Saturday, June 25, 2011

Mille Fleur Cochin Bantam

These chicks just hatched from eggs I bought from a BYC member.  She is working on the Mille Fleur Cochin Bantams.  It is still in the project phase, so I am excited to see how the chicks look as they grow up.  That's one reason I like seramas too, because they change colors as they grow up and it's really fun to see how they'll turn out!
I use the Brinsea Eco20 incubator and it works great!  I put water in 1 tray, and leave the air-vent open for the first 18 days.  More water has to be added every few days to the 1 tray.  Then after filling both trays on day 18, I close the vent so that it's only 1/3 to 1/2 open.  They usually hatch on day 21.  I have had lots of shipped eggs that the post office destroyed though too.  Usually if the air-cell is swirling with bubbles inside, it's not a good sign.  With these cochin eggs, I got lucky and all the air cells were still intact at the top of the egg when they arrived, as they should be! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Serama and silkie babies

Most of these babies are 3 weeks old, with a few that are older (up to 3 months old).  The silkie-mama takes care of them and they follow her into the coop at night (this small temporary coop just sits on the ground with the entrance only 2 inches high, so the babies can jump in there).
The bigger chick is a Speckled Sussex next to the tiny seramas.
Behind the baby fence is a young midget-white turkey.  They like to jump up on our laps (and shoulders!)

Here they are eating.  We feed them organic starter feed from Coyote Creek Organic in Elgin, TX.  Thanks Coyote Creek!  Our own creek should be named Coyote Creek too, because coyotes hunt in large packs along the creek behind our house.  We learned the hard way that all farm animals have to be securely locked up at night due to the coyotes and other predators.  The bobcats, foxes, and hawks still take plenty in daytime, but at least we can stop the night-time attacks by having the animals sleep in secure wood structures.  Some people near us have dogs that guard their animals in the day, but the dogs have to be trained for watching birds without killing them.  

 The bigger chick below is a black copper marans (posing as godzilla)

The little black hen is almost 3 months old now.  We love seramas - so cute and tiny!

Hens with babies

Here are some of the babies at our farm right now....first is the welsummer mama with her baby blue laced red wyandottes.  Earlier she had her own eggs and found a good hiding spot for herself next to our house, but a rat snake ate the eggs so I gave her some replacement eggs from our incubator.  She loves her babies!  It's funny she chases away other hens that try to come near her babies, but she lets the welsummer rooster come up and hang out with her and the babies.
 Next is a super-great-hiding-mama (a jungle fowl or golden phoenix hen - not sure which) that had babies without us ever realizing she was missing from the flock.  Becky heard a baby cheeping and fire ants attacking it, so then we wondered "where" the baby came from?!?!  After quite a bit of searching in the vicinity, we found she was hiding under a piece of wood that was only 4" off the ground, propped up by another piece of wood. She had 4 babies, and 3 of them were fathered by one of our favorite roosters "feed boy" (a barred rock). He was taken last week by a bobcat (daytime attack), but we're happy we have some more of his babies. The mama and babies now sleep in a dog crate at night (wow - it's a mess on that side of our house)
Here is another one of feed-boy's babies.  He is 1/2 barred rock, 1/2 welsummer.  Isn't he adorable?  I love how they have greenish eyes when they're young.

Tale of a Blue Egger Silkie Mama

This silkie-mama is amazing.  She not only cares for tons of babies at once, but she also lays blue eggs!  We got her originally from Dipsy Doodle Doo on the Backyard Chicken Forum.  She calls the history of the blue-egg-silkies a "happy accident".  She got a silkie-feathered Ameraucana (Easter Egger) from a hatchery in 2005, and then put that hen in with the silkies, and over the years with the hens breeding to purebred silkies, she got these silkie-feather-blue-eggers.  We love her!  She is the best mama ever to all her babies, as they all try to squeeze under her at night (often we just see baby-bottoms sticking out from under her).  We move her and the babies to the garage at night for safety.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bantam Shamo

This is a bantam shamo rooster.  He is a little bigger than a modern game bantam, and he is adorable!  We got him as a gift from Josh in San Antonio, along with 6 other bantam shamo and some bantam white wyandottes too!  Contrary to web-info about shamos, they are VERY sweet and don't even fight with other roosters.  Honestly our silkies are more aggressive! (if you could call silkies that - ha ha)  We love the contrast between silkies and the tall skinny bantams like shamos and modern game.  Most people don't even know they are all chickens! (when they see them on our front lawn)

Dancing with Silkies

Here we are dancing with our black silkies.  They are very soft just like bunnies, but they don't bite.  We want to get a bunny too though because we saw bunny-jumping-competitions (set up like horse or dog jumping over poles) on youtube and it looks fun!

Sweet Roosters

This is one of my sweet roosters. His name is Fluffy feet. He is 2 years old. He likes talking to the hens. Most roosters are sweet like him.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Why Tiny?

You might wonder why our blog is called Tiny chickens.  Well, that's because we LOVE tiny chickens!  Enjoy the pics!
 This is "stick girl" (a 1 yr old modern game bantam):
 This is a modern game bantam family.  Left to right are "stick boy", "stick girl", and "stick baby".
 seramas (tiny chickens lay tiny eggs - just use 2 or 3 in a recipe that calls for 1 egg!)

This is a Chicken....

THIS is a chicken with her babies (note the babies are both girls and boys, and they all deserve a chance at life and the experience of a dust-bath in the sun):

   This is a chicken in a cage (note: ALL girls)

      This is a "free-range"/"cage-free" chicken (again note: ALL girls)
    These are the millions of baby boys you'll never see (thrown in the trash to suffocate, or thrown into a meat-grinder at the hatchery):
 Please don't buy grocery store eggs or eggs at restaurants - AND please tell everyone you know!  We CAN stop this!

Help stop the cruelty

My daughters and I decided to make a chicken blog to encourage other families to keep chickens also.  Treatment of commercial egg-laying chickens is truly horrific, and all the baby boy chickens are killed at birth since they don't lay eggs.  I truly believe if every family can keep even 1 chicken as a pet, they would never again buy eggs from the store, because they would realize a chicken is no different than a sweet pet dog or cat.  Even cage-free and organic chickens suffer cruel mutilation and pain by being de-beaked, overcrowding, etc, and the millions of baby boys are still killed at the hatcheries (yes even with organic eggs).  The baby boys of the egg-laying breeds cannot be profitably raised for meat, in competition with "meat-chickens" that overtook the market.  Just like many issues throughout human history (slavery for example), people generally ignore what others are also ignoring.  More of us need to take up this fight!  Chickens have emotions such as fear, excitement, and friendship.  They make ideal pets and we hope our dream will someday come true, where you walk into the supermarket and there are no eggs there.  And restaurants will stop serving eggs too because people will associate eggs with severe cruelty.  Watch the videos and undercover investigations by, and you'll get a glimpse of what I'm talking about.  We are not vegetarians ourselves, but we only eat eggs from our own chickens.  We raise all the sweetie-boy roosters to a minimum age of 6 months, compared to meat chickens slaughtered at 8 wks old (just babies even though they look bigger).  You can raise roosters in your backyard because they don't crow until they're older.  We had chickens in suburbia ourselves, even in a restricted neighborhood.  We just talked to our neighbors about it and they agreed it was a good idea, and chickens do not smell or make much noise either (especially compared to neighborhood dogs!)

We love roosters!