Sunday, April 24, 2016

Baby peeps and Broody mamas! It's definitely spring on the homestead!

Last week, we were surprised when this mama hen hatched out 17 baby chicks!!  We had one pass during the night, so we ended up with 16 total!! Wow, that's a lot of chicks! Especially when we were not trying to hatch out anymore of these wild/ game bird chickens.  i've been trying since last year to hatch out a few of the olive eggs and Marans, but ended up with ALL roosters. Even after giving away around 9 roosters, we still have too many roosters. So this year i was not going to hatch out any.

My wild gamey hens had other ideas.  These wild hens tend to hide their eggs and then disappear for a while. We never really know whether a predator got them, until 21 days has passed.  They either reappear with a clutch of chicks, or they don't...and then we know they are gone. 

So these chicks are so freaking cute!!  Once they a bit older and i can tell the boys from the girls we'll be trying to find homes for them. 
So, i had three hens all disappear around the same time. This mama, another hen who's remains we found and a white hen who i suspected was setting on eggs. 

My daughter found her a few days ago. She is behind the house in the woods, really hidden well under some down trees and leaf litter. Trying to calculate when she first went missing so i had some idea of when her chicks might hatch, i guesstimated around 4/28 we should be seeing some new peeps.

So when i went to check her Friday morning, i was quite surprised to see this. :)

Yesterday she finally brought them out of the woods.  She's very wild and will not let us get anywhere near her peeps. i put some food and water under the Rhododendrons where she was hanging out.  She has 13!!!  So that's 29 new chicks this year!! OMGoodness. 

Once they get a little older, i'm going to have to find new homes for them. i've been trying to stick more with the domesticated chickens that lay the dark brown and green eggs.  The game birds are really good layers, IF you can find their eggs.  They are so good at hiding those eggs and disappearing for a awhile.

i have one other broody hen, who is actually setting inside the coop in a nesting box. She went broody before i realized the other hen was going to have 13 chicks!  Although we really don't need more chickens, i can hand pick the eggs she is setting on so she'll have all Olive and Maran eggs. i only have one olive egger and she's 3 or 4 years old, if something happens to her i won't have a green layer anymore, so i'm trying to get the green gene mixed into the flock. So i have a few other laying the olive eggs. Fingers crossed i don't get Olive egger roosters like last year.  :)


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