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Babies, babies, and more babies

7 Jul

Being the only chicken lover in the family, I started this blog to have somewhere to go to “talk” about my girls.  Somehow I got sidetracked and started talking about other things and well, went a little south of chickens-in-the-garden.  What do you do when that happens?  You start another blog to talk about all the things that sidetracked you from the first blog.  Lord help me I now have more than one blog,  ssssooooo let’s get back to the chickens in the garden.

Three years ago, I started out with a flock of 6 Dominique.  That was after all, the chicken of choice for my husbands mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, so I figured I would follow in their footsteps.  Then I rescued a Barred Rock from the neglectful hands of my neighbor and named her Georgia. (6 + 1 = 7)  A year later I went in the feed store “to buy feed” and came out with 6 Rhode Island Reds. (7 + 6 = 13)  I just couldn’t resist those fuzzy little balls of cuteness!  My husbands co-worker donated a nice Buff Orpington Rooster bringing the grand total to 14.  Due to my own stupidity we lost 1 RIR to a raccoon, do a head count next time you close the coop door at night! (13)  Much to my surprise Georgia decided to go broody 5 days after we started our incubator with 20 eggs inside.  Between the incubator and Georgia we ended up keeping 8 more hens and 1 rooster. (13 + 9 = 22)  We also put 7 roos in the freezer.  Last October a friend called about a flock of hens that had been abandoned by some irresponsible person and we took in 6 Leghorn. (22 + 6 = 28)  Two more random deaths due to unknown causes, which I attribute to 1 being egg bound and 1 to being ravaged by our 2 male Peking ducks which are now also in the freezer. Bringing the grand total to 26!

You would think that would be enough and I would be satisfied with my flock and leave them to do their chicken thing.  But no, not so.  I began talking to other farmers with chickens, comparing notes, egg size, temperament.  Just for fun I began researching other breeds, where they came from, dual purpose vs. fancy, the rare, the endangered, the watch list.  In-between planning the latest wedding, tending our huge garden and taking our produce to the Farmers Market I was dreaming of fuzzy little balls of fluff.  I placed multiple orders online only to delete them before they were completed, knowing that if I got baby chicks before that wedding I would be in the dog house for sure.  I mean come on 26 chickens should be enough for any “small” farmer right?

Then one day on FB several weeks before the wedding, a post slapped me right upside the head!  A small farmer, not unlike myself, was down to 1 hen and looking for more.  They had ordered baby chicks but couldn’t wait 24 weeks to once again have those wonderful yard eggs.  Did anyone have any hens they were looking to get rid of?  Hhhmmm, I thought, better to rehome a few of my older hens than have to send them to freezer camp.  I sent a message, offering very honestly, 5 (3-year-old) Dominique who were now laying approximately every other day, and 3 (2-year-old) Rhode Island Reds also laying every other day.  I would, of course, have to keep Georgia our broody Barred Rock rescued from the neighbor, Beatrice the Dominique who keeps coming onto the back porch to let me know what everybody else is up to, the 1 RIR who sweetly let’s me take eggs from under her (name to come), the EE’s who are still young and the Leghorn who are younger still.  If they took me up on my offer baby chicks here we come!

It took a lot of nail-biting not to place my order the day they accepted my offer.  Between their schedule and my schedule is was another 9 days before they could come pick up their new hens.  After they left I immediately called the hatchery and placed my order for 12 Buff Orpington day old pullets and 1 Buff Orpington day old male, with a scheduled delivery date for the week “after” the wedding.  Okay, my “baby fix” was about to be met, and all was now well with the world.

Two days later on Father’s Day weekend newly married (October 2012) daughter #3 presented her father with a teeny tiny pair of garden gloves and a teeny tiny set of garden tools.  Yep, you guessed it, we’re having a baby (due Feb 2014).  Yippee!

In all the excitement of Father’s Day weekend I neglected to notice that Georgia had apparently decided there were not enough hens in the coop and was setting on eggs!  Okay didn’t we go through this last time I ordered day old chicks?  I marked the eggs (6) so that I could remove any new arrivals as soon as they were laid and made a mental note that she would have to be separated soon.

Exactly 4 days “before” the wedding of daughter #4, daughter #3’s had her first prego appointment.  A sonogram was done to confirm the pregnancy and lo and behold WE’RE HAVING TWINS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  I just might be in shock.

The wedding was awesome, and now we are officially “done with weddings”!  The honeymooners are back in Texas after an exciting adventure filled week roaming the mountains of Colorado.  The chicks arrived on July 3rd (a Wednesday) after spending ALL day at the post office because somebody transposed my contact numbers, this after being shipped out on Sunday!  We lost 1 pullet a few hours after they arrived and another the next day  :(.  Thankfully at the moment the remaining chicks are doing great!  Here they are shortly after they arrived:Buff babiesAren’t they adorable!

Then on July 8th Georgia presented me with this:Sweet Georgia girlI have since removed the nesting container so that junior can get in and out easier.  As of an hour ago Georgia is still fluffed out over the remaining 5 eggs, so apparently somebody else is trying to hatch out.

While I was writing this post I canned 10 jars of new potatoes, 9 jars of chili jam and I have 4 jars of jalapeno jelly in a water bath waiting on the timer.  As soon as that jelly gets done I might have to go out to the coop to see is Georgia has any more babies running around.

Thank you Lord, I am in baby heaven!  Not only have You blessed us with an abundance of fuzzy baby chicks, You topped all that off with a set of baby TWINS!!!