Eggy, or the Egger Baby, is the last of Pavelle’s chicks.

He/she is the egg-child of Padme the Easter Egger and … well, I thought Pip, but now I’m not too sure about that.

So… what is it about Eggy that makes me suspect Pip might not be the father?

In short… color and personality.

Eggy here is a bright buff yellow, with only small EE cheeks.


So… mostly yellow chick with a yellow and black/brown momma.  Two potential fathers.

One rooster had an all yellow momma and a white papa?

The other rooster had a red momma and a white papa?

Going off looks alone, I’d have to guess Felix is Eggy’s baby daddy.

And then, there is personality.  Eggy is high strung, flighty, hard to catch, does not really relax in my hands like the other two do.

This describes Padme, yes, and could be an Easter Egger trait.  But it always describes Felix.  A lot.

Pip, not so much.  He didn’t like me pick up but when I did, he settled in because he trusted me.

Feather Butt trusts me.  Mini-Pav mostly trusts me.   Eggy is a frantic spaz.

So, based off personality, is this Pip’s chick? I don’t think so, but anything is possible.

Here is a recent shot of Momma and babies (and a fake egg that was in the nest with them).  They are 5 weeks old now and practically as big as she is!

They are also almost fully feathered out.

I believe that Pavelle will be pulling away from them soon.  Going back to doing Hen Things and not Momma things.  Today she seemed to be giving them space.  Still hanging with them – or allowing them to hang with her – but not really showing them things like she has in the past.  Letting them do their own thing.

Pavelle’s wee babies are growing up now.

Broody Watch 7 – The Abby Edition

Yes, that’s right dear readers!  Our very special and most beloved Abigail has finally gone broody, after teasing me all spring and making Claire take the first plunge.  Sneaky little Abby girl.  🙂

Actually, she went broody Thursday of last week, but I had her sitting on a couple of plastic eggs while I waited for a special delivery of hatching eggs. See?  I was promised by my DH that if Abby went broody again, I could give her hatching eggs procured from somewhere off the farm.  I am a member of a chicken group on FB, where people post pictures of their chickens and also sometimes sell eggs/chickens, as well as provide tips and how-tos.  I’ve learned a lot from them.


I was able to purchase hatching eggs from another member of that group, a nice lady named Donna.  All Abby had to do was hold tight and wait until the package arrived.

The box came in the mail this morning! I picked it up at 8:30 am.
The eggs were all snug in a nest of newspaper…
… and wrapped in their own personally bubble wrap cocoon. Despite the precautions, there were three broken ones. 😦
The eggs – chocolate Orpington, Sulmlater, Pavlovskaya, and Easter Egger. Total 11 eggs.
I added two eggs, which Abby herself laid on Wednesday and Thursday afternoon, before the urge to hunker in and sit tight overtook her. This gives Abby a total of 13 eggs.
I didn’t actually think they’d all fit underneath her, but she just made soft little bucking noises and wiggled around until she got comfy… and then closed her eyes.

Things to note:

  • Thirteen eggs is a LOT more that I gave Abby the last time she went broody and more than I gave Claire, either.  If anyone else decides to go broody in the next week or two – I’m looking at you Penelope – I fully intend to just sneak a couple, two or three, out from under Abby.  That way, the (hypothetical) new broody won’t stay broody long and Abby will have some room on the nest for her!  We’ll call it sharing the love.  🙂
  • I still don’t own an egg candler, so I still won’t be able to check and see how many are viable.  Not too worried about Donna’s eggs, but Abby’s sweet little eggs are questionable.  I have  2 roosters (one of which doesn’t get much action) and 12 hens.  The eggs I eat every day seem to be mostly all fertilized, so I’m giving Abby’s eggs an 80% probability.
  • I still owe everyone the Week 15 & Week 16 posts for the Mystery Bin girls and their brooder mates.  I have the pics, but just haven’t started it.  We’ve been busy in the rest of real life.  I’ll get it done soon.
  • I also need to weed the garden soon.

I think that’s everything!  Estimated hatch date is July 13th, 21 days from today.   I am unsure if the day they were laid will hold any bearing on when they hatch.  But they were all put under her today.


Comparing Week(s) Two

Well, it’s Week 2 with Claire’s Wee Ones, and I thought, since her babies are technically the 5 round of babies I’ve raised here on the farm, I’d do some comparing. So here’s EVERYONE at the age of Two Weeks.

Golden Comets (gold sexlinks), age 2 weeks
Rhode Island Reds, age 2 weeks

Dani and Eugenie’s momma is an RiR. Their papa is one of the Comets.

Pip, Week 2. Pip is Dani & Eugenie’s older half-brother.
The ‘Mystery Bin Girls’ – no relation to Claire’s wee ones, but we think they are some kind of sexlink as well. So… potentially same breed as papa?  Or simialr breeding?
The Australorps. No relation, but cute as heck!


The Buff Orpingtons.

And finally…

Dani and Eugenie aka The Wee Ones
Dani and Eugenie aka The Wee Ones

I’m looking for similarities.  Dani looks an aweful lot like the RiRs at this age.  Eugenie is more white like the Comet boys (despite the fact that Eugenie has a smaller, almost non-existent comb and that screams “hen”).  Neither of them looks much like Pip, despite sharing a father and their mothers all being RiR.

There is, I suppose, a slight possibility that Pip might actually be the papa to one or both of them.  that would make whichever one 3/4 RiR (Dani?) … BUT… Pip has (I’ve mentioned before) had a tough time mating with the hens because they all have found him incredibly annoying.  I know of three hens he’s successfully mated with.  The rest, he either got beaten and chased by the hen in question or Dots chased him away.

I don’t really think Pip is the papa.  But that’s a story for another day.


Broody Watch #2

After two days of trying, I finally got the video I took of Claire’s latest outing from the nest onto Youtube.

I can’t help but compare Claire’s broodiness to Abby’s, as before this, Abby was my only point of reference.

When Abby was broody, she was very ‘zoned’ or in what I call her ‘broody trance.’  She rarely got up on her own, and I had to carry her out at least once each morning and each afternoon, so she could take care of the personal matters of eating and pooping.  She wouldn’t even notice when I did it, but sit there in one spot for several minutes, softly buck-buck-bucking to herself.  When she finally snapped out of it, she’d run for the food, the water and back to her nest as quickly as she could.  Only once or twice did she do more than that.  Dirt bathing once on a sunny day.  Abby loves her dirt baths!  But no, the drive to hatch her babies (baby, in the end it was just Pip) was so strong, it eclipsed everything else.  She lost a LOT of weight, especially towards the end.  She still hasn’t gained it all back, really.  Which isn’t a bad thing.  It just means she is isn’t overweight in any way.

Claire is not so entranced yet, even into her second week of broody.  She still screams when people (or, other chickens) come into the coop to lay eggs.  When she leaves the nest, I am treated to spectacles like the video below.  She runs around, bucking loudly (not soft at ALL!) to announce to the world that she is there and they’d all better get out of her way.  At the morning treat dish (it’s not really treats.  I give them 2 scoops of feed + a 3/4 scoop of scratch to start their morning and everything else is what they can forage, and there’s 12 of them, so no one gets a lot)…. as I was saying, at the morning treat dish, she guards it closely, putting her foot in the feed if someone crowds too close.  She yells. She puffs up, flares her tail feathers and spreads her wings wide to make herself look huge and scary.

The morning I took this video – Wednesday, I think – Dots happened to be in the run when she came out.  He hasn’t seen her in a while, as he’s been preoccupied with grandstanding so the Littles roosters know he’s the Boss.  That takes up most of his time now.  So he hasn’t seen her.  Well, he tried to woo her… and… scream… yell… puffed up feathers… Claire does NOT want a man right now.  Sorry, Double Dots.

She’s got one week left of sitting on the nest before the eggs hatch.  If they hatch.  I am still hands-off.  No candling, and the only handling I do is to remove the extra eggs from her nest.  These are eggs she either steals from nearby nests or ones hens lay while Claire is outside.

“Lockdown” begins on Saturday.  That is ‘Day 18’ for the earliest two of the four eggs.  Wednesday the 11th being the day she committed to sitting for real.  When this happens, I intend to feed her scrambled eggs once a day, so she can stay on the nest as much as possible over those last three days.

I did that with Abby, too, but she really, really needed it.  She was so out of it the whole way through her broody that by the time her final three days happened, I was beginning to worry.  (Did I mention she lost waaaay too much weight?)

I’m not seeing where Claire is losing tons of weight, but, as I observed before, she isn’t as entranced as poor Abby was.  But I’m still preparing to make her scrambled eggs for the weekend.

The Busier I Get, the More I Forget

So… I totally forgot the Week-aversaries this past week.

Here are Peanut (representing the Mystery Bin Girls, as always), an Unnamed Australorp and an Unnamed Buff Orpington.


Peanut and her Mystery Bin sisters are turning 5 Weeks tomorrow.   The Australorps and BO’s are now 4 1/2 weeks.  I chose to compare them this way to show how they match up for size.  Peanut is average-sized for the older ones.  There are a couple smaller than her.  This Australorps are all around the same size-ish, and the BO is one of the smaller ones.  There’s one that’s as big as Peanut!!!

Next I may change things up and take individual pictures of one group of them.  Maybe we can play a round of ‘hen or roo’ at the 5-week mark and see how many we get right as things progress.

I spaced off pictures of Pip this week.  He’s 19 weeks old.  It might be time to stop celebrating his week-aversaries now. However, if you’re interested… here are Dots and Pip (father & son) at the same age, roughly.


Pip, of course, is a cross between the sexlink (Dots) and a Rhode Island Red hen.  I believe they have the same mannerisms and facial features.  Even if they don’t the same coloring, Pip still reminds me a LOT of his papa.  They are both handsome lads.  🙂

Mystery Bin Girls, Week 3


Here we have… Candy, Stacey, Matilda, Peanut, Lola & Scarlet… aka the Mystery Bin Chicks.

At Week 3, they’re looking a little scruffy as their feathers come in.  Peanut is still my diva, still the boss.  I foresee trouble when we integrate because my Abby Girl is the boss of the older hennies.  Peanut is going to have fall in line or suffer the consequences.  Abby doesn’t even guff from our rooster!

Spring Chicken Projects

Tomorrow is March 1st, and I have Spring on the brain… spring flowers, spring chicks, spring projects…

Yes, I said spring chicks.  Our local Tractor Supply will have chicks in starting this week and I intend to go and take a look … and see what they have.   I know, I know… I said I would much rather let one of my hens go broody and raise chicks than raise them in the brooder and have another painful integration process.  BUT… I want to get a few more of the gold sexlink chicks, if they have them.  And now that I know what we’re looking for, I hope to get little hens.  So…  we’re thinking 6 -10 chicks, no more, and then if Abby (or anyone else) goes broody over the spring/summer, they can do their thing, too.

But ‘new chicks’ leads me to our first spring project — a revamp of the dreaded brooder box. This is our brooder box.

Dad built it a few years ago to raise pheasants in.  It had a wire bottom and … I’m not sure what he used to keep them in, because it didn’t have a top.

Last year, DH stapled that square wire over half of it, and we covered it with boards and a sheet of window glass to keep the chicks in and predators out.  He also replaced the wire bottom with plywood.  It was a pain in the ass, and very make-shift.

This year, I’ve asked for an actual door that opens and closes on hinges.  Two of them, in all honesty. One on each side of the middle beam (you see there).  This, so I can open each side and have better access to the chicks, and for cleaning.

I spent part of yesterday cleaning it out and vacuuming with the shop vac.  DH framed it up and started the lids, but then we ran out of hinges and latches, so it was off to Lowes.

He’s at work to day, so not finished yet, but I took the time to scrub the sides and bottom with white vinegar.  It has time to dry and air out.  I’m hoping we’ll be finished soon.

The Fence is our other on-going chicken project.  The ground is still too solid to put up the fence, but we’re prepping by mapping out where we want it to go and discussing things like ‘how tall’ and ‘where will the dirt bathing area go.’  With the talk of new chicks, Dad had the idea to divide the run so that the new Littles can use the run and not get attacked by the Big Girls.  I’ve also put in a request for ‘shade tents’ so that they have little places to go and hide from the sun.  I’m thinking a triangular design, something light-weight that I can move around, but won’t blow away (hopefully).  This because, once the fence goes up, we’ll be taking away some of their favorite shadey areas out front of the barn.  Like the grain silo, or under DH’s truck… or My Girl’s car, which they have also been using as a place to dirt bath.  They are sooo going to hate the Fence.

My last Chicken Project (also on-going) is Chicken Fodder.  I mentioned it a few weeks ago.  I’ve started soaking the seeds today, and I’ll have a post next week sometime, to show you all how it went.  Wish me luck!

Lastly… here’s Pip’s Week 13 pic.

Pip & Little Dude hamming it up together.

EtA: Wordpess just told me… this is my 100th post on this blog. Yay!!!


Yesterday, I watched as two of girls fought each other over the exact same laying box.  Never mind that I have 36 laying boxes, and they were the only two girls in need of boxes.

It was an amusing (for me) but also frustrating (for them) battle of wits, which I don’t know who won because I gave up watching in favor of getting breakfast.

Meanwhile, in the coop…

Snow, Sun, and a Couple More Weeks With Pip

Well, it’s been a busy couple of weeks here at our house, and while I had pictures to share, I just haven’t had time to share anything.

We’ve had snow, which meant my not-so-winter-hardy winter hardy birds spent most of the last week and a half in the coop.  They went outside just long enough to get a breath of fresh air, look at the snow on the ground and rush back into the coop with a very definitive ‘oh heck no! Our toesies are COLD!’   Because forbid their toes are cold.

Yesterday, after spending most the week indoors, it warmed up enough for them to come outside. They explored, hunted for food, and got in some dirt bathing.

By the end of the day, most of the snow was gone. It still is, so there’s mud and some green stuff to peck at. They’re happy campers… or would be if there was more bugs.

Last Saturday was Pip’s 6 week-aversary. I took pictures, and yeah, forgot to post them.


So much for having a buffy-colored chicken, huh? He’s turning into the same golden red as the sexlinks. It’s kind of cute because he looks more like his gold sexlink momma rather than a Rhode Island Red. If I hadn’t been present when Madison laid Pip’s egg, and wrote her name on it right away, I would never have guessed.  The egg layer is a dark red and there is almost no dark red on Pip at all.

Today marks Week 7.

Pip is growing, getting bigger. He’s now a little over a 3rd the size of Abby, his momma.  He’s losing a little more of the residual baby fuzz on his neck.  That’s really the only spot he still has some.  And… I’m not sure if you can tell from the Week 7 photo, but his comb is getting pinker.  Same with his wee little wattles.  I’m holding strong that I think he is truly a ‘he’ and not overly big she.  Time will tell, though.

Following in the same vein as my last post, Abby and Pip are still breaking down my ‘understanding’ of how ‘things are supposed to work.’   EVERYTHING I’ve read in various forums and places have all said that by the 6th week, a mother hen will leave her chicks to start hanging out with her flock again, and start ignoring them in an attempt to ween them and transition back into being a laying hen again.

At week 7, I see NONE of that type of behavior at all between Abby and Pip.  Pip is still Abby’s constant shadow in the barn yard and coop.  If I pick Pip up and walk away, Abby follows me.  If I pick Abby up and walk away, Pip follows.  They sleep together still, although it’s getting harder for Pip to sleep under her wings.  I’ll have to get a picture tonight and show you.  It’s amusing.

I did notice today that Pip was straying away from her a little, but never more than a foot away from his momma at best.

I’m wondering if this due to Pip being an only child, or Abby’s first hatch, or because it’s winter and keeping him close means Abby has a buddy to cuddle with when it’s cold?  I don’t know, honestly, but the only thing I do know is that she is definitely not shoving him away in the manner most the chicken forums said she would.

Now, seeing as today is a beautiful sunny day, I’d like to end with some pics of the chickens enjoying it.

5 Weeks …

… aka “What I’ve Learned in 5 Weeks of Watching Abby Raise Her Chick.”

Yesterday was Pip’s fifth week-aversary, and I had a lovely post written out, but the WordPress app on my Kindle Fire ate it.  It wouldn’t let me post it and I had to exit the app… only to find it didn’t save either.  All those words lost…




… but I’ll start by wishing Pip the customary ‘Happy week-versary!!!” and showing off how cute he is.  Because… he’s cute.  😉


I mean really? Just look at this little guy! Adorbs!

Now to the subtitle of this post…  I’ve never claimed to be an expert on chickens.  That’s what this blog is about, right? Me learning as I go and you, my small but encouraging audience, following along with me.  Most of what I’ve learned has been gleaned from other blogs, Backyard Chickens, and a really awesome Facebook Group I found… and a LOT of observing my own chickens, trial and error.  A lot of trial and error.

This adventure of Broody Abby and her Baby Chick has challenged pretty much everything I ‘thought I knew’ about raising chicks.  It really, really has.

When we first brought the sexlinks home from Tractor Supply in their box, I had no clue what I was doing.  I had a brooder box and brooder lamp my father had used to raise pheasants a few years prior, a feeder, a waterer, and a lot questions.  I answered them by buying a couple of chicken raising guides and jumping online to suppliment.

I followed the guidelines I found in those sources to the letter.  My chickens had a brooder lamp until 6 weeks (7. really because I read they needed it until the last of their baby fuzz was gone an couple of the chicks still had baby fuzz on their heads until 7 weeks).  I didn’t let them outside until almost ten weeks, except for short, supervised visits in which I sat with them and watched them freak out over every little sound, the blowing of the wind, other birds flying over head.  I followed the feeding chart on the back of their feed bags for an idea of what to feed them at what age.  And when we added the Rhode Island Reds, I kept them separated and integrated them once I thought the RIRs were big enough to hold their own against the sexlinks who were 3-weeks older but lightyears bigger than them.

All of this… much like a new mother trying not to ‘screw up their baby.’

And then there is Abby with Pip.   Abby is a first time mother, too, but unlike me, she isn’t following anyone’s rules or guidelines but her own.

Pip had never seen a brooder box or a brooder lamp.  He sleeps cozy. nestled under her wings.  I expected her to keep him there for a couple of days, but from he very beginning, she always encouraged him to come out and eat, and after the first week, she encouraged him to go outside and play and explore.  In his first 5 weeks, Pip has gone outside almost every day, learned to scratch in the ground for food and bugs, and when he gets cold, they go back into the coop, and he snuggles under her wings for maximum warmth.

He has chick starter, yes, I keep his dish stocked… but he also eats the bugs, slugs, seeds and stuff Abby has been teaching to dig up when they go outside.  He also eats the scratch and seeds, oatmeal, scrambled eggs, fruit, etc I feed the others as treats.  Why?  Because Abby eats it, and if she decided it’s good for him, she buck-buck-bucks until he tries it.

He isn’t separated from the rest of the flock.  He lives with them, and now, at 5 weeks, is not afraid to move among them.  They haven’t been aggressive or harmful to him.  They seem to tolerate him just fine, in fact.

It is, in short, NOTHING, like raising day-old chicks in a brooder.  It is NOTHING like getting my sexlinks and RiRs to co-habitate without killing each other.  And also, NOTHING a book or a website could prepare me for… because it was natural.  A hen and her chick doing what instinct tells them.

Granted, the harder parts are yet to come.  Pip is entering his tween-stage, and in a few weeks, he will become an adolescent rooster.  There may still be scrimmages between him and Dots.  I hope not, because for now, he seems to know his place in the flock.  But time will tell… and because of Abby’s poor timing in going broody right before winter, all of this will come to pass in the dead of winter when they are confined to coop (mostly of their own choice because they don’t like to have cold toes) and close quarters.

It could get interesting in my coop in the next couple of months, people.

But what I take away from the last 5 weeks is that this is how I want to raise my chicks… with a momma to sit with them, teach them and protect them.  Abby has been amazing with Pip.  If she goes broody again, I will definitely give her eggs to sit on!