2017-0-5-04 - Perfect Chick - Today is hatch day. Last hatch day of the Spring breeding season -- Last night, not even a pip -- today I wake up and find a lavender-brown (Isabel) in the Brinsea mini. This baby worked the night shift. There are 7 other eggs. One of which was dropped during candling and taped with scotch tape, two or three of which had zero air cell. All the more reasons this baby is a welcome sight.

2017-04-28 - Quick Update - Another hatch day is today --- and here are the chicks starting with the three splits from the Brinsea Mini -- going upwards in age in the 'chicken room' and the garage.

hatched - they can say they have accomplished their mission.

still in process

Jack's babies from Easter hatch -- kicked out of the electric hen (Brinsea Eco Glow) and put on the heating pad -- photoed before they have had the chance to make the towel disgusting.

Twin II's babies from Easter hatch -- just as I am taking this - I realize that even though they had a clean brooder this morning--- they spilled the water and the florring is now wet...

So I put in a dry puppy pad, on top of the wet one underneath while the chicks are still in the brooder...pretty exciting time.

Here are the barred ones in the garage

Three boys that I think will be unbarred Isabel.
-- and 14 eggs on day 14 -- and after THAT--- the spring breeding season is over.

2017-04-18 - Holy Moley! - It's already daylily season again.

Here's your basic wild daylily

Here's a named variety that is drenched with today's rain "Pardon Me" - look at all the buds!

And here's a giant magnolia for good measure. The tree looks like a Christmas tree.
Time to scoot over to the tractor store and have a heart to heart discussion about repacking the wheel bearings in my BadBoyBuggy....and give them some eggs.

2017-04-17 - 'Bye Jack - Last night I processed Jack and pelted him. -- sad because he was very sweet.
Hopefully one of his chicks will have his great 'type' and sweet personality --

Aug 2016 - April 2017

2017- 04-16 - Happy Easter!
- Welcome chicks! Have to say "my cup runneth over" with chicks. This year I participated in the Easter hatch-a-long of BYC. So 49 were set and 39 made it to 'lock-down' -- and thus far all but 16 or so have hatched...and I don't have a lot of optimism about the eggs still in the incubator - but sometimes they will surprise you. I don't even know the count. Someone asked me yesterday my 'beak-count' (as in head-count). It must be about 67 right now -- counting everyone -- and maybe a few more will hatch. And not to loose any opportunity to get the Isabel-barred females and single barred males that my project needs -- there are 43 eggs still in different incubators. Then, then the spring hatch for my project will be over with.

Of those,11 already are slated to go to different people, and all the splits from the recent hatch...will go, one rooster is scheduled to be processed....(his pen space is needed for future chicks).
Welcome to Incubator land! - farthest one - the Easter Hatch-a-long finishing up, middle one, 2-dozen in an Octagon 20 that was gifted to me. (Thank you Vanessa) - and nearest one is two-days into the incubation of 14, and on the other side of the room, 5 in a Brinsea mini advance. Some people just don't know when to quit. However, if at this stage of my project, only 1 in 8 will match my needs -- I need to hatch 80 chicks to get 10 to go forward, right?

Brooder 1 feeding frenzy

Brooder 2 chicks from "Twin II"

Brooder 3 with chicks from "Jack". What I would like to have is a replica of Jack for type -- but of course lavender genetics... Maybe "Sliver Jackson'' will be the one -- the ohly way to tell him from the other two Lavender-patterned Isabel duckwings in there (and I hope he grows to be barred) is that he is a day ahead or two days ahead of them and getting wing feathers -- but the others will catch up fast, so he needs to be marked (banded) today.

"Silver Jackson" scooting off -- showing the diffused stripe and the baby wing feathers. "Hi Yo, Silver! - Away!"

Three juveniles, awaiting larger accomodations.

The remainder of the eggs. Two 'pedigree baskets' - aka food serving baskets - idea complements of Campingshaws - and a nylon garment bag -- and loose eggs to keep track of who's the father...

2017-04-12 - Farewell II - A week ago all the Isabel hens, the Isabel roo and a split roo - moved to a new home. Hope that they will serve their new owner as well as they served me. The space will be needed to grow out these project birds.

Lockdown today for the BYC Easter-Hatch-a-long. -- 39 eggs into lockdown. Meanwhile one incubator that had only 3 remaining eggs of Jack's chicks - hatched 2 and the third one has pipped. The third one had no aircell at all what so ever upon candling. Seems to me that the only way it could survive was skip internal pip and go directly to external pip - unless the air sac was in a cone shape and the edges made the egg appear as if there was no air cell. So it pipped and the beak was moving a bit -- but it isn't ambitiously trying to get out. I wonder if lack of oxygen at a certain point in development left the chick 'brain damaged' -- Or is it resting, breathing and absorbing the yolksack? -- Set 24 more eggs the day after the hen's departure plus 7 piggybacked in empty space in the Easter HAL incubator -- and have about 15 on the counter getting older and older -- as they await incubator space. May as well set them and try for a few more and THEN the spring breeding season will be ended.

meanwhile spring is progressing -- a daylily in yesterday's rain

This was shot from the back door with long zoom telephoto lens during significant rain -- I'm very surprised it was able to focus.

This Louisiana Iris - a friend dug up in the woods behind their place and gave me last year. It just sat in a little pot until now -- this is a striking flower and it is about 2' tall. I culd appreciate a whole woods full of these.

Two chicks that have Jack as the father. Jack has the best type around -- and what I REALLY want from this hatch is a lavender barred version of Jack -- there are only 10-more chances. If I don't get a baby Jack -- I may just keep one of his daughters in high hopes that she can pass on his type -- even if it is a split like the above two chicks.
2017-03-28 - Fare Well ! - All 15 splits left today -- and now I have 1/2 of the 'empty brooder' syndrome, which is a bit like 'empty nest syndrome'. Here's my last picture of them:

They are going to a woman who's flock was attacked and killed by a bear, and now, she has rebuilt, reinforced pens and coop and is ready for more.

Rancher making air holes in transportation box......off they go.

2017-03-24 - First Day - Not really -- here's what happened: The lavender brooder babies are ready to go out doors (not really either - the youngest is 3-weeks the older two are 4-weeks. ) Yesterday I set up the show cage to let them play in the grass. Show cages have wide spaces between the wires, they are suitable for adult chickens - but for chicks not so much. For that reason, the broody and her babies have been out in the Trixie brand run extension (Hardware cloth and wood) - with something blocking the opening with bungies and the lid of a tupperware that I use for a brooder. Her chicks are small enough to stroll through the show cage wires (only wires with big spaces between them) as if they aren't there. I thought that the other chicks were too big to get through (after all they are 3 and 4 weeks) but that wasn't the case.

I put the first one of the 3 -4 week olds in the yard and when I came back to with the second one in hand..the first was strolling around the yard looking for trouble. That is chick behavior for you. So although one was out for a little while yesterday (officially the first day on grass) - the show cages have too much space between the wires and I thought I would have to wait until they grew more before they could go outside. That's why yesterday was sort of a preview of the first day outdoors.

Today, I got the bright idea to put the 3 and 4 week olds in the Trixie and the broody and babies in the show cage. Yes the broody's babies can get out -- but they can also get back in and mom will call them. And that's exactly what they did - run in and out and make the broody frantic. IMO chicks enjoy being trouble makers at every opportunity.

2017-03-20 - Chicks EVERYWHERE!!!!!!! - Yes, it's possible to have too many chicks. There are the ones just turned outdoors full time, the ones that the boody hatched, the ones that are ready to leave the brooder next week,the ones that hatched Saturday, the ones that hatched Sunday, the ones that hatched today -- and maybe even more tomorrow. Yikes!

2017-03-09 - These Chicks - Technically these chicks are 3/4 Leghorn - right? The parents were 1/2 Legbar and 1/2 Leghorn male over Leghorn females. They have so many Legbar characteristics. They're more curious than Leghorns for one thing. They make that distinctive Legbar purring noise when they are happy -- and they like to hole up inside when the wind is blowing, and just play around in their little house. (Which at the present, while they are outdoors, is a discarded highway mailbox that I needed to replace when someone ran over my post and sent the box flying - it had some damage......

Here they ar in the tiny indoor cage using the sweet PDZ for a dust bath.

2017-03-08 - First Day - These two are just over 4-months old. They have lived in pens since they were hatched under the bantam OEGB that I have....First a tentative venture out the doorway. Hopefully no Bald Eagles are out and about today, and hopefully they don't hop the fence and have a few hours to enjoy the grass.

2017-03-06 - Before & After - One thing I like is items that can serve multiple functions. The picture on 3/2/17 of the dirty brooder - (wet and disgusting because they spilled the water) is this same brooder the next morning:

There are chicks in there that had spent the night in the incubator -- but they were all under the heat right now -- see the next picture for a leg-count of 4 chicks....

They are doing fine...
When the "breeding season" is over, then these same plastic tubs can hold the incubators and electric hens in storage for the next time.

Candled the 50-eggs I had set and only 4 are discards after 1-week.....
. One was 'iffy' - but I was pretty sure that I saw the embryo move -- so back into the incubator it goes.
The nice clean floor is a 'puppy pad'. The idea is compliments of my friend Diana and it saves ripping off tons of paper towels and putting them in . I used to have three plastic tubs so even with two brooders going, I could put the chicks in the thrid one and rotate them for cleaning duty--- Passed one along with some chicks in it for a little boy just starting with chicks - the people who took all the browns from that first hatch. Hopefully they are doing OK because there have been some unexpected very cold nights.
The head-count (beak count?) is 44 right now - but of the chicks 7 are already spoken for and 3 adults can plan to move to a new home -- 1 spent hen and one roo are destined to be food... so 32 - and then 46 eggs are in the incubator and 5 are under a broody.

2017-03-02 - Chickens EVERYWHERE! - Where to start? Two of the second incubator are hatched, one is 1/2 zipped one is pipped...one I can't tell. They will have to all wait there until tomorrow. Both look brown, so they can go with the other 4 browns to a new home - as soon as that family is ready for them..... I am only going to keep lavenders, and then maybe not even all the lavenders......

The chicks that are a week older than these, doing fine.

The chicks hatched on Jan 31. - Ready for the outdoor pen which I just moved to fresh grass, and put the cleaned out rabbit hutch inside. Last night was down to 38-degrees, so from here on the temperatures should moderate.

Right now they are in the mini-coop indoors that I intended for chicks once they could navigate the ramp - but when I had the Bantam in there as a broody -- she seemed to fit pretty well, so she's been in there overnights and in a show-cage on the grass during the days.
The 3 project grow outs - are doing fine -- but they trashed the 'brooder' plastic tub about 15 minutes after I completely emptied it, scrubbed the walls, etc. They fill the water with shavings, and they even spill the water...then the shavings are wet. not healthy.
Here is the trashed 'brooder' that they were just moved from -- and it was fresh and clean this morning - and is wet and disgusting right now:

The dark color of the wood shavings -- and see how they filled the drinker -- is because they spilled the water all over.....

Just checked on the Bantam, she hatched two standard sized eggs Nov 2nd of last year, and they are now growing out to be beautiful chickens...Would like to rehome her. She is smart, healthy, strong, assertive, pretty -- and completely doesn't fit into my breeding plans -- beats up on the bigger females when she is in with them, or at least she did when I put her with 'Wildfarbig".....and she's way too little to live in any pen with any of the roosters IMO -- but perhaps she would beat them up too. BTW - It just takes a few serious squawks and screams and I'm ready to separate them...so who knows if I had a longer tolerance for pecking order disputes where it would end up.

She's now demoted to a pet carrier -- and she has laid an egg in it. Perhaps she will go broody again. (HA - just checked and she is sitting on the egg she put in the pet carrier..).

-- Oh yeah, the broody pooped in the nest and on her eggs -- so I'm not sure those 5 will hatch. She has just completed a week. She hasn't got it figured out as of yet.

This morning took her out, took the eggs out, dumped the soiled bedding put in new bedding, washed the eggs in warm water, put her back on the nest.

So Here's a rundown of the chicken room at the moment -- Oh and the incubator with 50 eggs set....seems too hot and too moist - on day 4 - Probably I will have 50 poached eggs at hatch time..what do you think?

2017-02-26 - 100% hatch! - Got 6 chicks. Very cute healthy little fluff balls -

2 lavender-browns and 4 browns.
Then set 50 eggs tonight in this type incubator - just bought it:

It is supposedly preset to chicken - so I'm taking the defaults and seeing what the eggs will look like a week from now. ---
2017-02-25 - Saturday Morning -

4 hatched with one zipping right now.
2017-02-24 - It's Starting!!

2017-02-22 - Lock Down! - Always nervous when they are due. Usually for my chickens if I get a pip I get a zip.

2017-02-21 - Life Saver? - This egg may just have saved 'Olga's' life. Olga is sweet, and curious. Once upon a time she was a good layer. 'Olga' is the Isbar that produced the green eggs with speckles. For over a year 'Olga' hasn't produced an egg. My thought was that 'Olga' was an internal layer. Today in the nest box, I found this:

It's wet because, since I never even check that pen's nesting box, since I know it contains spent hens and a rooster 'in storage' for later use, I don't expect eggs. Not only do I not expect eggs, I don't check - so who knows how long it was there. Dunking in water it dutifully sank to the bottom, so I know it is a 'good egg'. The white on the fat side of the egg is a reflection of windows. If she is a layer and not a freeloader, then she can move in with 'Sven'. I know he would love the company. Trouble is 'Sven' tends to over-breed the hens, and eventually they just stay inside the coop all the time to avoid his attentions. 'Sven' however is beautiful, sweet, funny/amusing, and well-meaning.

The speckled eggs are 'Olga's.' She could be back on line, just in time for Easter. To reward her I let her out to free-range. So since it is a good season for predators, it would be best to find a way to keep her safer than just free ranging, for now anyway. 'bye - off to get 'Olga'.

2017-02-19 - More Spring - Just love the flowers and flowering trees and bushes this time of year. Needed to drive over to a friends to look in on her chooks and noticed that the Redbud trees are out. Redbuds are a forest edge plant and they light up the landscape. My redbud wasn't quite out yesterday - but maybe today or tomorrow it will begin puttong on a show. However, an Azalea that I planted last year put out some blooms:

Meanwhile back at the brooder:

No, they just won't hold still.

This little bright-eyed and busy-tailed guy has BIG feet and a big comb (Lens has distorted it to a degree -- but to me it says 'BOY' loud and clear. Very curious little chick, ready to explore anywhere. The 5 brown babies have a tentative home already. Meanwhile the count down on one incubator says 6 days and the other one 12. In six days these hooligans need to move outdoors. Which means the pens need to be rearranged and someone needs to go into the cooking pot - sadly.

2017-02-09 - Awaiting Spring - Just planted this Magnolia tree last year -- variety 'Jane'. As the plants come out of dormancy, it is nice to see they lived over the winter. Also saw one violet blooming in the woods today.

2017-02-07 - Lavender Rules! - Well, so it seems. 6 more eggs in one incubator and planning to start up the other incubator soon. -- When you are going for a double recessive, then getting that to show up in your hatch is time for a happy dance.

Now there are 9 chicks in the brooder and 4 are lavender.

2017-02-03 - Project Progress - On Jan 31st, 6 of 7 eggs hatched. As per Punnett's square the genetics were spot on for lavender. I got 3 lavender chicks and 3 brown chicks.

So obviously these three have two of the recessive lavender genes. The center one may also have the barring gene if the litght frost in the center of her head V is the indicator. The center one also has the most definite chipmunk stripes. IF that is the case, a "lavender patterned Isabel duckwing barred", providing that she doesn't have a crest IS the end product on the female side. For the male side, I need to incorporate two barring genes....so at least one more generation using a barred female and a barred male to try for "lavender patterned Isabel duckwing barred DF" (DF is dual factor) in the male.

The one on the right, chipmunk stripes diffused, and so I think maybe a male? Time will tell. Of the browns I think two females and one male.

Left front (dark dorsal stripe) expected female, center light down, faded dorsal stripe, expected male and photobombing at the top one of the lavenders. Now there are two more pips in the other incubator.
Hatched on Nov 2 of 2016 (by a little banty broody) are a single barred, split lavender male and a barred, split lavender female. Perhaps, with lots of hatching and lots of luck, I can get to the plumage pattern/color objective even during the 2017 calendar year.
In the meanwhile, yes, I have too many chickens.
Here, just because he is so handsome is the grandfather of the lavender chicks above, he jumped on the top of the 6' chainlink fence and decided it was better to just go back to his hens. He is the most excellent and charming guy you could find:

2017-01-03 - Happy 2017 -

Lichen and mini mushrooms on a twig.

2016-12-17 - What Luck! - temps in the 30's tonight, then tomorrow is predicted to be 28-degrees, Monday just at freezing 32 -- -- and THEN -- for the rest of the year....no overnights forecast to be below freezing. How great is that?

"Happy Christmas to all - and to all a good night!" -- if I don't get back on here....for a blog post ....before 12/25.

From the woods.....
2016-12-01 - no Surprise! - It really isn't a surprise that the two chicks hatched by OEGB are nearly her size. Next week, I wouldn't be surprised if they are as big as she is.

foreground male, background female - All the splits that I have hatched for my project have been sexable at hatch time. - based on dorsal stripes. Only the white head-blotch is missing on the male -- and that will happen when I have introduced a second barring gene into this line. looking forward to spring when it will be some serious hatching in earnest to take the next steps in this project!

female = duckwing (Cream Legbar X Isabel Leghorn) with 1 lav gene, 1 barring gene, 1 cream gene, 1 crest gene, 1 blue-egg gene

male = duckwing (Cream Legbar X Isabel Leghorn) with 1 lav gene, 1 barring gene, 1 cream gene, 1 crest gene, 1 blue-egg gene
They will be 1-month old tomorrow.

2016-11-26 - All Grown - It's bee quite some time since I mentioned "Wildfarbig" hasn't it? She is a pretty adult now. Separated from her buddy OEGB because OEGB went broody - and is raising chicks. OEGB is a simply wonderful mother hen.

'Wildfarbig' -- isn't a wildfarbig after all - Some nay-sayer - and I forgot whom said she wasn't - and I said I would wait until her first egg to know for certain. And her eggs are bluish-green, not blue as they would be if she were a Legbar. Alas. Other signs, she doesn't have salmon breast, but rather black, and she her legs are slate and her eyes are dark brown. At the moment she is my best egg-layer with a perfect large daily egg, and a very sweet temperament. She must be an 'ice cream bar' after all. That means that Sven must have jumped some fences, and bred Robin, then jumped them back again. Much to my dismay, because I was trying for a bird that ws 7/8 of Robin's genetics. Now I will simply have to be content with the one that is 3/4 -- as Robin is getting very old -- (5-years old in Jan. of 2017), and I will probably phase out her son/grandson - and lessen the footprint of Cream Legbars on the place.
So here with her beautiful brown eyes, and slate legs - some photos of 'Wildfarbig'

2016-11-14 - Some Picts -

2016-11-03 - Sleepy Baby -

Pretty cute, huh? Both eggs hatched - and, my thinking is one boy and one girl -- in this picture is the boy -- and under her other wing is the girl.

If you look under her wings, you can just barely see the beak on the left -- and partially see the baby on the right.

2016-11-02 - Hatch Day! - Yay -- little pullet has done her job expertly. Have always heard that OEGB are good broody hens. Checking this morning - you can notice a piece of eggshell right by the breast --

Later I saw a small brown butt that scooted under her pretty quickly. -- The fate of the other egg = ? -- Going to just let nature take its course while I try to figure out the best housing going forward for mom and her babies -- obviously pet carrier is nice broody hut -- but it won't do for the near term --- The one I saw looked like a pretty diffused chipmunk stripe - which would indicate 'boy' -- and there are already too many boys - alas! -- but at this point that gender call needs to be verified.

With a broody -- a storm that generates a power outage shouldn't be a threat as it would normally be. Question of the day -- how long can a little bantam brood full sized chicks? -- We are about to find out. I can almost picture them being 1/2 her size at the end of 4-weeks.

Later! yes, she successfully hatched both eggs:

2016-10-29 - Broody Hen!!! - Her 21 days will be up on November 2nd. It's my little OEG bantam -- she is no larger than a pigeon. Beneath her are two eggs from Cream Legbar male X Isabel Leghorn female. She seems to be taking good care of herself. Very determined. With only 2-eggs though.... who knows what the outcome will be.

2016-10-01 - Baby Mice - You have no idea how I hate vermin, pests, predators such as fire-ants, spiders, snakes, flys, mosquitos, the whole set. Lifted a lid that has lain in the yard for a few weeks, and expected to find a colony of fire-ants, but instead, a nest of newly born baby mice. Still pink and sightless. Still so transparent that you can see the milk in their stomachs:

Put the whole nest into the pen with the Leghorns. That's 4 or 5 fewer mice out by the chicken pens. Zero tolerance.
2016-09-15 - Care Recommendations - Nice article from the Royal Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. (RSPCA)
2016-09-14 - Dang it! - This was outside the back door. Luckily the dog and I were going in from outdoors instead of out from indoors or we would have been the perfect target for a strike. Gruesome thought. I happened to have met the guy who was bitten this spring by a timber rattler, he was working underneath a shed and got bitten in the semi darkness. -- First he went to a neighbor to get help -- and they weren't, then went to back to catch the snake for positive ID and then -- went to another neighbor....and got help - ambulance call or life flight not sure which. He is one tough guy.

Length about 4 feet. I hate the way they keep moving after they are 'dead'.

2016-08-27 - Wild Woods - Just had to take a trip into the woods -- and find some things I thought were pretty amazing:

My wild grapes... they grow in ones and twos -- The black ones are ripe --

Mushroom 1

Mushroom 2 (looks like a pancake!)

Mushroom 3

Mushroom 4 - the most showy!

Center - a flower of Wild Indigo - also called false Indigo - the magenta in the background beauty berry -- and grape leaves filling up the frame

Beauty Berry -- very prolific - it is thriving this year -- needs to be seriously eradicated or this acreage will become a Beautyberry jungle!

Bee Balm - also called Horse Mint -- not very showy -- but there for the pollinators -- lots of bees around the plant.

"Sensitive Briar" -- this is such a cool plant, quite small the flower pom-pom is about the size of the last digit on your little finger. If you touch the leaves they will curl up. The leaves are the fern-like flat leaves in the pict. Here is another photo of the leaves:

Touch those leaves and they will curl up. Usually the flowers are more prolific in the spring -- but because of the heat in July and the early part of August the plants went into a protective dormancy IMO - and the constant rain in the latter part of August has made them think it is spring.

There are actually 'more where those came from ' -- maybe in a future post I'll put up some more.
2016-08-23 - Three for Three - There were three eggs that made it to lockdown. This morning they pipped and this afternoon all three have hatched. They are also the Isabel male and Cream Legbar female -- so an F1 for the males - who can contribute to my project.

And not to be out-done, the chicks that hatched on July 31st - growing like little weeds, and off the heat to prepare for their move outdoors.

Lots going on around here.....
2016-08-21 - Pink Eggs - Excitement about blue eggs, green eggs and dark brown eggs is pretty common -- but where's the excitement for pink eggs? Love the color that the Isabel pullets are laying. Granted some are laying traditional white....but at least one is laying pink. The shade of pink? The same color as the Himalayan Pink Salt....Magnifying glass in photo to enlarge salt crystals - and making interesting patterns on the egg shells:

Nice color to add to egg basket. I suspect that the depth of the pink will fade as this pullet's eggs get larger...... It would be a nice trait to preserve.

2016-08-04 - Could be - Or could not be -- Could it be that the F1 chicks hatched are sexable at hatch time?

If the chick is a male, it has one barring gene, if not a male then no barring genes. The parents, all duckwings, the chicks split for cream (planning to breed that out) lavender (planning to breed that IN) and blue egg gene and cresting. The upper left chick is presumably a female and the center chicks a male - based on the definite V on her forehead and the diffusion of the chipmunk pattern on the male. The chick on the right -- more diffused dorsal stripes, and more indefinite V, however still a V....thought at hatch it was a boy -- but now not so certain -- and only growing out will tell. (same chick as pictured on 7/31/16. ) So I have set a couple more eggs to see if the same patterning on chick down is repeated -- and have an insurance policy to be able to definitely get a male. Only a male from this pairing will work for the project. The females will have to move along. The middle chick with part of his head out of the picture - has a deformity in the right eye...sadly, but growing him to 10-12 weeks or so will help reinforce or disprove the hypothesis of sexability at hatching time.
2016-07-31 - My F1 - Very excited to have the very first hatchling. This little chick is split for everything....hopefully a 'he' has 1 lav, 1 crest, 1 blue-egg, 1 barring gene -- and is the First step in my new project.

2016-07-13 - Set Eggs! - Hatch day is August 1st.

In a week it will be time to candle. This set of eggs will produce the first F1 generation of my new project....Fingers crossed!

2016-07-01 - Spider Convention - Seemed alarming at first sight - I thought that my house was growing a beard.

If you look in the upper right corner of the front porch roof -- you see that black growth, right? Thought some kind of exotic plant or fungus was going to move in -- but, oh no, guess what it is:

A pile of spiders -- they are all alive --- what is it? a convention? -- at any rate they are harmless...daddy-longlegs - aracnids - but more closely related to scorpions than to spiders -- and here are some facts about them -- including a video taken by someone who pokes the clump of spiders he is videoing.
Hard to believe that the pen full of Isabel pullets were just fluff-balls when they arrived in the mail in March

And Alfred their brother - is growing to be very handsome -- today he bred both Robin and Dorothy (Robin's daughter) -- with the awful heat and the fear of what it could do to the chickens, I will probably set some eggs from that pairing in about a week. Seems that the heat makes the eggs degrade very quickly and what is normally a thick egg when broken for cooking - in this heat seems very thin and the yolk breaks very easily. If it were a recipe that called for eggs to be separated -- I think it would be very difficult to achieve.
Here's Alfred

Particularly glad that Alfred takes good care of the females and doesn't treat them roughly.

2016-06-27 - Rooster Tour - Here are some local faces. A friend asked me what source I would use to get barring into the Lavender-brown-barred project that I am entering -- and it was very simple and obvious - barring genes will come from the LegBARs.

Lazy Boy - usually stands squirrel tailed - so I was glad to get this shot. At one point he would have not been considered a CL by those who use the wing-triangle as the litmus test because he had definite gold plumage there-- however that has been replaced. His over-all look is also faded by the sun - so I know for certain that he is gold based. His chestnut wing patch is almost correct size for my taste -- something that doesn't look like an accidental 'oops' but that is a definite characteristic of his markings -- his barring is good.

Ice - My original CL male - has straight comb. Earlobes getting some pink streaking - even as he paces you can see his comb remains straight and upright. Pattern a bit messy for the definite duckwing that I am seeking. Nice dark chest, good barring though - as stated pattern a bit messy -- and color may have some silver or silver-split because unlike the above sun exposure darkens his hackles.

Junior Birdman Low Tail - Son of Ice and Me(d)Cre - definitely a lower tail angle -- retains a straight comb - His shoulder chestnut is definite - and pronounced -- barring a bit messy - low tail, straight comb, Not too bad -- frame a bit slight. He can be paired with the highest-tailed Isabel female(s)

Sonny-Boy - Still very young -- and at that age when his juvenile plumage floods with red...may grow to be 'very colorful'. 'Very colorful' will be a big contribution to the project, Too light would result in faded plumage - a look I don't want. Nice profuse barring...possibly the longest back of any of them, a less upright carriage. At that leggy-awkward stage now that I have a photo of the late 'Corrigan' in -- where the legs look excessive - (doesn't show in this photo-angle) ---could grow to be as big as Corrigan was. (and as mean, sadly)

On the Isabel side - Alfred - when he is paired with Legbar females - the resulting male offspring should carry one barring gene -- just as the male Legbar paired with female Isabel will produce offspring - in this case one barring gene in both male and females.....

Skipper - More colorful Isabel, younger, more flighty - and although perhaps difficult to see, may have some of the feathering degradation that the lavender gene will bring with it. -- never-the-less a beautiful Isabel color combination.
........................................and since he thinks of himself as the boss of the barn -

Sven - At the end of last week I sold Sven's beautiful son Slate, and previously I had sold Prussian as part of an Isbar pair. Was really sad to part with both of them. Both will go to good homes -- but the two extra cockerels would be 'in storage' for a long time -- since this new project replaces Isbar breeding for the near term. Two female Isbars too young - not even laying eggs, one (Sven's sister Olga) may have become an internal layer, and Big Blue the first import Isbar that I have left - is feather-worn from being over bred, and she is laying brittle thin shells and nervous when the male is around and spends all her time hiding out in the roost (could be the size difference among other things, she is very small -- Sven is a big Swede.
And that is the male side of the equation.

2016-06-25 - Heat Stroke - Just found my best CL pullet dead beside her nest box. She had laid an egg. Noticed that the heat index was 116. Why is it always the best one that is lost? and how many more will I loose to the heat -- since July, August and 1/2 of September will still be hot.

2016-06-21 - Top Knot - haven't put pictures up of Wildfarbing in awhile. She is getting a top-knot that is looking similar to her mother Robin's. So here are a couple of photos:

2016-06-16 - Today's predator - Or should I say raccoon du jour? Didn't even bait the trap - but I do leave them set just outside the wall of the chicken pens. I guess it is just coming back nightly to find a time I didn't lock the doors to the houses and it can get in and kill -- Once a raccoon terrorized my Isbars for a long time -- killed an outstanding chicken, dragged her through the mud -- and either the wear and tear as it tried to get her under a fence or dragging the body across the sandy ground one side was ripped open and lots of bright yellow egg yolks were visible (of various sizes.) --- Now I need to decide just how I want to dispose of it. And the temperatures are such that it will soon be torture to remain in the trap in the sun. (heat index hit 115 yesterday) --

2016-06-15 - Calling Card - Three pens open to a courtyard that doesn't have a covered roof like the pens -- the critter who left this track crawled up one side of the 6ft chain link and down the other -- to try to find a way to get into the pens that hold the coops. I used to leave the coop doors open at night...I wish I still could - because of the temperatures...but with closed doors -- they are safe from this critter.

Here is a supplemental source of water in the courtyard

The image of the foot -- fine dust settles to the bottom of the water -- and is a perfect place to find the imprint providing the animal walks in the water. -- So I put the trap in the courtyard but didn't bait it. If I trap it, I will need to kill it and dispose of the body. Alternative is risk the well being of chicken(s).

2016-06-11- Weather Station - This is such a cool gift to me. The builders let a scaffold fall on the old weather station and broke off the arms that recorded wind speed. You get used to knowing the weather, heat index, forecast, wind speed etc. and I missed them. This weather station is a bit more deluxe when compared to the old one. Finally got around to setting it up today...The sensor has a solar panel that runs an internal fan to circulate air to record the air temp -- Thus far the heat index high since set up is 105-degrees. (and it is 10:20AM) - and it has a self-emptying rain-gauge and an 'inches per hour" measurement. The receiver can sit beside the comfort of your computer ..and tell you what's going on

2016-06-09 - Snake weather - Snakes like it hot -- and it is getting hot. Got my trusty shovel out to go after this one -- deciding I have some too little to not have the snake try to swallow their heads - suffocate the chick or juvenile - then regurgitate when they realize the bird is far far far too big to swallow -- but by then the chicken is dead. Even for the egg eating or the aggrivation to the chickens and their nerves -- he should have stayed in the wilderness (did I do this because I mowed yesterday?) Drove him out of hiding?

a smallish snake 4 to 5 feet long I would guess but still small. Not the snake that I saw in the wood pile, possibly the one I saw under the steps -- and there is a skin shed that belonged to one probably bigger than this. Time to be aware of them ---

Surprise, he was already dead. Isn't that nice? So he gets to adorn the brush pile now.
On a far more pleasant subject -- so pictures of chickens!!

2016-06-01 - Pretty Bird - really pleased with the 4 oldest Isabels, they 9-younger ones (1-rehomed due to too many cockerels) - are still about a month behind these in their development:

Above Pullet -- lavender body with slightly darker tail - very light salmon breast - straw colored hackles -- yellow legs.
2016-05-24 - Pre-rain shot - The Isabels (the older 4) are starting to get a bit more color, it doesn't show in the photo--you can barely see their tails darkening slightly and their hackles showing a bit more straw color.... and they are getting their adult body-type. The ones in the pen behind them are only about 3-4 weeks younger. :

2016-05-20 - One Day - That is the duration of every individual flower on a daylily plant. So intricate, so beautiful and done after 1-day.

Foreground today's double bloom -- back of picture yesterday's

beautiful daylily on a plant that was stripped in the past 48-hours where leaf-cutter ants have cut awa all the leaves.

awful isn't it?

Here are some ripening blueberries

and Delphiniums/Larkspurs

And one tough plant that can take the heat and the drought - blue mealy sage -- or mealy blue sage

2016-05-18 - Eastern Lubber - Saw two of these in the garden the other day -- and have never seen this grasshopper before. For some reason - they looked to me like space aliens in a Tron suit or something. And part of the reason I hadn't seen them is because never before this house have I lived in their range...


This environment is perfect for them. Piney woods, oaks, near water... -- not even trying to get a pretty picture -- in a word. ''ick". - because of the plant damage they are capable of.
Cloudy today so here are some chicken snaps:

Youngest of the Silverudd's Blue Isbars here

Younger of the two Isbel males (foreground) with female behind him.

Is that the dreaded - lavender-gene-deteriorates-feather-quality problem? Or just a young cockerel working on his neck hackles? Time will tell.

Older of the two Isabel Cockerels above. Comb redening - is that dark patch on the wing the beginning of the 'duck-wing' marking?
What are these two lizards engaged in? wrestling or copulation?

2016-05-04 - Priceless story! -
https://www.thedodo.com/blizzard-rooster-pet-house-1773425060.html .... sent to my by a BYC friend.

2016-05-03 - Growing Isabels - They were so little when they arrived here -- and now look at them:

And the first outdoor day for Wildfarbig and OEGB companion chick:

2016-04-26 - Sprung from the Brooder - And it is about time. All it took was cleaning out one small wooden coop, treating it moving it into a run/pen - and moving the first 10 to go outdoors to that location. Then with the two-story coop empty - it could be cleaned out -- and treated with DE -- and set up for the little ones who were hatched on March 26th.

Split up among multiple brooders because because they are too big for the brooder and the more crowded the messier and ickier.....

Now all 10 in one place -- and hard to fathom how much they have grown in a month. They will stay within the confines of this little coop for a few days -- and then be free to roam the whole pen -- tonight is their first night outdoors.

And in the coop next door -- the ones who were just moved out of the two story today! Getting so big so fast. These are truly looking like adults.... Will have to get some good closeups soon.

The eggs shown in that song bird nest from 2016-04-09 have hatched - and mama wren is feeding them enormous insects.

2016-04-22 - Happy Earthday - Now go plant something! Although there is poop on the plumage -- this chick just possibly could be an Isabel (lavender-brown) cuckoo.

2016-04-12 - Two playmates - Have to put this photo here for posterity -- because they are both so cute -- !!

2016-04-10 - Remarkable Chick - This chick is a result of line-breeding a Cream Legbar hen. For years I thought that I had a lot of melanizers in my flock -- and here is living proof...and amazing living proof I must say:

black beak, black down, dark legs -- it will be interesting to watch this baby grow.... I know it is a CL -- and so this chick shows at this point at least the result of recessive blackening genes -- and it is black as coal!

2016-04-09 - Spring Time - working in the yard yesterday came across the tiniest nest in a plastic plant pot - checked back on the nest today and scared away a tiny bird - that almost looked like a chipmunk-striped CL chick -- talk about small! the eggs are about the size of the tip of my little finger.

And remaining in the brooder are only 4 large chicks (1 CL and three Blue Isbar) and 10 Isabel that were hatched on March 26th -- so their target date to move outdoors is around April 26th.....

This morning was cold-ish -- 47-degrees - so I was sort of glad that I didn't move the 8 that are now out there out lastnight but waited until this morning.

2016-04-05 - Play Time - Today the other chicks get to go outdoors in the play pen - all these guys are too big for the brooder -- and everyone is about to start living outdoors full time. Today's temp 89-degrees.

2016-04-04 - New Arrivals - From Cree57i and CJ Waldon I got Isabel Leghorns -- love that coloration! So now with the ones I have hatched and the ones shipped here there are 31 chicks and in the incubator it looks like one may hatch the other remaining egg -- probably not. So that lone chick will have to go in with some ones that are older. Then the adult population is reduced by one - since someone took a Legbar hen......Adults 11 - total population 42 -- Less 6 split lavs (Isabel) that just got sold this minute = 36......

2016-04-01 - April Fool! - Love the prank that BYC pulled today on us all. Here is my April Fool's Day joke -- I put out Pink Flamingos -- one day -- in the year. Now is this kitch, retro, tacky, nostalgic, low-brow or all of the above. When I look out the kitchen window it makes me laugh.

2016-03-19 - Baby Girl! - checked the incubator around 4AM -- and here she is. Prettier than this picture depicts. eta- infact now that I look at it -- her head is distorted by the combination of the curved plastic and the camera lense. She is actually quite symmetrical in the eyes....This view makes one larger than the other and more curved. poor little tyke - sh isn't like that.

Hopefully that isn't the only egg to hatch in this batch. The incubator count down says 1-day.
2016-03-11- Today's Picts - The Little kids hatched 3/7 and the Big kids hatched 2/14

2016-03-08 - Two Isbars - Hatched within the last two days -- two Isbars and two Legbars.

Happy 100th "International Women's Day" !!
2016-03-06 - New Guy - Just hatched this morning --

Another boy -- and zipping in that incubator right now is an Isbar egg!
2016-02-25 - Chick Love - and who doesn't have chick love?

although my dog has often gone against 2,000 pound bulls without the slightest fear in her heart, and although I would hate to ever have her against me, she is as sweet as can be, and like all of us, she has chick love.

She is a help if I need to round up a chicken or chick or corner them, and in this case she was willing to share her toy pig with the babies -- just incase they wanted to play with her. cute huh?

2016-02-18 - Swizzle Head - This Isbar chick is doing exactly what the father does -- shaking the head around in a swizzle. The photo is blurred - the motion is fast. The next picture after motion-blurr swizzle is the "I'm ready for my close-up Mr. Demille"


strike a pose

The Isbars were beginning to develop pasty-butt. I think I got it before they suffered any adverse effects. So checking the little movie star above -- I actually dropped (I think a him) from shoulder height to the cement floor. Seems totally unhurt. Hope that is going to be the case. Hope this one grows up to look a bit like the light-blue version of Isbar male.

The darker Isbar -- is the possible female in this hatch - based on behavior -- of course the two legbars - no doubt about their gender.....

Pretty with dark legs.

So the 4 are peeping contentedly -- and need to spend the time I'm away overnight without me there to check on them -- but should return Fri. night. Love the Isbars -- Hope that they will thrive.
2016-02-15 - 2 + 2 - Two Legbars -- both male and two Isbars.... one dark blue and one the silvery-light-blue. Light blue found the grow-gel. I think perhaps (although unknown with Isbars) they are all males....perhaps the darker Isbar could be a pullet?

The one that hatched first - the Cream Legbar...and the other CL male wasn't hatched by 10:30PM lastnight -- although zipped most of the way -- but hatched by 4:30AM

Considering I was expecting none-- getting 4 is good!

2016-02-14 - Happy Valentine's Day! - As of 6:30AM - 4 pips -- at 7AM - one of the Legbars hatched:

I always wonder how a chick that big can fit in an egg that small.......

ETA - 10:30 -- my first ever to hatch Isbar!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The legbar is a boy, I know for certain -- this one?? I'm going to have to wait to be certain........so cute.!

2016-02-03 - Fresh Lettuce - bought this Aero Garden years ago on eBay for super cheap -- the lights last 6months for best results and the airstone was clogged - so it did require some light refurbishing, or more accurately maintenance. It really does look inviting - -- and I think these were just packaged seeds put into a cleaned out reused pod. Magical. Yum.

2016-01-26 - 'Nuff said - set eggs in the incubator. Isbars and a few Legbars - Isbars being so difficult to hatch -- not even counting on a hatch -- but in a week will candle for development.

Meanwhile, my friend picks up two buff Orp babies at the feed store because her brave broody sat for 3-weeks but the eggs she was on didn't hatch. Cute chicks:

2016-01-20 - Spring Fever - Should say Spring Fever - big time? frosty nights - but warm sunny days -- Time to get the breeding season underway. At last - all the breeders are together as they should be -- with today the first introduction of Robin and her son/grandson Lazy Boy in an attempt to hatch chicks that would have 7/8 the same genetics that Robin has. Although her daughters from even the first generation are so like her that I sometimes need to do a double-take to see who's the real Robin..... I think she is an outstanding Cream Legbar -- bar none. Time will tell.

It's amusing that Robin & Me(d)Cre are exploring Lazy Boy's pen and Lazy Boy is in theirs.

Soon soon soon -- with any luck it will be time for the 2016 breeding season. Double yay.
Question of the day -- why do the chickens think that the feed and accommodations are always better in someone else's coop? -- This is the first day they are combined - and a poultry netting is giving them a little pasture so they are free to roam. I'm not sure how good a breeder Lazy Boy will turn out to be, but he is the tamest of all the Legbar males here. So right now they are more interested in real estate open houses than there are in making fertile eggs for me to use....but hopefully that will be sorted out before too long. Lazy Boy looks like a beachball there...he isn't quite that bad...

Chicken world - with the foreground two cattle panel walk-in pens those belonging the trio above. Wonder if everyone will sleep in the same coop tonight? Robin has just begun to lay after molt + winter - her eggs are definitely smallish -- medium sized 1.77 ounces or so. Old age? Just starting again after molt? Dunno. Can she even have chicks at 4-years old? Hope so, just for the genetics of it.

Updated the BYC member page. it had been the same since 2014 - it's been a busy 2-years (or 1 1/2).

Fowl Pox - swept through the flock. Pictures earlier of how disfiguring it was to Ice, with a before and after. Lazy Boy had it worse, at one point his eye was swollen shut - brought him into sick bay -- and the next day both eyes were swollen shut -- so he went from 1/2 blind to fully blind. Treatment that seemed to help the most was vitamins - Rooster Booster's Poultry Cell. Then eye drops in the eyes. He recovered fully and perhaps even emerged with shinier feathers due to the vitamins -- he looks good - he was finishing up molt at the time of his affliction too.

-- Then Olga had a foamy eye -- but she cured fairly quickly - This signaled the transition from 'dry pox' too close to the eyes to 'wet pox'. Dorothy very disfigured and a pox in the corner of her beak and she goes into sick bay -- and then Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana - seemed to have distress -- now two pullets in Sick Bay -- earlier, their cohort member Deidre (same coop) - had a dry pox on her comb -- so I'm sure she put the virus in all the feed and water - and gave it to the others. -- Princess died after one day of gasping for breath. So helpless to try to do anything in that circumstance. She was my best - most clearly barred Cream Legbar Pullet, and a daughter directly of Robin & Ice. The only consolation is that she didn't suffer a long time. Dorothy on the other hand suffered a long time. Whereas Princess's breathing was closed off by the wet pox, Dorothy's swallowing was closed off -- a giant pox on her tongue made it unfunctional - she couldn't close her beak due to a pox in the corner and the roof of her mouth had a pox. I read here on BYC about the heroic efforts that CasportPony put in when she had wet pox in her flock and the statement that tube feeding was the only way to save them. For me, the line is drawn at needles and I will let them die before I tube feed. For Dorothy, Veterycin seemed to ease the pain a bit -- maybe a cooling function. Vitamins for her (in the water she couldn't swallow) -- iodine on the sores via Q-tip, and Q-tip drops of water, and then water and grow-gel into the corner of her mouth -- water + vitamins, water + grow gel, The one day it occurred to me (and she was already beginning to recover by this time) that a raw egg that was somewhat mixed would be some nutrition that she could possibly get down. She had gotten down to 2 1/4 pounds -- very boney chicken. When I put her back outdoors she was up to 3 pounds. Her hatch mate Deidre has already produced her first egg -- I know Dorothy will be late, but I think she will fully recover, and grow to be a hen. So vitamins and iodine are the tools for me to use against wet pox if it ever rears its ugly head again. - Lost a lot of chicks, and pullets in the past 12-months. Very sad.

Also facing Red mites. When Dorothy was in sick bay -- red mites on her butt.... A hand full of DE smashed on her fluff and rubbed in - and under her wings - and next day -- no red mites to be seen... but I know that they are still out there...and I need to take serious action continuously to eradicate them. It's awfully wet/damp for DE, the Poultry Protector that I have been using on the chickens and the coops seems to NOT have eradicated them...so I need to get something 'stronger'. There's always something isn't there?

With the pairings - down to 5 coops - once the trio put together today decides where to sleep -- and that leaves two possibly 3 empty (capacity for new chickens) and one cattle panel hoop coop in need of finishing since last summer..... Spent an hour today untangling poultry netting - when I was just reconfiguring it. Wish there was a better way to handle that stuff.... someone out there right now is squwaking that they have made an egg -- so I'm off to see who and what.

2016-01-15 - Happy Birthday! - January 9th marked 4-years since the hatch day for Robin and Ice. They look good for a couple of oldsters:

Add to that Robin laid today -- hope she will be a prolific layer in year 4 of her career....
Here is a 3/4 Robin daughter/granddaughter. Now-a-days I need leg bands to tell some of them apart -- they have really gotten a 'look' to them.

so much that needs doing before the breeding season can go full swing...but it is getting closer. Temp today 69-degrees -- like summer!

It is amazing how well Ice recovered from fowl pox -- he was looking awfully nasty there for awhile. Then Lazy Boy got it -- and had swollen shut eyes -- spent some time in sick bay -- then Olga had foamy eyes.... and then Dorothy got Wet Pox -- and the pox on her tongue prevented eating/swallowing -- it's amazing she lived -- she was down to 2 1/4 pounds now she is back to 2 3/4 but she certainly weighed more than that before the bout of pox. Sadly Princess Charlotte Elizabeth Diana - succumbed to wet pox. It somehow closed off her air passages -- and she spent a day gasping for air -- before she died. Not only was she the source of eggs for the most of the worst winter -- but she was probably the best specimin of Cream Legbar female that I had -- and she was the friendliest of all the chickens here.

Robin's egg today was "Malibu Blue"
in Hex is pretty close to the color. Yay Robin. way to go.

2016-01-03 - fowlpox update - Unbelieveable restoration to his normal self:

see him with fowlpox on post date 2015/11/25

2015-12-29 - Youth Winners - In today's mail, the prizes: trophies, ribbons and certificates started their journey to Connecticut. Due to arrive on New Year's Eve, the rewards go to the nine 4H Club members who entered their 20 Cream Legbar chickens in the Year-End 4H Contest. Five members of the Cream Legbar Club donated hatching eggs or live chicks last spring and the 4H members raised the chicks. If you are a member of the Cream Legbar Club, look for an article in the next Newsletter.
It started in spring 2015 with 5 members of the Cream Legbar Club providing hatching eggs for 9 members of a 4H group in Connecticut. Those 5 members are the sponsors. The 4H members raised the resulting Cream Legbars and put them in a show/contest (on-line). Three people evaluated each of the 20 chickens, and then their scores were averaged. The results gave the 4H members ribbons trophies and certificates.

The prizes should arrive in Connecticut on New Year's Eve Day... what a great way to end 2015. Happy New Year to all !

2015-12-20 - Hell Chicken - Love Science, don't you? -- How about this: The fluffy chicken from hell -
Zhenyuanlong suni, aka The Fluffy Chicken From Hell

The University of Edinburgh
Link here:
They say:
Well-preserved fossils found in China turned out to belong to a close relative of the Velociraptor. They suggest that real Velociraptors (not the "Jurassic Park" versions) were feathery and fluffy -- but just as lethal as they've always been known to be.

"The real Velociraptors," a paleontologist said, "would have been feathery, fluffy, winged Chickens from Hell."

2015-11-25 - Silly Walks and Fowl Pox - How "Lazy Boy" got this feather stuck to the tip of one of the spikes on his comb - I will never know. I think it is poo Glue. It actually has been there a couple of days -- and I like the effect, so I will leave it be. (at least for the time being) -

He kind of looks like a cross between a Dr. Seuss character and a drum Major leading a band in the Thanksgving Day Parade. especially since he is known to do a goose step around his pen -- and since he is a 'minister of Silly Walks'

I bet your guy doesn't have a plume coming out of his comb! ;O) --- LOL I couldn't have gotten this effect even with superglue!

And the not as light-hearted...Ice has a nasty and ugly case of I think fowl pox

right side, fine hardly a problem,

Left side, very nasty looking and crusty, one leision even near the eye...earlobe swollen...

Happy dead-bird-day to one and all - It is when people in the USA gather together with kith and kin and surround a dead turkey placed in the middle of the table. ;O)

2015-11-18 - Into the Woods - Today was beautiful and here are a couple of snaps from the woods.

2015-11-13 - Quick Pics - just grabbed some snaps -- after all -- we are all about the chickens aren't we? ;O)


Lazy Boy (Ice Grandson) --

Blue Isbar - Sven

They are nearing the end of their molt and are beginning to look better....... good timing too -- tonight the low 40's for our temps.
2015-11-04 - Butterfly Day -





2015-11-01 - Not Prepared - Looking at the chrysalis pictured on 10-23 -- Today should have been butterfly day -- although it does appear to be developing, I just don't know. Then, suddenly I see an empty chrysalis on a magazine in the magazine rack near the pot where the chrysalis is on the milkweed. Fortunately, I'm on the phone at that moment with my sis in Oregon who hatches in her classroom -- because this chrysalis I hadn't even seen. (Shows you Suzie-homemaker doesn't live here, doesn't it?)----OMG! when did it come out?-- what can it eat? -- oh, look, there's a bloom on the milkweed plant -- how long can it go without 'nectaring'? Sis says that there must be a butterfly flying around the house someplace -- I'm saying no I would have seen it, !! - it must have come out a few days ago and then died due to lack of hydration and feed.... Eventually I see it:

A gorgeous, perfect Monarch. You can tell by the two black spots on the lower wings that it is a male. Perhaps tomorrow the other one will hatch -- and they can fly off to Mexico together -- but right now -- it is rainy and dark out. Butterfly is on the wall...... thank goodness there was an orange in the fridge.... and that blooming milkweed where the other chrysalis is -- Hope for a nice warm sunny day tomorrow. In a word 'miraculous' !

2015-10-23 - A Chrysalis - sometime between lunch time yesterday and this morning -- the caterpillar did this.

2015-10-21 - Second Chance - After the disappearance of the first two -- I found another newly hatched Monarch caterpillar -- and shortly thereafter a 4th egg hatched. This time I brought a potted Milkweed plant indoors -- and subsequently both Monarchs grew.... now the smaller one has disappeared. Do you think the larger one ate it? --- And today the Large caterpillar is making the classic 'J' - which as I understand it -- is the step to making the chrysalis. Now, the question is -- this late in the season, can a Monarch survive the weather and make it down to Mexico to overwinter.

whoops -- he just undid his 'J' and started eating leaves again -- so not yet -- must have just been taking a cat(apillar) nap. Okay -- now he stopped again. (It is like waiting for a chick to pip and zip -- sort of.

My pet caterpillar. This one about 2" long.

Okay -- well really this blog is about chickens isn't it? Here is the remainder of my Isbar flock -- after summer's raccoons killed two hens and 3-males and two females were rehomed/sold/traded. One of those rehomed males won 3rd prize in the Backyard show at the Klein ISD Poultry show.... so they are some good chickens -- but right now - they are molting.
Sven, Olga and Big Blue (who only weighs in at 3 1/4 pounds -- so she is a scrawny little inbred thing -- that is very gutzy and lays a Large beautiful green egg) :

Besides being in Molt...they are all a bit high-tailed here because there was some equipment running near by - that I'm sure made them fear for their lives.......

BYC just did a chicken survey -- and I have 15 but I think I put 14 -- wonder who I forgot to count. Three Isbars and the rest (a dozen) Legbars. I will probably reduce my percentage of Legbars and increase my Isbars -- and get down to fewer adult roosters.

And here are the legbars that got me started -- Robin & Ice (Ice is my avatar) -- This pair will be 4 years old in Jan.

Molting and rough looking -- but maybe not too bad for senior-citizen chickens -- Hoping to get another breeding season from Robin with her son/grandson and have 7/8 her genetics in any hatchlings that may result.
2015-10-13 - Here today - gone tomorrow - My gorgeous Monarch caterpillar was very fat and happy this morning when I was doing chicken chores -- and munching on his Milkweed leaf. A few hours later -- completely gone -- eaten by -- what? Maybe one of the hundreds of lizards that are around here. And there was another tiny instar about 1/2" long -- looking like the pale worm appearance of a freshly hatched caterpillar -- and it is also gone. And for now that is the end of the butterfly raising.

2015-10-12 - Monarch Butterfly - well - the hatchling of a Monarch Butterfly. This wonderful caterpillar hatched about October 3rd. The week before that -- a female Monarch landed on the leaf of a plant that I had in the check out line at the Jasper, TX Master Gardener's Butterfly Festival - if this is the exact egg that was deposited then, I don't know -- I bought 7 milkweed plants. Is it true that the egg has a 1-in-1000 chance of becoming an adult Monarch? -- this guy will be monitored and perhaps even brought indoors -- Fingers crossed this is one of those one in 1,000.

This caterpillar is on the underside of the leaf. At this stage it is about 1" long.

2015-09-23 - Autumnal Equinox - already? The days are definitely getting shorter. The chickens are eating like there is no tomorrow.....Eggs have slowed down, and it is time to decide who to pair with whom for the next hatching season. Time to say farewell to some too. 'Bye Sherry-chicken and 'Bye (soon) to Dumbledore.

2015-08-10 - Nine Eggs - It is only because she was on top the coop and entering a pet carrier I stored by setting it on the roof that I looked in and saw an egg - and she was going there to lay. So later I go back and pull 9 eggs out. It was Olga the Isbar. What a little scallywag. Today the temp is 109 with a heat index of 123. This is the hottest day, I think -- and the weather will change from here.......

Probably the 8 that came prior to today are spoiled eggs...it's been 100 and above every day of late. Here I thought that she was off laying and the whole time she was just stacking them up elsewhere.

can you see guilt written all over her face?
2015-08-03 - Best Friend - Have you heard me talk about Ginger? Have you seen Ginger? -- she is on the member page.... looking kind of fierce there. Here are some more pictures of her -- with her new favorite toy in the world:

1/2 sweet heart and 1/2 hooligan....

2015-07-17 - What's this?? - Saw on the internet how Phoenix TV station made chocolate covered strawberries in 109-degree heat....in 20 minutes.... So why not try? At the 18 minute point, a cloud covered the sun and dropped the temperature....but I think I left the strawberries in just a bit too long ot compensate:

Put that heat to work for you....LOL -- a nice science test. Chocolate covered strawberries made in a pan in the car.
2015-7-6 - Happy Birthday - Happy 80th Birthday to his holiness the Dali Lama --- It should be an international holiday fro enlightenment. http://www.joinaforce4good.org/?novideo
2015-6-15 - How symmetrical! - Just posted my 6,000th BYC post.....how do you like that?

2015-5-30 - Time flies - Here are some photos of the two grow-out cockerels that I'm watching the comparison of darker and lighter barring.

And here are the youngest 4 in the grass -- just out of the brooder

The youngest are very comical - the two older cockerels were on their own the first week of their life and taken care of while I was out of town - as a consequence, they are a bit less friendly than they would have been otherwise I think.
2015-5-19 - At Last! - Success! - sometime after 3:30 AM -- used eggs for bait. Pictures here:
https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/958900/trapping-chicken-killers/60#post_15282479 in post 69

This instead of the previous one was the one I saw crawling to the place were a hole was dug into the pens - foiled by cement paver 16x16 that night. This is the one that probably killed Splash Isbar "Ziggy Stardust" -- she was gorgeous IMO. As are the old version of Isbars. Thanks to these predators - I am down to only 1 of the original type.

I hope that this is the end of the predators for awhile.... I guess I will keep the trap baited and the game cam on at night.... Hopefully the Last raccoon for a long long time.
2015-5-14 - Buzzard Convention - These vultures are eating the remains of a raccoon that got caught last night. It's only 8.5 pounds - you can see the carcas at the base of the buzzard nearest the top of the photo. Thanks to predators, I've lost two beautiful Isbars. Two of the original Isbars - the kind with eyes that look black. One wandered away when free ranging when the rains helped the poultry netting fence sag to open. The other case was far worse, the raccoon scaled the 6' chain link into the courtyard that several pens open on - it doesn't have a roof. From one of the inner run walls, it dug under the chain link. I was amazed to find my chicken dead in the corner of the run. I'm still in disbelief/denial - and more paranoid than ever for my chickens.

It took two nights to trap this one - and I think that there is definitely another one - larger than this one, still lurking. This one got his paws smashed in the trap trying to escape:

They are so cute and appealing that they are a varmit I didn't want to shoot. Thought my chickens were safe - and it would be live-and-let-live --- Had I been more aware that the entire time I was thinking my chickens were safe this crafty varmit or a relative was just plotting how to foil the defenses I had for my chickens. I have heard of these critters escaping traps too -- So I'm lucky it didn't. I still don't feel my chickens are safe...and the electrification of the poultry netting doesn't seem to be working quite right....back to the drawing board I guess.
2015-4-23 - While you slept - Look who visited here !!

And one I really DON'T like seeing...

From where it is standing - I can tell that is one VERY large dog -- and I don't like that it is around the house (chickens are in the back yard....) It is the hound of the Baskervilles.

2015-04-15 - Big kids now! - Here is a shot today of the two cockerels. - They are just so dang cute! -- Tomorrow is 4-weeks since hatch. They are getting crests. I will really miss them when they are moved to the out doors.

2015-04-06 - First Crow - although it does sound more like a squeal of pain -- observing that there is no chick with a toe stuck in a trap - you will be able to recognize that baby crow. One of these two was trying to crow this morning - age 2 1/2 weeks.

Too cute. Hope they will retain the nice straight combs.
Here is my first attempt at making a Chinese Tea egg:


2015-04-01 - April Fool! - Ho ho ho A tiny egg that weighs .37 oz, is near OAC44 for color -- and was on the ground in the Isbar coop. Those Isbars they are always kidding around.

2015-03-28 - Left Behind - One of the great things about Cream Legbars is that when the person who came to pick up the pullet chicks took them home, there will be no surprise roosters in their flock. The chicks were beautiful babies - I hope that they grow to be productive hens for their new owners and all will live long and prosper. Meanwhile, the two boys from that hatch spent the week 'home alone' since I was out of town. They got a daily visit from the chicken sitter -- but basically they were just on their own in the brooder. Here's how cute they are now as one-week olds:

2015-03-20 - Spring Chicken - So happy to see this little girl - hatched just moments ago on the day of the Vernal Equinox. How timely~

2015-03-14- Knock me over with a feather - That old saying - when something happens that is a surprise and is exceedingly good-- 'you could have knocked me over with a feather' -- Today "Early Girl" produced an Extra Large Egg -- hey -- she is just 24 weeks old!

It is 2.293oz. Now, I'm thinking that an egg that was identical in size and shape to the Ice Cream Bar's was actually "Early Girl's" true first egg. There was a slight variation in color toward blue. And this egg is on the green-blue end of the scale of my CLs coming in at OAC151, which is quite a surprise. It is a pretty egg - and really saturated. Perhaps a double yolk and that accounts for the large size from a Pullet? The chickens are always ready to surprise me.

2015-03-09 - Novelty Egg - Today I got an egg from my Isbar pen - and it has to be about as small as an egg can possibly be. Here is is beside a penny:

weight is about 0.153oz.

Actual olives on the left, penny in the center and egg on the right. I think that she is early for April Fool's Day.
2015-03-04 - Some Snaps - Early Girl - she should be just about ready for that first egg

'Early Girl' at 23 weeks old - on the left 'Lazy Boy' and the tail of the hybrid. Little hybrid Ice Cream Bar - has been producing a nice little green egg daily for about 2 weeks now. 'Early Girl' and 'Lazy Boy' are a result of line breeding 'Robin' and her son 'Heart'.

Here's 'Annibelle' - she is 9-weeks old - and the line breeding of 'Mattie' and her father 'Ice'.

And just because he is so beautiful - the Isbar blue roo - 'Sven' aka 'Blondie'

2015-02-07 - First Day on grass - Today we got sun - at last, and the temperature climbed to 68 - The chicks are outdoors. This is the first time they haven't been in a plastic "brooder" tub or a metal watering trough with wood shavings on the bottom (like TSC chicks)----

2015-02-06 - First Egg - Always exciting to see a pullet's first egg don't you think?

Green Egg on the left is from little Isbar pullet. Right most egg is from Robin - she is back to work after her molt. Middle two are from the "show team" pullets that started laying after the Poultry Show on Dec. 6th. As cold as it seems OUT - at least the length of day is getting longer. This Isbar pullet was hatched the end of July so - 6-months and a few days. A bit better than the other Isbars that took 8 months to become layers---but then that incorporated two relocations.

The brooder 'chicks' - need to go out doors soon. The water stays clean maybe 5-minutes, the whole brooder needs to be changed out daily, the shavings in the feed - maybe 10 minutes..

You can see here - shavings in the water and feed - poo on the eco glow. -- It's time --

2015-01-23 - Diagnostic Test - more than a week has gone past since I first isolated "noNonsense" with his swollen eye. It didn't improve, it got worse. So today I took him to the diagnostic lab which meant necropsy - I figured he has suffered enough, and I coiuld euthanize him and continue as if my flock had MG - since it is so common - or I could get to the bottom of it for a conformation. And the results from the test is that he - and therefore, most likely, the rest of my flock is negative for MG. Very good news for the flock. Still to be determined if possible the cause for the swelling in the cockerel's eye. Didn't appear to be trauma, could have been a tumor -- more testing will have to occur. The big one -- they passed - No MG.

2015-01-18 - Bee Time - When I first saw this I was mystified...a couple years ago.

Bees come to the chicken feed, and gather ?? grains of pollen? Something in the feed attracts them. The weather warmed up, the bees became active, there are no flowers this early---so they go to the chicken feed. The bees will fly into the feed sack. I first saw it during a big drought on the ranch...but here -- no drought - just the opposite. So the bees are very resourceful. I hope they aren't chasing the chickens off their feed. -- I have a cockerel with a swollen eye-- maybe a bee sting?

Yesterrday I took all the compost out of the compost bin...piled it in a wire frame - it is 6-months worth of compost..and now I can start refilling the bin. Pure combination of wood shavings, chicken manure, sweet PDZ and a few yard scraps and kitchen scraps....
In the compost were some - what I have been told are soldier fly larvae - and -- guess who thought that was great? The Isbar crew - here are 5 of the 6 hens in the thick of it:

Here is a wider angle of the effort:

And here is an old saying - Red sky at morning, Sailor take warning:

2015-01-16 - Grown-up - Well not quite grown-ups, however, this little cockerel has taken on the role of flock-rooster in true Cream Legbar style.
Here is a pre-dawn shot of the brooder:

See that little guy on top (I know it is hard) -- it isn't because there isn't enough room underneath, and last night got cold into the 20's and it isn't because it is warm on top the ecoglow, he is already acting like a little rooster -- he is guardian. A friend had locked the rooster out of the coop one night (inadvertently) -- and in the morning instead of being on a tree where he would be safer, he was on top the coop where he could be closer to his hens....

Here are the 5 hatched on the 29th and 30th of Dec. --- The largest male is 1/4 pound (4oz) and the smallest is 1/8 pound(2oz). The females are 4, 3 and 2 oz. One female had an injured leg -- which seems to be normalizing and she is the smallest. This is just past the second week - and because it is cold they have spent extra time tucked under the heating element and not tearing around acting like hooligans... But now they are at the age when the waterer gets filled with shavings and poop - about 5-minutes after the last time you cleaned it.
Like it is their mission to absorb all the water in wood shavings so there is nothing to drink. Wouldn't it be great if the weather was warm - or there was a mama hen to keep them in line? Oh well 2-more weeks of broodering - most likely then time to go outside.

2015-01-12 - Dustbath 101 - In a pinch, use wood shavings:

They were squirming around so fast - that even taking a LOT of pictures only resulted in a lot of blurs -- even on 'indoors/sports' setting. The female on the left is a bit darker than the female in the center. The boy was trying to remove the wood shavings from their backs, and it was a hopeless task.

Five chicks in all - three female and two male. One male is very small -- I guess tomorrow and the next day are time to weigh them again, and one girl must have had a leg injured in the process because she does favor that leg. It is getting better - but both the smaller boy and the smaller girl spend more time under the heater and these three are out exploring and eating, drinking and being merry!

2014-12-30 - Chicks - Here are three new arrivals. Two girls and one boy!

2014-12-29 - Pips - Tomorrow is hatch day ....the 30th, however, I think that they are a tiny bit ahead of schedule - and there was even a power outage for 45 minutes a few days ago. Just now got the brooder (aka plastic tub with eco-glow in it) set up on the washer...so just about ready for the new arrivals....

2014-12-22 - Tracks - Friday and Saturday accumulated 2" of rain. Walking yesterday I encountered a perfect feline track, larger than the palm of my hand. Wishing I had a plaster casting kit to preserve it forever, and not having one, I went to the house and got my camera. Meanwhile it was getting dark.

The sand had to be in perfect condition to get the track, just like when you go to the beach and build a sand castle, wet, not too wet, and it had to be a place where the sand was clear. I could see the other paw prints (from the other 3-legs), but they were messed up. When I returned with the camera I couldn't find the spot. I did find a canine track near. Easy to tell a canine from a feline because felines have retractable claws.

The ballpoint pen, there for size comparison - it was a dog, fox, coyote, wolf? Some canine or other evident by the claws. Felines can retract claws... Here is a track I did photograph just as I was buying the property and there was a small patch of snow unmelted. This track matches what I saw last night.

This track is larger than the canine's above. Tracks are very ephemeral. Last year - there was talk of a cougar killed on the other side of town, and I thought it was probably the same one that made this track in February, thus no longer around. -- Cougar's have a range of 50-square-miles or so -- Maybe I'm on the winter end of the range, or maybe this is the mate of the one that was killed. Rumor was that the cougar weighed 200-pounds -- It could be that the cougar got larger with every re-telling of the story. 200 pounds would be beyond the high end of weights - 150 pounds would be a very large one. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cougar Among the other names are catamount, pather and mountain lion. I hope that chicken is NOT on the menu for my local cat. Of all things I would hate to kill any animal so amazing. "Lions, and tigers and bears, Oh my!"

Another year is ending - Merry Christmas to all & to all a good night!
2014-12-12 - Milestone - Today I posted my 5,000th BYC post .

2014-12-02 - Predator - This morning I found this at the back of one of the Eglu classics:

My first thought - predator, my second thought - how absent minded of me not to put the poop tray back in yesterday - then I saw the scraping in the lower right corner of the poop tray - and thought that looks more like a swipe of a paw.

so a critter was out there trying to get the chickens who remained safe inside. Yay for Eglu!

Another of the scene...shows the paw prints on the back of the Eglu--- incidentally that may be the very first Eglu that was imported to the USA....how very cool is that? Here's a close up of the paw marks............

The most common predator is a raccoon, there is also a fox - and coyotes are prevalent everywhere in the USA -- but usually won't be in the same territory as a fox. -- so probably a raccoon, maybe a fox... Thank goodness it didn't get the chickens -- I must have failed to latch the bottom - and indeed when I went to replace it after cleaning, I noticed that one of these many autumn leaves from the Oak tree was interfering with the latch on the poo tray. You can't be too careful around here.
Here is the lettuce, spinach and cabbage that are thriving in these cool temperatures:

Behind the container garden- the blue Eglu - and the inhabitants - safe and sound.

Here are some pictures of pretty chickens.

POL Legbar pullet, her sister partially visible on the right, and in the back, her brother.

Corrigan - fully recovered - white earlobes, straight upright comb...nice crest...and how angry he looks with those feathers making what appears to be jutting eyebrows.

One of the Isbar pullets was staring at me -- and I think she's in love --- but more accurately she was staring at the hat I was wearing and I think that is what was so fascinating to her - chickens are very visual as you know:

So maybe "the Look of Eagles" is what makes a pullet think a rooster looks good.... what do you think?

2014-11-20 - Bath Time - Today was great - warm, sunny, perfect... perfect day for a dust/sun bath.

Two splash, two blue Isbars--- hatched at Omega Hills Farms at the end of July. - these are the keepers - There are also 3 Isbar splash cockerels - and they are beautiful too - they will be sold.

Close up of the Blue Rooster in the above pile.... Is he a handsome youngster or what? Nice dark eye - and at that Swede profile.... "Sven" also called "Blondie".

Pretty pullet from the last batch - she is 3/4 "Robin" (daughter & grand daughter of "Robin" and daughter of "Heart") "Early Girl" is growing up.

"No Nonsense" - sadly he is going to have a crooked comb like his father had...not as bad - but still crooked and the crest is coming in on only one side of the crooked comb.

Two POL pullets, starting to ' house' in the nesting boxes....they will also be put on the market.

"Corrigan" - he had hit 6-pounds - and he was only hatched at Easter time - a big boy! In the foreground "Me(d)Cre" -- perhaps nearing the end of her molt (which she started in July)

2014-11-02 - BIG - Okay -- too big for the brooder...they were too big a while back-- but it wasn't until today that I started moving and rearranging the coops - and have sold two more pullets to start downsizing for the winter and to make room for the next set of chicks once incubation time rolls around once again.

'Early Girl' in the center and the two black chicks are the hybrids (Ice Cream Bars) and the two barred are the cockerels, one is 'Lazy Boy' and one is 'No Nonsense'. They will go outdoors tomorrow or the next day....and they will love it.

It means moving some of the 7 Isbar chicks from Omega Hills into the big coop with the 3 Isbars from Highview Farms moved out of the little coop...of the 7 Isbars; 3 Splash cockerels will be pulled out to live in a 10x10 by themselves until they are sold. (It can get confusing)--- once the 'baby Isbars' (who are bigger than my year old hens that are now laying large sized green eggs from their little 3-4 pound bodies) - o.k. once the younger Isbars are moved out - that pen can go to these brooder 'babies' -- Then in the little coop, Legbars will all be together - Robin & Ice reunited, along with their daughter Mattie. In one Eglu classic: Corrigan will hang out with Me(d)Cre and in the other one: the two pullets back from nephew (because both he and his wife are gone all the time at work, and a neighbor had dogs running wild in the neighborhood - so they were at risk) will hang out with that rooster 'Boy' -- and last but not least - in the big cattle panel coop - 'Junior' will be stuck with the old Basque hen -- For now...so population 23 down from 25 - with the removal of 'Morgan' and 'Iris' who were delivered Friday--and now Iris is 'Nervous Nellie" and Morgan is 'Iris'. It really does all make sense -- lol.

I was out of town 40 hours and came home to 11 eggs, and I have 10 dozen in the fridge...and it is November.....I guess just be ready for February when the eggs will be scarce --

At the FFA Alumni show in December I plan to offer two Legbar pairs and the three Isbar cockerels for sale.... That would reduce the chicken population considerably. It would be down to my target population and...I'm not sure how much longer Basquie has in her hourglass. I need to get photos of them all -- but right now it is dark and cold out -- so it isn't going to happen...
2014-10-21 - Toy Camera Chicks - Didn't realize that the setting was on 'toy camera', which kind of makes a vignette.

3 Cream Legbars and 2 Ice Cream Bars (Isbar x CL)

Foreground the two Ice Cream Bars.....

Early Girl just starting to get her crest....

Early Girl

Lazy Boy -

No nonsense.....

2014-10-07 - Brooder full - Full of chicks that is - I should get better photos---and I haven't weighed them yet and the oldest ones are getting OLD!! The female's wing feathers show how much progress in this short time.

The black ones are hybrids CL X Isbar - and the white head dots are the males -- and right side foreground is 'Early Girl'. She hatched early and she is outgrowing the rest. The hybrids -- are keeping up with the others in skill - jump on top of the heater and in size. They should grow to be barred with crests and they have the blue egg gene from sire and the plentiful green eggs from dam. The one boy in the picture with the dark chicks - from pip overnight - to zip out of the shell in 2 minutes flat (or less) -- His name...'No Nonsense'.

Hope they continue to do just fine...... They out grow the brooder (plastic tub) -- by the time they are ready to go outdoors...they ARE ready---but that is a few weeks away

2014-10-01 - chick update -

Bright eyes...Lazy Boy on the left and Early Girl on the right.
2014-09-30 - After Dark - Outside the chicken pens - it turns to a crypto zoo - out there. I wonder how safe the pens are?

enhanced and cropped (above)

None of these are more than the length of an olympic sized swimming pool from the back door - and even closer than that to the chicken pens.

2014-09-26 - Yum - Food is always so much better when you stand in it!! (if you are a chick).

2014-09-23 - Looking Back/Looking Ahead - Overnight -- a hatch!!! Hatch day is tomorrow. Had forgotton how very very little they are when they hatch. 'IT's a GIRL'--- So pleased to have an autosexing breed and know right now - before the baby is even dried.

My pet Easter Egger Bebe died. She was from my very first year of chickens, the lead hen. Her laying had stopped, and she only just returned to herself with her personality and antics a day or two before she died.

Here's this morning's baby

Here's a link to the old Blog -- Jottings 'a blog of sorts' - it seemed to be too large to be able to update and edit...hence this blog.