A few pics of my new chicks …

I just love this photo – my dog has watched over the new chicks since they hatched – despite his reservations with the grown up chickens – he has become very protective of their offspring.  This chick regularly sits on the top edge of their cardboard box, and he worries that it will jump out, so here he is nudging it back into the box!

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This chick is 3 weeks old and is probably a pure breed Buff Sussex

2 day old mixed chicks

These are some of the chicks at two days old, there are a couple of silkies in the batch, but most of them are the eggs from my own chickens – the Buff Sussex and Speckled Sussex shown below.

As they are free range, the chicks could be pure breeds or crosses of the two breeds – I will have to wait until they are fully grown to be sure, and am looking forward to seeing what the crosses look like – hopefully they will have interesting markings!

These are some of the other chicks at 3 weeks old.

Olive Eggs??

As a keeper of chickens, I subscribe to a few websites that periodically give advice or information, but as I have been keeping chickens for over 20 years, I don’t usually find a lot of new information, tho’ its always useful to keep informed of the ‘latest trends’ – smile.

But this time, I did find something new!  Countryside Network, an American website has me stumped!  Did you know you can mix breeds to give you an olive coloured egg?

20160413_1052201-500x375Except they don’t look very olive to me!

AND WHO WOULD WANT AN OLIVE COLOURED EGG ANYWAY?

I’m wondering whether this is a hoax, but it seems, from the list of suppliers of mixed breeds, that it’s actually an advert!

Testimonial from an Olive Egger chicken owner: “I had really wanted to add some olive green eggs to my egg basket for a long time, and was concentrating more on the egg color than on the chicken breed itself, but now having raised Olive Egger chickens for several years, I can tell you that they are some of my favorite hens. Mine are a cross between a Black Ameraucana and a Black Copper Marans, so they’re solid black with the trademark Ameraucana cheek puffs, and one has the feathered feet of a Marans too! Unlike Marans who I find a bit standoffish, and Amerauanas which can be skittish, their offspring, the Olive Egger chicken, is a chatty, friendly hen who I think has retained some of the best qualities of each of their parents. My Olive Eggers are more consistent layers than my Ameraucanas, which is nice. They are extremely cold-hardy, but don’t seem overly bothered by heat either. They are on the smallish side, definitely more Amerauana-sized than Marans-sized, but their eggs are good-sized. They are fairly talkative chickens, but they tend to chatter quietly and rarely cluck loudly. They have been a wonderful addition to my backyard flock.” – Lisa Steele, from FreshEggsDaily.com

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Comb: Varies

Popular Use: Eggs and meat

Varieties
: None recognized, as this is not a standard breed

Temperament
: Varies

Skin Color
: Varies

Weight: Usually large, but varies based on breeding

It really isn’t an Olive Egger chicken if it is
: Not a cross. Favaucanas, Ameraucanas, and Aruacanas have been known to lay greenish eggs from time to time, but are not considered Olive Egger chickens.

MAKE YOUR OWN MIND UP ABOUT THIS!  I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT MOST OF THEIR POSTS ARE QUITE HELPFUL IF YOU KEEP ANY TYPE OF ANIMAL – BUT THIS SEEMS IDIOTIC TO ME!

And – talking about crossing breeds – I’m pleased to report that 7 out of the 9 eggs I put in the incubator just over three weeks ago, from my free range mix of Buff Sussex and Speckled Sussex breeds have hatched (plus a few silkie eggs I bought) and I will be taking some photographs of them soon, to show you – smile.

You can see the pure breed pictures here and here.

 

Easter Weekend and its raining – So ….

I came across this quote from one of those sites that seems to have my email address, and sometimes has useful information ….. this one just seemed to fit my mood.

I managed to get some work done in the garden yesterday, in between the rain, but the forecast for the rest of the week is pretty dire – so today – I’m just playing – smile.

I put up a few more of my chicken pics on my other blog – julzcrafts.com – under the title of Easter Eggs yesterday – and as I had some problems uploading the photos I’m being lazy about putting them up here.

Hope you enjoy the Easter break in your own way – smile.

My hens have started laying!

I bought some eggs on ebay in August, which I stuck in the incubator, and finally, in the last couple of weeks, the hens have started laying!

And today, I put a listing on ebay to sell some of their fertile eggs for hatching, and can’t believe that I’ve already sold 2 lots!

Here are some of my lovely Buff Sussex hens and cockerels.

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I’ll put up some more pictures of them roaming the garden later – this is just to ‘show them off’ – smile!

The Chicken Swing!

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This is not an advert!

However, it is a genuine item for sale, which made me laugh when I saw it!

It’s not a bad idea, but if you want your chickens to have fun, you could easily make it yourself – from a couple of ropes slung over a tree branch and a piece of wood!

Happy New Year! and see below for info about my Sale on Etsy & my series on The Twelve Days of Christmas …..

My “12 days of Christmas Sale” is running in my ETSY SHOP 

For more details, please see my post on  julzcrafts.com

I have also been writing a series of posts, on julzcrafts.com, linked to the Christmas Carol “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, and following parts of a post that I found online, originally published in Backyard Poultry Magazine (2013).

I should have written it on this blog, as its about the birds & poultry featured in the Carol.  So I’m belatedly, copying today’s post here, and if you are interested, you can check out the rest of the posts, and the one’s planned to continue until the end of the 12 Days period between Christmas Day and Epiphany (6 January).

Exploring the 12 Days of Christmas History and Life in the 18th Century  

Five Gold Rings

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Illustration of “five gold rings”, from the first known publication of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” (1780)

 

I’m deviating from the original article I have been basing this series on for the 5th Day of Christmas, as its difficult enough to relate Gold Rings to birds, although this “may have referred to Ring-Necked Pheasants, or perhaps to Golden Pheasants. Those original meanings unify the verses around a bird motif.

Both of them are natives of Asia but have long had successful populations in Europe and the British Isles. The Romans probably introduced them to Europe during their Empire. Pheasant were accepted residents of Britain by the 10th century.” 

I’m not convinced this is the best interpretation!  After all, the whole song is not just about birds, but it’s fun to try and link them anyway – and FIVE gold rings do seem to be a bit excessive, even if it was for a ‘true love’!

The Radio 4 “Tweet of the Day” has chosen another bird, and you can hear it here;

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b09jgnf4#play

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a British Goldfinch in flight showing the yellow ‘flash’ on wing feathers – some American Goldfinch have bright yellow bodies!

“As actress Alison Steadman outlines the refrain Five Gold Rings in the song is a recent thing, having emerged as an Edwardian addition to the song when Frederic Austen composed the music we know and love today. Yet in the century before that, a small colourful bird captivated Victorian society like no other. The goldfinch.”

PS:  In the past, some international readers have had problems listening to BBC iPlayer links – especially in the USA.  If you manage to get to the page without any problems, you may be able to download the file – its only 2 minutes long – and listen to it on iTunes.

Please do let me know if you have any difficulties, or even if you can access it – as its good to know.  You may have to register with the BBC site – this is a consequence of the new rules and regulations on paying for tv licences if you watch programmes online. A pity really, because the BBC always prided itself that it was available worldwide!