Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lady In Waiting

This week has been busy and exciting.  Took advantage of some much needed free time in between major projects!  First off...we visited the Leesport Market for a flea market 2 Sunday's ago.  It proved to be a fun little side trip and we ended up adding 4 new hens to our collection.  We got a clear Indiana Glass Hen (like our Carnival Glass hen) for $5.  We also got 3 Milk Glass hens made by Westmoreland Glass...(1) 5" hen and (2) 3" hens.  Cool thing I learned about Milk Glass is when held up to the light, the edges of the glass will glow orange/red like fire.  Older Milk Glass displays this trait.  Newer glass will not do that.  The lot of 3 hens cost of $15, but the woman selling them knew where they came from and said there were easily from the 50's.  The fact that there were no makers marks in them except numbers printed inside confirmed their age.  There was a period just prior to the 50's where no makers marks were used by this manufacturer.  Both small hens have red painted heads, eyes and waddles.  The big hen was all white, unpainted.  Last Friday, I ended up with a bit of free time and found myself wandering a local antique barn.  They had all sorts of things and it was a nice jaunt through history.  Found a few hens there as well....also all Milk Glass.  I ended up buying a neat Hen on a Basket (also Westmoreland Glass) and a matching 5" hen with painted head.  We now have lots of Milk Glass!  I also bought a digital bible of sorts all about these things.  Found one more small Milk Glass hen at a thrift store.  This one was made by Hazel Atlas and the markings proved it a nice ripe old age as well, which made me happy.  Here are some pics of the finds:

Westmoreland 3" salt chicks and Westmoreland Hen on Basket

Hazel Atlas Chick

Westmoreland hens...one with painted head.
Speaking of HEN ON NESTS.....
After giving some eggs to my friend for her daughter's project, Miss Grun seemed to have stopped laying and has taken up residence in the nest box.  We decided to let her hatch afew eggs.  We gave her 3 eggs....one from Flower, one from Rosa and one from Weiss.  They will all be mixes.  :(  Sure wish Grun would have laid one more for us!  She would have the only pure bred offspring!  Anyway, for 2 days now she seems to never leave the nest.  She's being a good Auntie and Mama.  Today, when I let the gang out for the evening, she quickly vacated the nest and ran out with everyone.  I was very worried she would bail on her eggs.  She went right to the dirt spot and took a bath.  I did read that mama's in waiting like to get out to bathe and as long as they do not let the eggs cool too long, things are fine.  So she got some outside time and Genny took her back and put her in the nest box and she got cozy and hunkered down on the eggs again.  By this weekend, we hope to try candling to see that they are indeed cooking.  We should be able to see the veins running around the egg after 5 days of incubation.  Good luck Auntie Grun!  We know you will make a good mama!  Will make a plan to get her a little pen set up so she and the chicks can spend time in the grass and have a shelter without having to stay with the big girls.  The chicks will need different feed and mama will want to show them how to find bugs and forage, an advantage our gang didn't have! We did get them out in the grass and they seemed to figure it out on their own, but I'm sure it's nice to have a mama's wing to hide under!  

We marked all 3 eggs with the date (they were hatched and also starting to incubate on the same day), name of the girl who laid that egg, and lots of good luck to the little chicky inside.  A little egg time capsule of sorts.  21 days is standard incubation for chicken eggs, however, I did read that eggs will hatch in about 20 days if the hen is incubating them.  Also some trivia....the mama rotates the eggs 50 times a day.  No wonder a setting hen looks like she's in a trance....maybe she's counting!  Grun also puffs out her feathers and makes little noises.  I think she's trying to 'scare' us from messing with her.  She's very cute.  I'm sure she will be a force to be reckoned with once the chicks come and she has to protect them.  Not sure what we will do if all hatch....Lila might be replaced if we end up with another rooster!  Or we could actually cull the babies when they are still young and tender (males).  50/50 chance for each egg....guess we'll see who makes it and what they end up being!  Wish us and Miss Grun lots of luck!!!
Our fence is complete for now.  We may still end up adding a piece across the other side of the house as they will go around to get in the flower gardens.  We still keep an eye on them so can usually round them up before they get too far.  The garden is also complete.  It looks great and we got some things planted over the weekend.  Still have more to plant.  Who would think a 10x10 garden would seem so small once you plant!  We have 12 plants of corn (strawberry popcorn), afew butternut squash, sunflowers, parisienne carrots, yellow and red bell peppers, and some herbs.  We'll probably put some more things in and we definitely want some tomato plants. 
Hard to see it, but the fence goes up the whole side of the yard, about 5' in from the neighbor's bushes.

Finished garden all fenced in complete wtih gate. 
What a productive week!  Hoping to get all of this work done so we can play all summer!  2 weeks until we pack up the bus for our next weekend camping adventure!  Stay tuned for an update on the eggs!
Keep turnin' your eggs, cluckers!


Saturday, April 6, 2013

Getting Ready for Spring

Has Spring Finaly Come?

Well, it's getting closer.  Still a little chilly for me, but supposedly the next few days will be more spring like.

This weekend's project is operation keep the chickens out of the neighbor's yard.  They have taken to scratching around in their empty garden which is doing them a favor, but as soon as they plant I do not want them in there.  SO....today we will be putting up some fencing on that side of the yard.  It's just wire with metal poles that the wire clips on and then we will use some wooden fence poles at corners and ends.  It's a big project and we have maybe $500 into this.  We do have a large yard, so I cannot imagine the cost to fence the entire back yard.  Hopefully, this will work.  I will get some pics as we progress.

The sprouts are doing great as well.  We started a second batch afew days ago and already have some sprouts.  After the fence is up, we will get on the garden.  I found a used rototiller on a yard sale page and purchased it for $100.  Kenny has some work to do to get it running, so he will look at it once the fence is up. 

Here are some of the poles getting put in.  There are 5 wooden posts for the corners/ends and gate area.  The rest of the fence will have metal poles every 10'.  The fencing is 3' high.  Hope it works!

In other exciting news....my high school friend contacted me to get some fertilized eggs for her daughter's science fair project.  Of course, we were very excited about the thought of hatching some of our babies!  The girls worked hard to make their incubator and were all ready for the eggs.  So they are now turning them 3 times a day, checking the humidity and temperature on the incubator.  Hopefully they will get some to hatch!  I believe they started the majority of them last Monday and put the final 3 in Wednesday...so we've got 21 days until they are supposed to hatch.  Keeping our fingers crossed for them!

Accessories for Chickens?

Yes, it's true.  After the girls' backs started getting bare due to Lila hopping on their backs all day....we decided to bite the bullet and try some hen saddles.  I ordered 3 (for the worst of the girls) and also added a chicken diaper to the order since it made sense if one got sick or hurt we'd have to isolate it and bringing it into the house is probably the only option. 

http://www.louisescountrycloset.com/  Check out this webite for more info on our accessories!  They are hand sewn and look fabulous!  My mother sews and I'll tell you, I doubt she would even consider making them and not for the price they are being sold for.  I'd think she would say it wasn't worth her time or the cost of the fabric.  They are very well made and I know they will hold up well.  The 3 girls have been wearing them for 2 days now and they are great!  They don't bother them on their backs at all and they do look pretty!  Hoping to protect their backs from Lila's claws and let their feathers grow back in. 

Grun sporting her Chicken Saddle.  There is a pretty sparkle in the fabric...they look FABULOUS!

Just in Time!

Turns out the diaper showed up just in time.  Poor Grun was found with a bleeding comb last night.  It was bleeding pretty good so we kept her in the bathroom for the night (with our Himalayan Cat who's been living there since he stopped using the litter box and we found keeping him contained keeps him using the box).  Grun slept in the tub.  Westy liked her enough as he was rubbing up her last night.  I don't think she appreciated his tail whacking her, but otherwise, no one was dreaming of chicken dinner, so that was a good thing!!  (I made sure we hid the cat food bag that said it was chicken flavor....and we had 'MYSTERY nuggets' for dinner last night!  Wasn't very P.C. to call it like it was not that she feels any kind of connection to her genetically engineered FRANKEN cousins!  :) 

We thought Lila was the pecker...but turns out Genny caught Rosa pecking her today while she was outside a bit.  So now Lila, Rosa and Weiss are outside wandering and Prissy, Flower and Grun are in the coop together.  We may keep her inside again tonight to see how her head is healing. 

Here's a pictoral update on the sprouts:
Even round 2 spouts are coming up!  YEA!
This clucker has to get back to work!  Will post some more pictures after the fence is up!