It’s been quite the Circle-Of-Life around here lately… we recently lost two of our chickens, Buckwheat and Dot, to egg peritonitis, a complication of older age in chickens. We were able to give them a few extra happy months, thanks to veterinary care of both the professional and home variety — you can read about Buckwheat’s adventures here, and the blog we referred to for home treatment is here. It’s hard to see them go, but I’m glad the girls had some extra time to chase bugs and dig for worms outside; they so clearly knew they were loved and well-cared-for. Wherever they are now, we hope they’re enjoying all the peanut-butter and jelly sandwiches, potato salad, sliced bread, and cooked rice they can eat…
But with the sad news comes the happy… and what could be happier than…
A few weeks ago, we gave some eggs to our friend Bob, better known to the Kindergartners of Bowman School as “Mr. D.” He hatches a batch of chicks with his class every spring, and, being a friend (and fan) of Timmy the Rooster, Mr. D suggested we bring in a few eggs to add to the incubator. We picked out four nice just-laid ones to add to the twelve he already had, and three weeks later, 13 of the 16 eggs had hatched — an impressive ratio, as it’s usually closer to 50% with incubated eggs. Apparently Mr. D has the touch!
Just call this guy Pop-a-doodle-doo! Timmy has yet to meet his children, but there were several among the new chicks with markings just like his when he was a wee tot. I’ve told him that he’s now a proud father, but I’m not sure he gets it… we’ll see what happens when we bring the little ones home!
And little they are. We’ll keep the chicks in a brooder, a heated contraption designed for raising chicks, until they are old enough to move outdoors to the Chicken Tractor, a mobile pen. (You can also raise chicks with a simpler cardboard box and heat lamp set-up; we happened to have the brooder already in the barn, and it’s a nice luxury, but by no means a necessity.) We won’t actually add the new birds to the adult flock until they are several months old and strong enough to hold their own against the Big Girls and Guy.
The kindergartners named the chicks, too — and what names! Thunder, Darth Maul, “Primces Buttercup,” Lellow, Baby Bee… there’s a little drawing for each one, too, under the “Happy Birthday” sign on the classroom wall. Be sure to click on the photos below for a closer look at their handiwork!