Chickens · hatching eggs · homesteading

It’s Been a Rough Few Weeks! Plus New Arrivals

Well, the last time I posted I was lamenting the loss of a pullet – likely due to a dog that wasn’t my own. Since then I have made sure all my laying girls are locked in their coop at night and have been dragging the Seramas to and from the shed every morning and night. They would have had a coop by now if it wasn’t constantly raining – which is not helpful when building things.

If that wasn’t bad enough I lost two batches of Seramas. The first was a set of four from my home-brewed eggs. They hatched just fine but suffered the most severe case of Stupid Baby Syndrome I have ever seen. As usual I took them out of the incubator after they were dried, dipped their beak into the water and food bowls and placed them under the lamp light. Such a process has become routine, however for whatever reason it didn’t work. The babies screamed at the top of their lungs, a noise you wouldn’t believe could come from such a small creature. I repeatedly brought them over to the water bowl and dipped their beaks in and although they seemed thirsty they just could not get it for themselves. Keep in mind I raised lots of chicks in the same cage, mostly Seramas, with the exact same set-up. The bowl was bright red which should have attracted them but no…. similarly they were bedded on paper towel making dropped food crumblings very obvious. They still didn’t get it. They continued to scream. In desperation I tried putting one of my Serama pullets in with them hoping they could play Monkey See Monkey Do. This came at a risk – as hens who aren’t broody, and some who are, are more likely to kill strange chicks than adopt them. I hoped she was still young enough to not get this. She was. I plopped her in the cage and she went about eating and drinking and I thought for a second the chicks might be catching on but in the meanwhile she was trampling them. I left her in there for a while but they seemed unable to get back to their light with her there so I took her out. Although they seemed to learn how to drink the water they never did learn how to eat and died on the fourth day much to my exasperation.

As this was going on I was incubating some shipped Serama eggs, nine of which were developing well. I was even expecting some silkies out of them. That’s when my boyfriend bumped the thermostat. I saw him do this and tried to put it back exactly as it was. It seemed to work and after two days I stopped paying attention. That’s when the damned thing spiked at 105 degrees!! I don’t know how long they were that high and have never heard of an egg surviving that either way. If they don’t hatch by Monday they’re dead. Suffice to say I am expecting that and not too happy about it.

Too many losses here lately. I’m getting fairly depressed about it. Its not like I’m not trying here… Still there is some hope. After more than a month of waiting I received my half dozen Barnevelder and half dozen Golden Cuckoo Maran eggs. The Maran eggs are not nearly as dark and chocolate colored as the more famous Black and Copper Maran but they’re still a nice brown and will provide pretty birds nonetheless. Plus they’ll be able to be sexed at hatching which is very cool. This dozen, provided they’re not all roosters, will be replacing my profoundly stupid Orpingtons and the personalityless Partridge Rocks if I’m successful with them. We’ve planned out their new run in a way which will divide it into two parts to make introductions easier. Here is a photo – the Barnevelder eggs are at the top and Golden Cuckoo Marans at the bottom.