox post, we haven't seen the fox in a week or so. Granted, we're 'supervising' the flock's free ranging. We started by letting them loose a couple of hours in the afternoon, while three of us (two sons and myself) stayed outside on the lookout. This, obviously, isn't an arrangement we can maintain. About a week ago, I shaved my dogs and we put their hair around the fence line where the fox was coming from. I wouldn't rely on that alone, but I had spare dog hair so why not? Now, when the chickens are loose, one of us goes out and walks around or grabs eggs every ten minutes or so, just to let the fox know we're there. In the meantime, we're building a stationary, fox and predator-proof pen/aviary for times when we aren't outside to deter the fox.
That's my chicken update! I'm so looking forward to another broody hen. Seeing these babies hatch and interact with their mother has been so heartwarming.
Happy summer to all! I'll leave you with one last pic. It's fuzzy because my phone camera can't handle low lighting. This was the full moon at daybreak today from my back porch. The photo didn't capture how bright at big it was in person.
I should stick with baby chick pics ;).