In Spring of 2015, Niko, the Buff Orpington, decided to go broody. I could not get her to stay off the nest area. So, being the insane chicken lady I turned into in just one short year, I drove 3 hours to get her a mixed assortment of fertile eggs. The plan was for 10 meat birds of a homogeneous type so I wouldn’t get attached and a few extra of different breeds. I got 10 New Hampshires, 2 Blue Black Splash Ameraucana, & 6 Marans.
One New Hampshire egg didn’t survive the trip home. Only one of the New Hampshires hatched, one of the Ameraucanas didn’t survive hatching, and Jada got bouncy at the babies and accidentally killed the other one. Two of the Marans didn’t hatch. Dang it. The little ones that survived were a lot of fun to watch and Niko was a very good mama. The little twerps though, liked to squeeze through the fence and play in the back door neighbor’s yard. Good thing he likes chickens. I put up a wire fence attached to the wooden one to stop that. Then they figured out how to fly up to the top of the coop and hop over the fence. One of the Marans, Pete, would not come home one night and never returned. So out of 18 eggs, I was left with the following 4:
Zippy, a Blue Copper Marans rooster:
Cate, a Black Copper Marans hen:
DupliCate, aka Dupli, Black Copper Marans rooster:
and Ruth, the New Hampshire hen:.
These guys are not as people friendly as the first batch since they were raised outside from hatching. No people cuddling, so they did not get used to being handled. The picture of Ruth on my lap is a rare occurrence and did not last long. Next batch of babies will be handled more often.
Cate has already started laying. We’ve gotten 2 very dark eggs from her so far. Ruth may have laid one but since New Hampshire eggs are very close to the other light brown eggs the older girls lay, it is hard to tell.
Eggs from Niko, Cate, and Vicki:
And, yes, roosters do crow. A lot. Best line from Love at First Bite comes to mind. “Children of the night, shut up!”
The newbies don’t seem to be trying to fly the coop (heh) anymore. But they don’t go in the coop at night. I give all 10 of the feathered fiends sunflower seeds at dusk and lock them in their run. The 4 young ones huddle together on the roost that is at one end of the run and the 6 original ones go in the coop. There’s room inside for all of them but they do their own thing. Maybe when it gets very cold, they’ll go inside. Maybe I am heartless, but I refuse to worry about it. They are happy and healthy and that’s all that matters.
The flock like to hang out on the porch and deck. That will change in the spring. First project is a low fence so the people area is not, um, a poopy area. Because they poop. A lot. I’d rather they do it in the yard where we can turn it into compost. Which leads me to another new obsession for me, my garden. I’ll have to do a post about my vegetable garden successes and failures of 2015 and my new adventures in canning.