You are currently browsing the monthly archive for July 2010.

July 29 – Today I arranged things so the Ranger chicks could get outside and get some good sunshine.  When we originally built the barn, we put a chicken door in the side next to the chicken yard with the eventual plan of having the two meet.  Currently the wee side yard is now just for chicks, though they can visit the ladies through the fence.

Hello nice ladies.  We get a lot of use from recycled pallets with chickens.  They also comprise our compost bin walls, which in turn end up being chicken roosts.  In front there is the Welsummer hen, Charlotte.  The only other lady with a name so far is the Australorp, whose name is Mathilda (as she is Australian…that’s her in back, the black one)  Still working on the rest.

Also today I found this blooming out by the Art Chalet!

The first of my fancy dahlias.  I am so very pleased.  I have 4 other plants, I believe.  I don’t even remember what colors I’m supposed to have, but I think they all go together.  I’m just glad I finally got dahlias in the ground and I don’t even mind that I’ll have to dig them up to get them through the winter.  I think this means they won’t grow into as large of a bush as they do in say, Washington, where there was a berry farm that had at least an acre of dahlias that grew on very tall – 4-5 foot tall – bushes covered in blooms.  For a few bucks they’d give me a pair of scissors and a very long (10 inches?) twisty tie.  As many flowers as I could wrap that twisty around I could take home.  I loved that place.

July 28 – I was in Traverse City yesterday.  On the way to the fabric store I have this glimpse of the gorgeous waters of Grand Traverse Bay, which is part of Lake Michigan.  It always makes me smile.  And since I was keeping my promise to myself and had my camera with, I was finally able to take a picture of it.

July 27 – my toad returned for its yearly photo shoot.  I hadn’t seen it until now.  It is very patient with me taking its picture.

I also got the Ranger chicks moved into the barn.  I built a fence to fence off 1/3 of the space (so we don’t have to remove everything that is currently being stored out there – when the chickens left the barn became storage!) and released them into their new 8ft x 4 ft space.  By the time they are growing out of *that*, they will be free ranging and only using the space for sleep so essentially won’t outgrow it.  They are much happier with all the room to chase each other about.  The young cockerels are already sparring and bumping chests.  They are only 2 weeks old!

And now I shall be working to get back into my photo habit and my updating habits.  I enjoy this a little too much to let it go…

July 26 – one of the Rangers next to the little blue Orpington.  I know that in 10 days the Orpington will be considerably larger and will look like a mini chicken instead of fluffy chick (because I have pictures from my first batch of chicks that show me this is true) but I don’t think he’ll be quite this large yet.

My three Orpingtons.  Essentially, they cost me $12 each.  I paid $36 (including the shipping, which was $12) for 14 eggs.  I got three chicks.  Evidently, this is a good return for eggs that ended up in the mail.  25-50% is considered a good hatch.  I’m just inordinately pleased that I got a blue, a black and a splash out of the deal  as those are the ones I *really* wanted.  I can pick up a couple Buffs at a chicken show in September (and maybe some others…when I told David I had three chicks, he asked me when that livestock show was – so he knows!).    Now I hope I have a rooster and two hens.  That would be the most ideal outcome.  As long as I have ONE hen, it’ll be good because I can hatch some more blues from any of these.  I am in love with the Blue Orpingtons.  I also love the chocolate ones, but those evidently aren’t available in the US, so I’ll just go with Blue.

July 25 – the new chicks are in Max!’s old cage.  The Ranger chicks are in the brooder box I built for them when they outgrew Max!’s cage.  Max!’s cage is 16″x24″.  The brooder box is 24″ x 36″ and though they’ve only been in there a few days, they are outgrowing it already.  Next up is setting up part of the barn for them.  The Ranger chicks are only 10 days older than the Orpingtons but seem huge!

July 24 – and these two came out next!  They hatched at 11:35 p.m. – what is it with these chicks and the middle of the night?  I knew they had hatched by the unholy racket of two newly hatched chicks.  One wasn’t too loud, but two is compounding the noise.  The dogs weren’t even interested as they already knew by now.  One of these is blue and one is black, carrying blue genes.

July 23 – The first of the eggs is hatching two days early.  I came home this day to discover one egg had exploded in the incubator and oh my the stench!  Then I noticed that one egg was cracked and my first thought was that the exploding egg had damaged it.  Then it began peeping and I knew that I was soon to have a chick!  This is BL03 (the eggs were numbered), one of the blue Orpingtons.  Turns out the chick is a splash.  Here’s a site that shows the differences.   It hatched at 1:45 a.m.  I know this because the dogs went a little crazy trying to figure out what was going on in the incubator!

July 21 – We’re getting a good deal of rain lately.  Good for my strawberries and other plants.  I bought these mini roses at the produce stand last year at the end of the season.  They were half dead and thus only 25 cents each.  Two of them survived the winter and are both blooming intermittently.  I’m thinking if I give them some blood meal, they’ll improve on that.

July 20 – took the chicks out for some sunshine and grass.  The original chick pen is outside and works so well for this.  Sadie is happy to have her job of watching over chickens back.  When they first arrived she was incredibly curious so I held a chick cupped in my hand for her to sniff.  She gave it a very thorough going over and then decided they were hers to watch.  Hobie gets chased off most vigorously if he should happen to hang out too close to them.

Meat chicks act a bit differently from layers or dual-purpose breeds.  They lie down a lot more than the others ever did (though chicks as a rule do sleep a lot).   They also grow ever so much faster.  After the initial confusion of being outside, they settled into it and seemed to enjoy the grass and the bugs they found.  I look forward to being able to let them out to forage.  They eat a lot!

July 17 – one of the chicks, after they’ve settled in.  The Rangers (also known as Colored Rangers and Label Rouge, as they are a French breed) come in three colors – a buff, a red and a tri-color.  We plan to keep a rooster and one of each color of hen to raise our own batch of chicks now that I have an incubator.  They were hatched on Bastille Day, so I plan to name the ones we keep French names.