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Archives for : April2015

{Photo of the Day} 30.04.2015

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So, there’s this great nursery & garden supply up the street from the building I work in. My dad & I went there for a quick lunch break to pick out some good tomatoe & pepper plants for the garden. I also got a few packets of different kind of lavender seeds to plant in flower boxes around the chicken coops/pens to help keep the flies to a minimum. They had this giant Big Foot statue there that was taller than me. I wanted it so much.

Not much in the way of photos for today. I’m still dealing with this concussion-like migraine & had to skip seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron tonight because of it. So, I cleaned the brooder boxes, waterers, then check Ody for parisites like mites (he’s been losing feathers) & instead found pin feathers which makes me think he’s going through a molt, but still sprayed & dusted both the outside pen & the barn coop to help prevent mites & moved the flock into the barn right before it started raining.

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I was really worried about Ody because he’s been losing the feathers under his wings, on his chest & from his tail. Sometimes when this happens, it’s a sign of an illness, sometimes it’s molting. Since I don’t know his age, I wasn’t sure if it was molting or not. I have been hyper vigilant about check the flock & him specifically for skin parasites because of the way he came to me. Who knows how long he had been wandering before showing up on Granny & Grandpa’s porch & what he could have picked up from the wild bird population during that time. I read up on molting & most of what I found was about serious molts where the chickens have massive feather loss. Everything said it happens in the autumn. All the signs were for hens not roosters. It was very frustrating. I decided to check him again tonight & that’s when I noticed he had pin feathers coming in on his neck. Loads of relieve. All of what I read has said that chickens won’t grow new feathers unless they’re molting. I’ll try to get pictures of it tomorrow if I’m not too loopy from the migraine shot because it is pretty interesting & would be good to document for the purposes of this blog.

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Quick little video of 1 of the new noises Memnoch (formerly known as Frost) makes now.

This is the marker of 4 full months of documenting my journey with my animals. Many thanks to everyone that has been following along.

{Photo of the Day} 29.04.2015

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Started building the coop! Well, my dad did most of the work because I still have a killer migraine & my health care provider decided to jerk me around on getting another shot. Yeah. Anyhow, it’s actually taking shape!

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Frost has been renamed Memnoch. He just wasn’t very Frosty anymore & I loved reading Anne Rice as a kid (not recent, obviously, because of the brain trauma) & that name stuck out of all the Vampire Chronicle characters. I don’t know why. Maybe I just want to refer to him & Mercury as the M&M Twins. I noticed a strange thing this evening while bringing them back inside: the black in their feathers has a purple shine to it. The hens have a green shine. Not sure about Odysseus since all his black feathers are under the silver laced feathers.

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{Photo of the Day} 28.04.2015

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These 2 terrors keep changing every day. Their cheeks & crests keep getting bigger & more hilarious. I still haven’t decided on a new name for Frost yet, but I’m debating between Dorian (if his crest stays black) & Memnoch since I loved Anne Rice’s books as a kid. If the 2 of them had come out blonde or golden laced, I totally would have named them Jaime & Cersei Lannister.

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They both still fit in 1 hand.

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{Photo of the Day} 27.04.2015

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It finally stopped raining this afternoon! If it stays nice through the weekend & I don’t end up with another migraine that makes me wish I were dead instead of feeling that pain, we’ll get started on either the main coop build or the grow out pen/rooster bachelor pad. I’m excited to get started on this because Frost & Mercury need an enclosure to spend the days in outside & the Ithakē Flock needs a permanent residence. Moving them back & forth from the barn can’t be good for their stabilization needs as far as egg laying goes. I mean, I know Polish hens aren’t exactly prolific egg layers, but I feel like moving them every morning & night right now is causing stress they don’t need.

I’ll just feel better once they have an actual home.

Little Blue Red (potential names are Lila & Nova) isn’t getting much bigger but its feathers are starting to come in pretty good. It has a more upright posture than Big Blue & that makes the tail feathers come in down instead of out & up like Frost & Mercury’s did & the way Big Blue’s are. I’m wondering if maybe I lucked out & hatched another cockerel.

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Big Blue’s feather growth is more obvious that Blue Red’s, probably because of the colouring (for some reason, grey colouring is called “blue” in the poultry world – it should eventually look more of a blue-grey than just grey). Again, Big Blue (potential names Ava’Dara & Shatterstar) has its tail feathers coming in out & up & isn’t as upright in posture as Blue Red.

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The 2 newest are still doing very well & are catching on to chicken behaviors from Blue & Blue Red very quickly. They’re already scratching at food & that was something the 4 I hatched didn’t start doing until at least a week old. The d’Uccle already has leg feathers growing out & it’s so adorable! I wasn’t sure if I would like a booted bird, just because of the amount of dirt & not much else we have around here. Kinda like how Odysseus getting as dirty as he’s gotten being out there with his hens & his colouring being mostly white. It was just too cute & they look like they glow because of the cool colour base of their feathers, I couldn’t pass up the chance. The d’Anvers is just as adorable with its little owl like face. If it would stay that way into adulthood, I would have been disappointed I had already used the name Athena, so it’s a good thing the little dude won’t look like a tiny owl as an adult.

All 4 of them chase each other around, hopping & trying to fly, just like Frost & Mercury did. It’s still extremely adorable to watch. I’m very glad I got the opportunity to try hatching & to do logo work for Flaming Arrow Farm & have chicks from both experiences.

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These 2 continue to get bigger. And more ornery. Holy smokes, they are already ornery! Frost started trying to bite my fingers (very different from the pecks they usually do, still not hurtful) & Mercury flew at my face tonight. Thankfully, they’re both still tiny so no damage done & neither of the dogs made a move towards them during any of this. Not even when Mercury kept trying to fly onto Toki’s nose. That was super surprising since Toki has snapped at 1 of the littler chicks & actually had the d’Anvers in his mouth the 1st day it was here. Anyhow, their cheeks & mohawks are getting more pronounced & they’re getting more black feathers in around their faces. I still haven’t come up with a good replacement name for Frost yet. Running through all my favourite fictional characters & so far nothing suits him yet.

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I did find this single feather in their brooder & was a little worried because it looks like the feather was plucked right out (that’s painful for the bird when that happens). I have no idea when it happened, but there wasn’t any blood on either chick or in the brooder. Hopefully, it wasn’t pecked out. That would be a bad thing.

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Postscript: Blue Red finally made it on top of the wicker tunnel! 😀

Also, I apologize for all the weirdly rotated pictures that get posted. For some reason, WordPress likes to flip the images around after I’ve uploaded and posted them the correct way. Not sure why it keeps happening or how to stop it. I do try to catch the changes as soon as possible, but with a my brain injury it’s difficult for me to remember I need to eat every day.

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{Photo of the Day} 26.04.2015

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Not much today. The migraine came back full force as soon as the meds the doctor shot me up with wore off. Although, we are having a typical Colorado spring day (cold, rain, snow, wind) so I wouldn’t have gotten much photographing of stuff done anyhow.

The weather + my health have postponed the start of building housing for the birds again. Which really sucks for them because Frost and Mercury really need to have a bigger area to run around, at least during the day since the nights are still dropping into the 40’s and 30’s. There’s also a little bit of a urgent need to get something built because Frost (who is probably going to be renamed since that silver stripe is completely gone from his back now) has started to make dinosaur noises along with the chick chirping. It somewhere between the Dilophosaurus and the Velociraptor:

It scared me the first time he did it because I thought something was wrong, like something was stuck in his throat or crop. After a while, I realized that, nope, he was in his pre-teen phase and was probably going to start making actual chicken noises instead of baby noises soon. If he’ll start crowing soon, I don’t really know. There are a number of adult roosters in our area that you can hear crowing when you’re outside, and from what I’ve read a cockerel might never crow if there’s a mature male already crowing in the area/flock. The only rooster you can hear from inside is Odysseus, so there’s no telling what Frost will decide to do and when.

The fact that both he and Mercury are very active and would do well running, hopping, and flying around in a larger space during the day doesn’t change regardless of that. The week olds will miss them during the day, I’m sure, but they’ll be out there with them in no time. In fact, they might just start their own separate flock with Frost and Mercury depending on what sex those 4 turn out to be.

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{Photo of the Day} 25.04.2015

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Here are the last of the chicks for this year: the Porcelain d’Uccle (light coloured chick) & the Barbu d’Anvers (dark colour chick). They are both bantam breeds that originated in Belgium. I don’t know what sex they are & since I canceled my order from MPC, I decided to give them Greek mythology names for the Ithakē Flock. The possible names for the d’Uccle are Nyx & Hades & for the d’Anvers, Sparta & Ares. They’re probably only a few days old, but they integrated with the Phoenixes very quickly.

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Mercury & Frost also met their parents for the first time this afternoon. They were only out there for an hour because the weather looked like it was going to rain & I’m still having nausea issues even though the pain meds have worn off (my ankles hurt so much today). However, things went well between everyone! The hens didn’t really seem too sure about the chicks. They’d come over to check them out, get really chatty amongst themselves, move to the far side of the pen, get really chatty amongst themselves, come back over, repeat. It wasn’t until towards the end of the hour that Penelope decided to check them out some more since I was over there. Odysseus, on the other hand, was extremely interested in the chicks. What surprised me was that it wasn’t in an aggressive manner like he would have with the dogs if they were that close to the pen or even me (he has nipped at my hand on the fencing once). No hostile body language, just checking them out from as many angles as he could manage. Mercury & Frost were more involved with dust bathing & excitedly eating grass to really notice their parents.

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I also watched the hens destroy a bumblebee like the pack of velociraptors in Jurassic Park. It was crazy. Nausicaä was the 1 who caught it & worked hard to keep it. I couldn’t believe how fast they moved on that poor thing. It never knew what hit it.

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Frost is most definitely a cockerel & Mercury is most definitely a pullet. Their comb development matches the Sebright rose comb exactly: the males have an obvious comb, while the females don’t. Not something you plan for, obviously, since you usually don’t know what you’re getting with chickens as far as the sex goes. Unless you’re getting them from a hatchery & even then there’s no 100% certainty with day old chicks being sexed correctly. I’m very happy about this. I almost changed his name to Dorian like I had planned if I got a cockerel from Odysseus & the hens, but I’ve decided to save that name for when I can score a couple ACxEE pullets to breed with him. My hope is that the cross would create an all black bird with a partial crest. If I can get a cockerel that looks like that, then I’ll name him Dorian. Dorian is my favourite NPC (nonplayable character) from Dragon Age: Inquisition & only the most fabulously dandy looking cockerel I can get can be named after him. I don’t know if I should still call him Frost since the huge silver stripe he had when he hatched is completely gone. There isn’t much that’s frosty about him anymore! I’ll have to think about it.

Mercury still has a set of lungs on her, just like her namesake, so despite the fact it kinda feels like a mix up of mythologies, she’ll remain named Mercury.

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{Photo of the Day} 24.04.2015

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Not much today. The shot my doctor gave me yesterday for the head pain still had me nauseous & passed out. I did have an unfortunate discovery this afternoon while moving the flock into the barn (it was supposed to rain but it never did).

So, according to the person we rescued Ragnar & Lagertha from, they were supposed to both be bucks. They weren’t. And today, Lagertha had 2 babies that were dead when I found them. How you can have a doe & buck rabbit in the same cage & think they’re both bucks is beyond me. The level of stupidity of this person makes me want to throat punch them. We don’t know if the babies died of natural causes, if she killed them, or if he killed them. Obviously, if we knew she was pregnant, they would have been put in separate pens. I think we might do it anyway since Delilah is most likely going to have a litter in a week or so.

Coming across that scene was not awesome when I was already on the verge of throwing up. I couldn’t walk away fast enough.

Tomorrow, I’ll be picking up my last 2 chicks for the year. Hopefully, they integrate well with the Phoenix chicks.

{Photo of the Day} 23.04.2015

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Odysseus got me in the knee today when I was trying to catch Nausicaä (that’s his favourite hen). His spurs have regrown to sharp points that I need to round off again. It didn’t hurt; it actually hurts more when he gets me with his beak & he’s gotten me that way a number of times.

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The Phoenix bantam chicks are a week old today!

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These 2 are tiny snots. They don’t like to be held anymore & flat out refuse to be picked up. They definitely have that rebellious streak that Odysseus has.

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{Flock Updates} More Changes, More Plans

So, today I had to request my order of chicks from MPC be cancelled. I’m very disappointed as most of the order was for Easter Eggers (they lay blue & green eggs) & a White Crested Blue Polish that I really wanted. I had to make my decision based on a few things:

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The first thing is that, Toki seems to be allergic to bird dander & can’t stop himself from sticking his nose through the air holes to huff the chicks like a junkie. His eyes are super goopy now that we have 4 chicks in the bedroom & I’m adding 2 more on Saturday.

The second thing is that, I’d have 4 chicks the size of Frost & Mercury about the time the MPC chicks would be shipped. And then I’d have 8 tiny chicks to start all over again with (assuming they all survive the shipping). That’s a lot of work.

The third thing is that, my recovery & treatment from the car accident isn’t moving along as swiftly as I would like it to have been this far out from the incident. My legs & ankles are still causing me a lot of mobility issues. My not eating regularly is causing me a lot of energy issues. My brain trauma is causing so many issues I can’t even start, but to add to it I’ve been dealing with severe & debilitating pain in my head, eyes, temples & neck all week this week. I’ve also got a giant knot behind my right ear that showed up out of nowhere just as the pain started.

As much as I would like the variety of chicks I had ordered, I have to be realistic for their benefit & welfare as well as the birds I already have. I don’t even have the Ithakē Flock’s coop & pen build started yet. Thankfully, my dad wants to help me with that so it’ll get done in a timely manner now once we start on it. I also have to consider that I only got 2 chicks for the White Hot Room Flock to hatch. Even if by some miracle I ended up with a cockerel & pullet, it’s not really worth it to keep them separated from the Ithakē Flock until 3 roosters becomes an issue (I’m about 99% Frost is a cockerel at this point – Mercury’s comb is not developing at all, just like the Sebright hens, whereas Frost has a serious comb developing at a rapid pace). In the event that I’d like to breed a pair, it actually wouldn’t take much to build a breeding pen. The grow out pen could actually double as a breeding pen once the chicks are out of it.

So, it’s another set back in my overall plan of being a chicken farmer. I’d rather make sure that the birds I have stay in the excellent condition they are in now & I’d rather not keep Toki in the state he’s in now for that much longer. I can always come back to the original plan later on after I get my house built. Also, maybe I’ll get lucky & get an Ayam Cermani x Easter Egger mix chick or 2 from the local breeder I made contact with over at BYC. I would love to have an all black hen to mate with Frost to try & get an all black chicken with a mohawk that lays blue eggs.

It’s the art & mad scientistry of it all that keeps my delusions of grandeur growing.

{Photo of the Day} 22.04.2015

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Frost & Mercury got to explore a habitat with more space. They mostly stayed on the lower level, sliding around after each other before settling down & engaging in synchronised preening. They could manage the ramps just fine, but for some reason they wouldn’t go up to the other levels on their own.

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Almost a week old!

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