Sunday, 11 November 2007

The Birth of the Chickies

Didn't get a chance to photograph the 5 wee chicks crackin' their eggs. We woke on Friday 9 November to find they had already arrived and were cheeping gently from under their mother. One chick failed to make it out of the egg, and had broken through and then died. I wonder if they smother, it wouldn't be hard considering mum is sitting on your head.

They're hard to photograph as mum is very protective and we have them under lots of netting to try dissuade hawks from a 'cheep' breakfast. Caleb managed one quick hold before school and has to resign himself to looking from a far.

We've been wondering what happened with the colouring in the chooks. Though Mum is black, she actually has only ever been a surrogate mother. She didn't lay any of the eggs she sat on, I deliberately gave her Isa Brown and New Hampshire chook eggs (both of whom are orange), and the father, Gus, is a pale fellow. Yet 2 of the chicks are black or dark grey. There have been local theories that some breeds you can sex by colour at birth, in which case we will need to watch closely to see if this occurs. I've also heard that you can tell at the egg stage, a pointy egg (phallic?) is male and a rounded egg, is female. Sounds dubious to me and considering the person who told me this also believes that snakes bite the end of their tails and roll down hills like a wheel ... hmmm, but, from curiosity will give the theory a whirl next time round.

Anyone know the best way to sex an egg or a chick?


purrsikat said...

The chickies are adorable, congrats on the new additions.

I think that it's really really hard to sex chicks... This is the only thing I've ever been able to go by, but I'm not heavily involved with chickens.. Other people I've spoken with seem to do it the same way...
(second Q&A on the page)

I would be interested in hearing how others do it. :) Best of luck

Nat & Paul said...

Hi guys,

Been following your progress for a while now and must say are extremely jealous as we to are trying to make the move to Tassie...but its taking longer than we thought!!

We thought to sex chicks was hard until someone told us to use a small piece of card(business card) and place it under a neck feather and smooth it out. If the feather is pointy ended its a male, rounded is female. This seems to be a pretty accurate way.

Give it a go and let us know the success rate!!!

Monte said...

I've seen that carding thing on a River Cottage DVD but it was sorting cockrels and pullets out.

BTW we booked our tickets on the boat for the 30th so we can see in the new year on the block ;-)

Denise said...

Hi - the bee photos were beautiful and the chickens are very cute. I felt a cold shiver when you said about getting stung by another bee as I know the feeling. Are you getting any rain as everytime they say it will be showers or rain, we can see it on the mountain but not down our way at Forcett so getting very dry? We finally got our fire fighting pump so can pump into an old bathtub and bucket some onto the vegies. The actual fire hose is too strong to water the vegies as it would blast them out of the ground. Will have to find out about another connection that we can use it normally. We have become over-run with ducks. One muscovy adopted us when we first moved in 6 months ago and others have wandered over from neighbours properties and if all eggs hatch this weekend and join the other ducks and ducklings there will be 42 ducks. They are not officially ours but pinch the chook food anyway so they could be living on dangerous ground.
Hope the house is coming along well and look forward to more pictures of it.

Linda said...

Will give them a go, like the sound of round or pointed feathers, again, all rather phallic.

As to rain, we had 4mm this morning, which was good, it's been very dry.

I've asked the 'loner builder' to do a house building update, so he's building himself up for it.

Jill said...

Your little chickies look so cute. How nice to see your blog, I loved your book, had to buy two copies, as I leant one to a friend, whose 18 year old son (!!) lost it!!! So, I have now bought another one !! You are a great inspiration to me, and well done moving to Tassie, God's earth down there I reckon !!!