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Watching Eggs and the Chickens with the Other Pets

So I miscounted when my eggs were supposed to hatch somehow. They are actually at day 19 tomorrow so I guess we’ll see. I don’t have my hopes up too high. I have been reading so much conflicting information that I am beginning to think I will just have to acquire my own knowledge from scratch. Some say keep the temperature at 99.5, others say 100. Some say at 103 the eggs will cook. I really hope that’s not the case because I think my intensely touchy incubator may have gotten that high a few times. I can’t even get anyone agreeing as to when they normally hatch. Everything from 18-21 days has been suggested. So far I can’t hear any peeps or see any movement so I guess nothing’s going on just yet.

In the meanwhile my little 7 week olds are growing. They are the size of English budgies. Since they still remain skittish I clipped their wings so I could put them outside in an enclosure knowing I could catch them again to bring them in at night. This was an issue as they can fly very well! They didn’t seem to care too much. I know wing clipping doesn’t hurt them and they will grow their feathers back.

Our laying hens are going through another growth spurt. They are larger than my Serama rooster now and have a long way to go still! Since they have completely killed the grass in their pen we allowed for a few of them at a time to come out and wander the backyard for a few minutes while we watched. The Barred Rocks are by far the friendliest and easiest to catch, followed by the Light Brahmas. The Buff Orpingtons are easy to catch too as they’re just plain numb. They lack personality and intelligence. I didn’t let any of the Partridge Rocks or the Cornish out for fear I wouldn’t get them back. Let me tell you my experiment with the two Cornish has definite results! Boekel, who I intensely socialized, will let me pick her up and play with her. Her sister who I did not handle is WILD! I can really see where the breed gets its reputation! When you are lucky enough to catch her she pitches a fit, flaps her wings, kicks, wiggles, and pecks! Maybe she knows her breed is better known for meat than eggs. That’s OK. I like her pluck, she can stay. On the other hand if I succeed at hatching eggs out of the incubator I was hoping to buy and hatch some Barnevelder eggs and replace the Buff Orpingtons with them. The eggs will come from a breeder not a hatchery. The chicks I have now are wonderful but you can tell they are from a hatchery – they only look vaguely like they’re supposed to and a few have genetic foot deformities likely from inbreeding. I don’t care so much about looks but I have to be a bit concerned when I see visible deformities about the genetic health of the animals involved. I guess hatcheries are the chicken version of puppy mills, they pump out a lot of ‘product’ fast and cheap without so many concerns about quality. I will definitely be seeking a breeder.

My Pit Bull Pepper is loving the chickens and one of the Barred Rocks has taken to sitting on her back when she’s sniffing around the coop. It’s the funniest thing as the dog seems not to notice much but she will try to scratch whatever it is off her back with her back leg! For giggles we let our house cat Special in with the chickens today. They all circled around him and started to peck at his fur. I get the feeling he felt he was staring in a new filming of The Birds. He fled in terror to the far corner of the run where I rescued him and put him back in the house.