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I Still Want More

  1. In His Service
    By now, the kids, and my DH, are growing very attached to Charley and his cuties. Charley, the white-crested black polish, is quite a character. He loves to be petted, and held. He likes to have his chest/tummy rubbed, and his wattle rubbed...something my DH read about. He does NOT like to have his head rubbed. He shakes his head as if to say, "Not the hair, not the hair!" He is very curious, shoe laces, dangling zipper pulls, or anything shiny draws his attention. First he looks at it, twisting his head all around, then gently pecks. My DD went in to feed and water them wearing red shorts and a red t-shirt. Charley came up from behind and pecked her on the shoulder. I probably shouldn't have, would have been much funnier, but I warned her as she bent over, that Charley was just about to give her a peck on the glutes...he had that "I'm just curious" look in his eyes. Chuck, on the other hand, is the epitome of the hen-pecked rooster. If he even looks at Molly and Chelsea, they chase him around the pen. The day he first gave us a real crow, we all cheered him on. He is maturing into rather a handsome bird, his black feathers shining dark green, with exquisite gold edging on his neck feathers and the small feathers surrounding his large blood-red comb. Too bad Molly and Chelsea can't seem to see that, they only now him as the shy teenager and continue to push him around. Must be bad for the male ego. Biff and his beauties are still skittish, no one has taken the time to sit and get them used to us. I think the kids were a little put off by his aggression toward Charley, and the large spur he sports. They are, however, extremely docile towards people, and very pretty birds in their own right. I, however, am feeling a growing need to have more birds...after all, we have to wait a few days to have enough eggs to feed the family one breakfast consisting entirely of our own eggs. So, perusing the plethora (I love that word) of home-made incubators on-line, and reading all I can find about the requirements of hatching eggs, I decide to take the plunge and get some eggs to hatch. Ever the "thrifty" one of the household, I jumped at the opportunity when I spied an ad for fertile eggs for $2.50. I reasoned, that for the money the kids and I would get a cheap field trip to a local farm where I could see how others are keeping their birds, the kids could chase a few free-range chickens and if I totally blew it with the incubator, I hadn't spent a fortunate. We got all that, plus a lot of friendly advice and got to meet and pet a fantastic tom turkey to boot (I would have never guessed that their bald heads were so soft). For example, we learned about some chicken behavior that we could not wait to come home and try out. Have you ever seen chickens go for cold left-over spaghetti (w/o sauce)? These friendly folks let us go into the "coop" and pick out the eggs we wanted from the nesting boxes. We chose the largest, darkest brown eggs we could find, as well as some lovely blue ones. We brought them home and put them into my home-made incubator. We had a 15-gallon aquarium which I had bought in 9th grade. I bought a brooder lamp and a thermometer/hygrometer from Lowe's. We covered 3 sides in order to hopefully keep heat in, leaving one side uncovered to give us a front row seat when day 21 rolled around. We faithfully marked the eggs, even included a few from our own hens, so we knew which side should be up each day, turning them an odd number of times. Each day we re-counted days to hatch, checked humidity and temperature, and attempted to candle the eggs. (I have to get a better light!!!). I have a lot to learn, none of the eggs hatched even though we were fairly certain there was something going on in most of them. We decided to donate the eggs to science...my DS's science teacher, so they would not have to get their own fertile eggs and kill them to examine them at various stages of development...no need, I had already done that for them. Next time, maybe we should try already hatched chicks.

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