Sunday, December 30, 2012

Grun Lays 2nd Egg!

We've waited 2 days since Grun's first egg.  It was a little of a disappointment as we were expecting a real dark egg.  Although it is flecked with dark pigment, it wasn't what I was hoping for.  Today, however, you can see the egg is afew shades darker.  Today's egg is on the left in the pictures above.  I know the dark eggs do fluctuate in intenseness based on time of year, molting status, etc.  I also read that the dark pigment is almost sprayed on at the end of the egg laying process.  When the bird lays lots of eggs, there is a tendancy to 'run out' of dark pigment so that the eggs are lighter.  Then, during molt when they do not lay, it gives the pigment a change to build back up in the bird's system and when she starts laying again, the pigment will be dark again.  Told in it's very unscientific way, this seems ludicris, but that is what the chicken experts say.  I will continue to monitor Grun's eggs to see if the color continues to change.  She is not expected to lay as much as the Barred Rocks, so hoping she gets on a schedule just like the others seem to be.  Prissy's day off is today as she laid the last 2 days.  She really seems to be sticking to her 2 days on/1 day off.  Her egg tomorrow will be here really early....before I go to work!

Update on the water warmer.  It works AWESOME!  Kenny went out last night about midnight to check and there was no sign of ice where they drink from.  He still will probably make some changes to the prototype, but for now, it's doing it's job quite well!

Lila's frosty legs.  He showed up on the back deck looking for a fight, I'm sure.  Nothing like being stalked by your rooster!

Have an EGGsellent New Years!

Saturday, December 29, 2012

Frozen Water Woes

As our temperatures hover around freezing these days, we are getting more and more concerned about the waterer feezing up.  This morning, there was a crust of ice which I easily broke with my fingers and the chickens could easily break with a good peck.  I found directions to make a homemade heater, which sounded good because the ones in the stores cost about $40.

Check out the link for complete instructions!

We went to Lowe's to get the supplies we needed.  The tin was a little trickier.  Considering we are so close to Christmas, they are still available, but you need to hunt.  We tried JoAnn Fabrics since we were shopping nearby, but they did not have a tin that would work.  I went to Dollar Tree, knowing they sell them for the holidays and was able to get a round one like I was looking for.  It's a smaller diameter than our waterer, but it should work fine. 

My husband is a whiz with electical stuff since he majored in electronics in school, so it went together in no time flat. 

The bulb gives off alot of heat and even after only a short time, the tin was warm.  Maybe this will even help give them a little heat in their coop.  I worry about them, but I know their feathers keep them warm!  And the fact that they sleep 3 to a roost....they huddle together. 
Water heater 1.0
The tin is smaller than the base and Kenny said it was tippy.  So the waterer is resting on the wood pieces and there is a gap between the top of the tin and the base of the waterer.  We'll see how and if this is effective.  Future alterations may be necessary!

Chickens all ready for bed on their roost bars.  You can see who is top hen....the important ones usually shack up with Lila on the front bar.  The lower end girls get stuck in the back.  Usually they are 3 to a bar, but tonight there were 4 on the front bar.  I noticed Grun up front and she's usually in the back.  I guess since she laid her first egg the other day she gets special treatment!  She hasn't laid another since so we'll see when #2 shows up!

Night Night from the flock!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy Holidays, Cluckers!

Sorry it's been a while since I've updated.  Not much going on with the flock.  Things have been chugging along.  My Barred Rocks are still laying most days, Prissy gives us green eggs in a pattern:  2 days on, 1 day off.  The excitement today was finding 3 brown eggs.  Rosa's solid tan, Weissy's white flecked tan and the third was about the same shade of tan with dark brown flecks.  GRUN!  Pretty sure it's our Welsummer, Grun!  Welsummer eggs appear to be all over the board from flecked like we got, to dark and chocolate looking.  I'm in the process of looking to see if her eggs will change color of if this is the final coloring she will lay.  It does appear that the dark egg layers fluctuate coloring through the seasons.  The egg was streaked with quite a bit of blood, which is normal for a new layer, but none of the other chickens had this problem.  I hope she is ok....I didn't get to look at her tonight as we all got home after dark.  The one egg also had a small crack in the shell and I suspect it's contents froze.  Not a problem as the membrane isn't broke.  It will just be one of the first eggs we should use.  We also have to be very diligent now about checking the water.  Frozen water doesn't do the birds any good and in fact is very bad.  There are elements you can buy to keep the water from freezing and depending on how bad the struggle is, we might have to concede to buying one.  Now I feel like i should go out and take their water dish out for the night.  Without Lila attacking me!!!  (and no, he hasn't gotten any better either!)

Speaking of Lila, I noticed the other week that his spurs are starting to poke out of his nubs.  Not great news for me since he is like Rooster ninja with those legs.  Winter isn't so bad since I have jeans on, but he has left quite afew bruises on my legs thus far without the claws.  I am no closer to making friends with him than I was afew months ago, sad to say. 

I must say, with 3 regular layers, and not being huge egg eaters (I use for baking and we eat eggs maybe once a week or so)....that is a good mix for our family.  We end up with a dozen to spare every 2 weeks or so and have been presenting them to our friends and family.  I'm sure once the last 2 start regularly laying, we may even have more to give away.  It's a nice little gift!  I think people appreciate it!

Top left egg is Rosa's (Barred Rock and is solid tan).  Top right and bottom left is Weiss' (also Barred Rock and her is lighter tan flecked with white), Bottom right is Grun's egg.  Flecked with dark brown.

Glad I went out.....water was freezing up.  Brought in the waterer and good excuse to bleach it.  I'll give it back to them in the morning. 

Happy New Year Peeps!