Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hot weather, healthy kits, a broken egg, and asking for rain.

Having missed Spring entirely, or so it's seemed for the past few days, it was nice this morning for it to look like it might rain. We'll see whether it does or not, but I am hoping we see some good rain today. The kits have been sprawled out at the hottest part of the day getting the best of the breezes we have up the hill. Without that the weather would be much more unpleasant, and in the valley where I work, it is that much hotter and less pleasant. I've been taking my exercise during lunch so I've come to really appreciate getting home to the slightly cooler temperatures and winds.

As you can see Above Dawn is just as gentle to, and protective of her daughters kits as her own. The three in with her are doing well, and should be getting moved over to the bigger hutch shortly. A few weeks straight of sickness has slowed so much down.

Splash and Streak's kits are doing well, I wasn't able to get a solid count on how many of them there are right now because they were far too fast moving, and without a second pair of hands I couldn't just pick them all up. The problem of at least 2 of the house being sick for the past week is that I haven't been handling them enough so they tend to run more than they come to me. We'll work with them to get them more comfortable again, it's just inconvenient when we happened to all be sick at once. Not that being sick is ever convenient I suppose. Streak's kit is HUGE compared to Splash's kits despite being a few days younger. We knew it was going to be a larger kit due to the starting size difference. I suspect all of them are doing well because both moms are feeding which is going to be great for the whole pair of litters, which essentially is one litter now.
Twilight's kits are also doing well, and again I wasn't able to get a firm count, but I believe there are still 7 of them in there. They are all big and Twilight kit healthy which isn't a surprise from her. They're all very curious about, well, everything right now. Interestingly enough despite being big and healthy, unlike the other kits their same general age they aren't coming out of the nest yet to explore. I wonder if that's because of Twilight's tendency to kick kits across the hutch. She's still very aggressive when checking on her, the next, and only other photo from this set had her face in the frame. If I'd taken the time to take a third it would have been all Twilight as she muscled me out of the way to be between me at her kits. I don't quite understand her protectiveness until her kits bug her when she isn't in the mood for it. It works for her though!
On the plants side of things, most of the house being on and off sick for weeks has led to not potting up yet. That has to happen tonight or tomorrow at the very latest so they'll be set before the Seedling Swap on Saturday for the Hilltown Seed Saving Group. Even still crammed into their tiny potlets the plants are doing very well. I really hope that the peppers continue doing well, though we did lose most of the back quarter because I didn't pay enough attention during the plague, and the back corner didn't get enough water. The tomatoes, well, they're all just going crazy back there.  Otherwise on the plant side of thing, the garlic is doing great as you can see. I have been having to water it a bit because we haven't had rain for weeks. I didn't water them today because I am very much hoping the threatening rain materializes.

Below this photo of the garlic patch is a picture of a broken egg that may be gross to some.
One of the things that has been frustrating about the broody hen situation is that when she leaves to get water or food, it seems that some of the other hens feel the need to lay their eggs in the same nest box. There are two other nesting boxes, and I've been making a point of leaving eggs in the primary laying nest box to keep hens laying there. Most of the time it just means we're going to have half developed eggs when hatching comes. Unfortunately today it meant that one of the mostly incubated eggs was cracked. I almost hadn't checked on the eggs this morning, but I'm glad I did so I could move the broken egg and the mostly formed dead chick mixed with a fresh broken egg out before it makes a total mess in the nesting material. Frustrating, and definitely reminds me to make the new hutch I'm working on with more nest boxes!

Finally I'd like to welcome and thank our new patron on Patreon.


  1. It doesn't matter how many boxes you have; hens will always want to lay where the broody hen is sitting. Sometimes they will sit right on top of her and lay their egg in there with her. I always mark the eggs that are incubating with a pencil or marker and take out the others daily. Marking the incubating eggs with a marker helps you to accurately remove the newly laid eggs every day.

    1. That's a great piece of advice, I'm going to have to do that in the future! I wish I understood why the other hens want so badly to lay in THAT box. I also wish I understood why instead of spreading out between the three available boxes they all lay in one box. Very strange.