Sunday, July 23, 2017

Hatch Day!

Probably the best days on any farm are the days when new animals are born or hatch, whichever the case may be.  I would liken it to waiting for Christmas morning or your birthday.  Today is just such a day at the Singleton Roost.  We have several broody hens around the farm, including two Silkie hens and a couple of Serama hens.  Two of my blue cream Silkie hens are due to hatch any day now.  The normal gestation period of chickens is 21 days.  Ours can hatch anytime after about the 19th day so we start anxiously awaiting the arrival of the new chicks a few days ahead of schedule.  The heat has been dreadful for a few weeks now so we watch them carefully.  We make sure to know when the hatch occurs with the broody hens so that we can have cool clean water available for the chicks within a few hours of hatching.

Normally I get up and have coffee on the porch (one of my very favorite things to do even in the hot summer and cold winter months).  After a cup of coffee, I get breakfast started and my husband and son go down to let chickens out (most of ours free range) and refill waterers and such.  They also check the broody hens to see if anything is happening.  This morning my husband returns with the news that I have 3 Silkie chicks so far from one hen.  We think the other hen started setting a few days later so hers will be a few more days.  He gave them water and feed for the chicks when they are ready to bring them out for food.  Normally the hen will stay with the nest until she feels all the eggs that are going to hatch have hatched.  This could take 24 -48 hours.  The new chicks will do fine until then with the exception of possibly getting to water.  He put the water by the nest box for the chicks.
Now the rush is on to get done and get down to the barn to see the new babies.  We also have some in the incubator due to hatch any day now.  We will have a busy few days with all the hatching going on.  One of the Serama hens will possibly have eggs hatching today or tomorrow.  She and her chicks will move in to a brooder pen in my cute little chicken house.  The Serama are much smaller and the nest box if up off the floor of the pen so we will move her to a better pen to get the babies up and going.

Our grand daughter, Emmylou (now 2 years, 4 months old) will be here this evening to spend the night with us.  She is a chicken addict.  She is always amazed when the chicks pip and start unzipping their shell.  She loves to be here when we candle as well.  Emmylou is quite the little farm girl and knows all about the baby chicks growing in the eggs.  At Easter, she ran around the yard finding her plastic eggs, opening them, dumping the candy on the ground and moving to the next egg and repeating the process.  Finally she looked up at me and asked, "Where are the babies?"  That's when we realized she was running about trying to find her some baby chicks.

Also, I recently won a raffle for some Blue Cream, Buff and White Silkie hatching eggs from one of the better breeders.  I set those eggs on Thursday and they will be due to hatch on August 10!  I am extremely excited and cannot wait for those to hatch.  They come from championship bloodlines and will be a nice addition to my flock (adding another good bloodline).

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

I am a winner!

I have participated in many auctions over the years and occasionally I win the bid.  I cannot count the number of raffles I have participated in however!  I have not ever won a raffle - that is until a few days ago.  I saw a raffle come up on the Chicken Raffle Club page for 18+ Silkie hatching eggs from a breeder who has won several top awards for their birds.  Never thinking for one minute I would win, but holding out hope - I jumped right in and bought 4 numbers.  There weren't many numbers left, but I remembered the girl who bought the last number in a previous auction ended up winning.  I watched periodically to see when it filled up.  I then paid my money for the raffle and waited for everyone else to do the same.  I went on to church that evening and went on with my daily routine.  After church, I remembered that I needed to check on the raffle.  I looked in my notifications to see if there were any that would get me to the raffle page (lazy way of doing it I suppose).  There it was - a notification that I had indeed won the raffle.  I also received a message from the breeder needing my shipping information so that my eggs (did you read that - MY eggs that I WON - could be shipped out.  I was told Monday afternoon that I should receive them on Wednesday (today)!  First thing this morning the phone rang and it was the Post Office informing me that MY eggs that I WON were in fact there waiting on me to pick them up.  I could not cook breakfast fast enough (I had started it when the call came in or breakfast would have been late).  I also had an appointment to show some Seramas to a previous customer who wanted more.  She and her family came right after breakfast.  I always enjoy visits from customers!  They picked a pair that they wanted and we got their paperwork all done and they went on their way.  Anxiously I drove to the Post Office to retrieve my prize eggs!  We opened the box and the eggs were packed so well!  I had received 24 amazing hatching eggs!  I got a dozen Porcelain color, 6 white, and 6 buff.  I have unpacked them and let them rest a bit after all the shipping.  I will set them in my incubator this very afternoon and in 21 days I should be the proud owner of some amazing Silkie chicks.  The importance of this is that I WON, and also it gives me another blood line for my Silkie flock.  I will be adding pictures as they hatch in 21 days!  Stay tuned to see what I end up with!  I am so very anxious - like a kiddo waiting on Christmas.

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Emmylou and the Peacocks

Our grand baby, who is now a little over two years old, has always had a fascination with our Peafowl.  She just loves them.  The first thing she wants to do when she gets here is see the Peacocks. We have had these peacocks and hens for around 2 to 2 1/2 years now.  We didn't expect that they would lay this season, let alone that they would be fertile.  Our peacock is still somewhat young and we just figured it would be next spring before we had any eggs of our own to hatch.  Much to our surprise, one of our three peahens started laying this spring.  First she laid three eggs and we immediately put them in the incubator on the outside chance that they would be fertile.  They were not. She laid three more and again we rushed them to the incubator in the hopes they would be fertile.  All three hatched this time.  We have two that are predominately white and one that is the normal beginning browns of an IB or Spalding (our hens are spaldings and the peacock is an IB).  We were so excited.  Emmylou was thrilled that we have baby peacocks now.  She named one Lucy and another Fred.  We have no way of knowing the sex this early, but she is hopeful!  We then got another egg or two and they turned out to be fertile as well.  This time, we involved Emmylou in the candling and all of that.  She was mesmerized to see that tiny pea-chick moving about in that egg.  Every time she came after that day, she wanted to see the baby peacock in the egg and we would show her again.  Then it hatched and we have another mostly white pea-chick.  This is the same kiddo that opened all her Easter eggs looking for the "babies" because she watched a chick come out of an egg one day.  She is our little farm girl.  She loves the birds and they love to see her coming.  They know she either has meal worms or feed in her bucket.  She is a walking, talking treat for them.