Sunday, February 24, 2013

What to Do After the Chickens Hatch

The Broody Lady Rah Rah                         Credit: Shobe Biz Communications

My Farm Innovators Model 4200 Incubator just arrived! This is my first foray into hatching chicks in an incubator. The eggs will be shipped next week from Chicken Scratch Poultry and will be a mix of Olive Egger, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, French Black Copper Marans, and Welsummer fertilized eggs. I'm going for the different colored eggs this year for photographic and innovation reasons.

Since this is my first time incubating eggs, I thought I should bone up on some research. Travis Kellar of The Sentinel (Pennyslvania) wrote an informative article How to Raise Baby Chickens After Hatching. The Chickens should not be removed from the incubator until 48 hours after hatch. The brooder needs to be kept at 95 degrees and the temperature should be reduced five degrees for every successive week.

For the last several years, I have used a 250-watt heat lamp in the chicks brooder. For the brooder, I found a large wooden box and created a lid for it out of a wooden frame and avian wire.  In the chicks water, I put a few drops of apple cider vinegar and feed them yogurt to help them avoid pasty butt.

Who doesn't enjoy raising baby chicks? Now, it's time to try something new. I can't wait to see how the incubator works and how many chicks successfully peck their way into their new home!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

A Free Webinar on February 28 About Raising Backyard Chickens

Lady Rah Rah Sitting Pretty                                         c.Shobe Biz Communications
Aw, c'mon. Don't even tell me that you forgot to mark the week of February 24 on your calendar as a special week; after all, it's Bird Health Awareness Week.

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) posted on their blog that in recognition of this week, they are offering a special free webinar called, "Growing Chicks Into Healthy Chickens: Getting Ready for Spring."  It will air on Thursday, February 28, at 2 p.m. EST.

Here's what they say you'll learn:

      1. How to get your birds and equipment ready for spring
      2. What to look for when buying chicks to start or build your flock.
      3. What are the best or most popular breeds.
      4. How to keep your flock safe from predators and disease.
      5. What are the signs of infectious disease.
      6. Where to find resources to help you.

Three poultry experts will be on the show including:

      Andy Schneider, "The Chicken Whisperer"
      Dr. Martin Smeltzer, USDA poultry veterinarian
      Dr. Claudia Dunkley, University of Georgia poultry scientist.

Pre-registration is required. For more information, check out the USDA's blog page.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Minaret's First Egg

Minaret's First Egg                          Photo Courtesy of Eve

Minaret, a lovely local Ameracauna who is relatively "new" onto the scene, just laid her first egg--an egg with a lovely bluish tint--for her "mother", Eve. (To everyone's surprise, Minaret didn't end up being a rooster!)

As we Chicken Women all know, there's nothing quite like a hen's first egg. When I came home last spring from a vacation to a local rural valley, I discovered my hen's first egg on the floor of the coop. I was so thrilled that I immediately began taking pictures. And, then, my girl Coachie, as if obeying some celestial clock, decided to lay her second egg for me while I was standing there...ah, there's nothing like "birth"!

A hen's first egg (oeuf) is definitely a cause for celebration. Eve seems to know how to celebrate in style--with a "pop" of the cork from a yummy bottle of champagne and a toast in honor of the young "gal.". Congratulations, Eve and Minaret!

Eve is the newbie owner of four lovely hens and a talented writer, photographer and foodie. She spends a good deal of her time whipping up delicious yummies both locally and in France and writes a wonderful foodie blog called Blue Moon. (Check it out. I just may have to whip up her delicious recipe on homemade Potstickers as an appetizer for Valentine's Day!) And, her mother, Tana, is proud to say that she is the great-grandmother of this new egg--although, as she said in her email, "it will get eaten!"

Here's a link to the story I wrote last spring about my Coachie's first egg: The First Egg.