Recently, we’ve had hens going broody left and right. Fred built a box that he attached to the wall of the big coop – it’s got a screen floor, and when a hen goes broody he puts her in the box with food and water for a day or two. Since she can’t get heat beneath her, the broody instinct goes away (or something – I’m not completely clear just exactly how it works, only that it usually does). There were a couple of hens who refused to be broken, though, so Fred brought them to the blue coop – where the 34 chickens we hatched at the beginning of March, and the 7 we hatched three weeks before that are currently living. Now the blue coop appears to be the maternity ward/ little chicken coop/ sick ward (since that’s where Charlie lives ever since she hurt her wing). Last night we realized another hen had gone broody – this time a Rhode Island Red – so Fred added her to the maternity coop and stuck three eggs under her.
I have to say, without any obnoxious roosters around, it’s kind of peaceful over there. The broody hens – the white Silkie and a Buff Orpington, one of the hens from our original batch of 12, and now the Rhode Island Red – spend the majority of their time on their nests, taking the occasional break to run outside, scratch around, and then back they go into the coop to sit on their eggs.
No, we don’t need more chickens, but when a hen is insisting upon being broody, what can you do? I think Fred’s got each of them on three or four eggs, and when he candled the eggs the Silkie was sitting on, they all appear to be viable and growing little baby chicks. We’ll see what we end up with in a few more weeks.
And speaking of baby chicks, out of the 41 Copper Black Marans eggs we received in the mail, we ended up with 11 chicks. One of them died last night. Since we’d decided that if we got 10 or more Marans we’d go ahead with building a flock of them, it appears that we’ll be doing so. Marans lay dark eggs, so this way we can keep Charlie in the Marans yard and not worry about mixing her eggs in with the Marans eggs.
I know, fascinating, right?
Here – this is what it was like in the chicken yard when we had too goddamn many roosters – if you watch carefully, you should see at least two instances of chicken sex.
One thing I discovered about making hamburger rolls from the Amish White Bread dough is that it’s really heavier than you’d like a hamburger roll to be – BUT if you cut the roll in half and toast it, then put some Brummel and Brown on it, it is FABULOUS. I’ve been eating half a toasted roll with my scrambled eggs this week for breakfast, and it’s really damn good.
Which reminds me of a question I had, o bread bakers out there – just out of curiosity, what (if anything) would happen if I let my dough rise an additional time? That is, following the recipe, you make the dough, you let it rise, you punch it down, divide it, and let it rise again before baking it. What would happen if you punched it down a second time and let it rise yet again before baking it? Anything?
Just curious. Inquiring minds and all, y’know.
So, the great freedom-letting has begun! Yesterday I put up the baby gates (one stacked atop the other to provide a daunting barrier that the kittens could climb if they realized it, but no one’s realized it just yet) in the hallway so that they can go into the upstairs bathroom in addition to their room. At first they were AMAZED at the bathroom. They crowded in there, they sniffed around, they examined every inch of the bathroom, they said “Did you SEE the toilet scrubber? You gotta check that out, it’s CRAYZEE, man!” Now they investigate the bathroom from time to time, but spend most of their time in their room, still.
The upside to having the baby gates up, so they can see out into the rest of the hallway is that they can see me coming and it’s not such a surprising event for them. Earlier today I went upstairs to hang out with them, and they were napping. They lifted their heads when they heard me coming, then went back to sleep.
In a few more days I’ll move the gates further down the hallway so they’ll have access to my room, and then I suspect the fun and games will begin (and I suspect my comforter will have little claw marks in it in no time flat). After about a week of having that much access, I’ll move the baby gates to the bottom of the stairs, so they’ll have the staircase to run up and down, too.
(I am skeptical whether Beulah will be able to get up and down those stairs, though!)
More kitten pics over at L&H.
2008: Now if I can just convince him to get going on that closet for the corner of the computer room….
2007: “What the fuck did you DO?” I accused Sugarbutt, who looked up at me with the most innocent face in existence.
2006: No entry.
2005: No entry.
2004: Stupid Steven Cojocaru.
2003: I think I speak for most Alabamans in this area when I say “Uh, what the FUCK?!”
2002: sights from my walk
2001: I am SO PISSED OFF.
2000: It’s not stealing if I give them credit, right? Uh… right?