Friday, October 30, 2009

Feathers feathers everywhere.

Yes, I am still alive! I have been spending a lot of my time away from the farm at craft shows this fall. Finances have dictated that I redouble my efforts to boost income this year, so nearly every weekend from now into December is booked solid. I will be in Ottumwa, Iowa this Sunday. This is a new venue for me so it will be fun to see some new faces. The 14th of November, I will be in Dubuque, Iowa. The 22nd takes me to Iowa City. Thanksgiving weekend I will be in Rock Island, Il. Lastly, I will be back in Des Moines on the 4th, 5th, and 6th of December.
Last weekend I was In Cedar Falls, Iowa, along with 350 other vendors at the UNI dome. This is a huge show that I do every year and it is always a lot of fun. Exhausting, but fun.

Enough about me, lets talk chicken.
I wanted to show you how big the Easter-Egger chicks have gotten since I last posted about them. OK, this photo is not exactly painterly, but I just wanted to point out one of the things that I love about the Easter-Eggers...the wide array of colors and patterns in their plumage. Since they are bred for the blue-green egg color and not for conformity to any breed standard, it is always a surprise to see what color combinations you end up with.
As of yet unnamed chicken.
'Black Beard'........yeah, when you have 60 chickens we'll see how good you are at coming up with names!
'Robin'....'cause she looks like...ummm, a Robin...only blue.
And while we are at it, here are some other girls that you may remember. They arrived here earlier this summer and I sneakily used some broody hens as foster moms to raise them. Incidentally, there is a huge difference (in my flock anyway) between the chicks that were raised by foster moms, and the chicks that we 'hand-raise'.....or as we like to say, 'raise in the swimming pool'. Let me rephrase that-raised in a wading pool filled with wood shavings...that is a much better visual. I digress. The chicks that we raise in the pool every year are so much more friendly that my experimental foster babies. So friendly, in fact, that they fly onto my head every time I walk into the coop and want to ride on my shoulders as I do chores. It's not always a good thing, especially if I am not dressed in poop-proof clothing. I'm just sayin', it's what happens. Also it is not nearly as cute when they are full grown and want to go for shoulder rides.

Here is one of the Barred Rocks from the summer batch.

My Blue Cochin pullet.

As I mentioned earlier, I have about 60 hens right now, so one might think, 'hey that's a lot of eggs'. Unfortunately, that is not the case, my hens are moulting. When chickens moult ( lose their feathers and grow new ones), they stop laying eggs temporarily until the new feathers are all grown in. Moulting, in combination with the shortening daylight hours, has really taken a toll on egg production. I have been gathering about 8 eggs a day. Eight. 8. E.I.G.H.T. 60 hens. Eight eggs. Many egg producers put artificial lighting in the coops to keep the hens laying throughout the fall and winter, I don't bother with that, I just allow them to have a little rest and do what their bodies are telling them to do naturally...but, seriously girls, this is how you reward me? EIGHT?

I neglected to get any full-body pictures of the hens with their tattered, moulting feathers, but Charles Bronson is moulting as well, and although he looked much worse at one time, he will demonstrate the improved version of the look. Really there aren't many things uglier than a moulting chicken.....maybe a wet cat.

Here Charles models his Rastafarian beaded dreadlock look.

And a close-up of new pin feathers poking through.

Sorry....too much?

By the way, I have a friend who desperately "needs" a Mottled Houdan rooster (standard size). REALLY, it's not for me. If anyone has one........


tbsomeday said...

you have such a cool mix of chickens!
great pictures!
i have two grey/tan easter-egger roosters--not real helpful :)
they are very tough birds though--and they are bantams--so funny to watch strut around--half the size as the rest but in charge

good info about molting so i won't freak out when mine go through the same

8 eggs??
sometimes my 3 ducks will put out six in one day!
(usually two or three)
my husband eats a lot of duck eggs

on the flip side--what do you do when they are producing well--oh my--that's a lot of eggs to gather!

have you ever thought to let a broody chicken hatch some?

Christine said...

LOL, you always crack me up. Mine all look just as bad and are laying about the same.

Juliann said...

Wow, that's a huge fiber event! Looks like fun. I'm afraid I'd be buying more than I sell. :)
Love the chicken pics, everyone looks happy & healthy. I love chicken pics almost as much as sheep pics.

Shula said...

I really like the variety with the easter eggers too, although one of mine lays pale pink eggs the other 2 lay blue and green. The cochin is very beautiful, I'm glad I can't fit more in more coop or I'd be a collector lol. I hope you get more eggs soon.

Unknown said...

Well, I am glad to hear that my chickens are not the only ones on the egg strike...I have 20 hens and getting one egg every 3-4 days....pathetic!! Don't they realize this is prime cooking season now? Are you sure its not YOU who wants the rooster???

Rayna said...

Sorry, don't know anyone who raises Houdans. Good luck in your search though :) Nice photos :) LOVE the standard cochin...I <3 my gentle giants :)

Claire MW said...

Hi Corinne! 8 eggs is great! I am getting 2 or 3, from almost as many hens. Sigh. I love your blue cochin!

Ferdie has been totally wonderful since he got here. He has mingled with the rammie boys and nobody has head butted. Wilder, our Nubian-Nigerian dwarf buck goat mix, is also in with those boys, since he is so tiny. He tried rubbing his head on Ferdie's rear haunches. That was not appreciated apparently. He's been munching hay, sniffing the air, and generally behaving perfectly. What a gentleman - we love him! Thanks again!

Claire MW said...

Oh, also, which event is the Des Moines event in early December? I would probably go to that!

Rosie said...

That is a load of chickens! Wish we had something similar near us!

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