Five months ago was the last time I made a blog post. Wow. It doesn't feel that way; although I suppose being so caught up in life does that sometimes...
So, what have you missed on the Campbell Urban Homestead?
Our chicken's feathers grew in! FINALLY! We even added a few more girls to the Clan. Colonel Mustard, Early Grey, and Blu'. They are Bovan Browns. They were in much better shape than the first batch - and the original six have accepted them without hesitation!
We bought a dog to guard the chickens. Our intent was to create a series of firewalls that anything would have to penetrate if it wanted to eat the hens or the eggs... First, they would have to make it through our fencing... past the dog... past the run, and lastly, in the coop itself. Our dog is half basset and half collie. He is lazy inside... he just kind of lays there and does nothing... and - He is active outside! All in all he is a nice dog... unfortunately, he doesn't really guard anything - so he has transitioned into an inside pet and sometimes stays outside with the girls.... He was staying outside sometimes unattended - and we noticed some eggs being crushed a while back. We couldnt figure out when it was happening or by what means.... finally we found the dog in the coop... He has a taste for eggs. *sigh* So if he is on guard duty, we have to put him on a chain, that can reach the run door, but not inside the coop... otherwise he has to be inside with us. It is unfortunate - but he is a pretty nice dog and does love the kids. So he has that going for him!
E's chicken, Meatloaf died.... she had fly-strike... we tried to aggressively clean out the maggots and the wound. It was really bad. She did not make it - and E was heart-broken... So our ranks went from 6... to 9... and now down to 8... That leaves: Nugget, Pollo, Charlie, Spinnie, Ginger, Blu', Colonel Mustard, and Earl Grey.
So while the death of Meatloaf was sad... we do have some life springing back to our place! We have our garden which went from meager - to outrageously blooming - to struggling in the heat... and we have CHICKS! How was this accomplished without a rooster? How did a virgin birth happen in our own very back yard? Well. I will tell you. But first. Some back story!
This summer we visited family and friends up North, and had house sitters. Before we left, Pollo started brooding. I had heard of this... but did not think it could happen when there are no roosters around to help. I was mistaken. It can happen. It did happen. Pollo was DETERMINED to hatch not just her own eggs... but everyone else's eggs and even the ceramic eggs to boot! We tried breaking her of this habit, but it didn't work... She is nicknamed Loco Pollo for a reason! She fluffed her feathers and puffed out her chest and tried to hatch anything she could lay on. So; we left for vacation and let our house sitters know she was insane and when we came back - she was still brooding.
'Sir I' had Day Camp with Cub Scouts - and I decided while he was away I would talk with some other chicken ladies and try to gather some advice. I spoke to Yochannah and Lia about different techniques to get her to stop... when Lia suggested I give her what she wants. It will be great for the kids to learn about eggs and chickens and see life hatching before their very eyes! So... with her help, I decided to get some fertilized eggs and I was going to give them to Pollo - WITHOUT telling the Hubs or the kids... we were going to have chicks and everyone would be surprised! Pollo would prove us all wrong. She would have victory. She WILL hatch her eggs! And she did.
On June 22nd we gave Pollo her eggs - and by that point Lia's hubby had spoiled the surprise for mine (some weird macho "gotta look out for my friend being tricked" feelings were happening). So while Mr. J spoiled the surprise, my Hubs was actually totally cool with it - and the kids got to know too. We of course watched The Magic School Bus so we could see how eggs are made and how chicks are born! (It's a classic. I highly recommend.) And we got out the calendar and counted out twenty-one days.... We knew the chicks would have to hatch this week - and TODAY was hatching day! We started off with five eggs... and ended up with four that remained un-crushed and uneaten during the three week period. Because they are so new, I did not take pictures or handle them - but I will very soon. We have two yellows, one speckled, and one black. Pollo is bonding with her adopted babies... and we are so excited to see these little guys grow!
Now... we have to chick-proof the coop and run. They will need ramps or steps to be able to get in and out of the nest, in and out of the coop... in and out of the run. So tomorrow, besides cooking, cleaning and running errands. I need to fashion some ramps for these little guys and try and make their new life as comfortable as possible.
Shalom From The Campbells! Yah Bless.