Wednesday, February 1

*Deja vu

 The last few years here on the Gulf Coast, the winters have been rather cold. This past year we experienced a winter that was not far from what we were used to experiencing in North Carolina. This year, however, has been a different story. While we have had about a weeks worth of low 20's temps throughout the "winter season", I have only used my winter coat a few times. I am not thrilled about this one way or the other. This time last year the temps were less than desirable! But, spring is definitely on its way.  Every morning I hear the birds singing praises to their King!  The grass is peeking through, ok so most of it never left this year.  Flowers are blooming, trees are blooming, our strawberries are blooming, the dew berries on our property are blooming, the daffodils and azaleas are blooming! Last year the sweet daffodils bloomed around the 24th of February, they are almost a month ahead this year.

Last year this time I was starting to gleefully raise our first chicks for egg production here at Erilyn Farm.  It was really a lot of fun the first time, not so much this time.  I am excited to raise more pullets, don't get me wrong. 

Remember we had a hen to go broody and hatch out 9 chicks AND we picked up 9 more in Samson at a small hatchery last weekend?  We have all of them together now, yes that means Rebel is NOT raising her chicks but me instead.  We felt it would be best if we integrated the little chicks all together early on.  We had some gang issues last year when we finally put our two different groups of hens together.  So I tried to give all of the chicks to Rebel to raise.  Firstly, 18 is a lot of chicks for her little frame.  She is a Buff Leghorn and really a rather small hen compared to our other hens.  She seemed to be confused when I first put all of them in with her, she took them in or so at first I thought she did.  Later in the day I went out to check on them. She had her chicks in her small wings warming, but she was pecking towards the others as they drew near to her.  I made a decision to take all of them away, bring them inside and put them in the brooder so I could take them under my wings...   Rebel, our still broody hen now has 5 more eggs she is sitting on.  We made efforts to research if it was possible to put more eggs under a broody hen AFTER she had hatched out eggs she had been sitting on for 19 days.  To no avail we were not able to find any information at all on anyone who had removed the baby chicks upon 48 hours or so of hatching out and giving more eggs to the broody hen.  We have done it. She is sitting on the eggs as if she just went broody. I am hopeful that she will continue to sit for at least 19 more days. Sometimes broody hens can loose the desire and leave the nest completely.  I have moved her food so she has to get up and stretch her legs, get a drink and POOP outside her nest. I believe it was my fault that she was pooping in her nest as it is. I mean really, if someone brings food to your mouth and you don't need to get up for anything else why not just poop where you are?

January 2012's chicks
So my January and February are akin to 2011's January and February, it is important to add new birds to your flock every couple of years because their egg production will start to slow down after a few years of production. I suppose I will have those deja vu moments in January's to come. 

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