Stinking Hawk!

Can you see it there in the mist?

This hawk has taken to hanging out quite near to the girls.

It seems fairly young.

Rather lithe.

It’s definitely bold.

It will swoop right down into the chicken run – with me standing just feet away!

I wish I could get a picture of it in action like that! But I’d have to actually look out the window before walking out the door – hands full of egg basket, table scraps for the girls, etc. – and be prepared with camera ready at the go.

Makes me thankful for the crows that hang out – they take great delight in harassing this hawk! Go crows!

This morning, as I walked out and nearly came face to face with the hawk – all of the girls huddling under cover – I was surprised that once the hawk winged it up to the tree just beyond the willow that the girls seemed happy as can be to just resume normal activity.

Because I was there? I don’t offer all that much protection – although I can yell – well, except for right now – I’m losing my voice to this stupid cold. I gave the girls a stern talking to about using caution with the stinking hawk hanging out so close by.

See how concerned they were:

Huh? You talking to us?

Yeah – so – obviously – they seemed to feel the danger had passed.

Oh – hey – remember Lacey?

She was one of the chicks Jezebel hatched in February. You can see her a little older here, too.

She’s done some growing up

She’s the Silver Laced Wyandotte in the middle. Pretty, huh?

Dommy (the Dominque – original, huh?) – one of the chicks that Buffy hatched in May may well be going broody… She’s kind of half-hearted about it – part of the time on the nest, part of the time off… That’s her behind the Leghorns. After we muck out the coop this weekend, I’ll set up the Broody Mama portion of the coop and see if she really wants to set eggs or not… If so, we’ll be getting some fertile eggs to bring in for her to hatch.

I don’t think I’ve introduced Blanche yet, either.

This is she:

She’s a buff colored Easter Egger – re-homed to us this winter. Blanche, she’s such a different girl. Kind of a social “special needs” kinda hen. She just doesn’t play well with others and self-isolates quite a lot. She has gotten bolder of late with the warmer weather – venturing out amongst the other girls now and then. But definitely not the team player the other girls are. She lays a lovely nice-sized blue-ish green egg every few days – but always in the wackiest locations! She makes me laugh.

I took some pictures yesterday that I’ll try and post later today or tomorrow. Hard to believe kind of stuff – particularly for those of our loved ones and friends who are on the East Coast awaiting the latest snow storm to arrive…

Back to rest for me, with a fresh mug of hot tea and honey for my very sore throat. Always with an eye out the window for the stinking hawk!

New Friends

About a week and a half ago two new girls came to live with us.

They are Annabelle (left) and Hildy (right).

Annabelle has a bit of a reputation as a bossy girl. She’s been known to beat up some on Hildy (note the Blu-Kote on Hildy’s comb!).

Moments into their arrival here Annabelle took on Ducky – who currently sits at the top of the pecking order and it was only moments before blood was drawn.

Dang it all.

Ducky was NOT amused.

BB became pretty miffed that someone would go after her pal Ducky, and joined the show down. More blood was drawn.

It took about 3 minutes to get Annabelle cornered and captured, and sequestered in solitary confinement. We kept Hildy in a separate location until everyone had gone to sleep, and then put her on the roost next to her new flock mates later that night.

Hildy melded into the flock with hardly half a thought.

Annabelle stayed in solitary for several days. It was interesting that after the first night, Hildy would come and sleep near Annabelle – with the chicken wire wall between them. There must be some love between the two!

Things have gone swimmingly since Annabelle came out of solitary confinement. She has avoided further conflict with our existing flock, and has been getting along quite nicely with Hildy. We have noted that each night Hildy and Annabelle roost up on the roosting later next to each other. It’s also interesting that they seem much more attached to the coop than the rest of our girls are. They do free range some with the rest of the girls – but they come back to check out the coop pretty frequently throughout the day.

I will say they are likely the smartest two of the flock – when it’s raining, windy, and cold – they head straight for the cover of the coop. Smart girls! How come the other girls haven’t figure that out yet?

(The girls enjoying stir fry for morning snack – Annabelle waiting her turn.)

I am happy to report that Scarlet is finally over being broody. Hooray! If she goes broody when it’s warmer I plan to let her set eggs and see how it goes. I think she’ll be a good mom. To be honest, I’m hoping Shelly or one of the other girls will go broody, too. I’d like to hatch chicks this year, rather than buy from a hatchery. We’ll have to wait and see if the girls will cooperate with my scheming!

In real life news – I started my new job right before the end of the year. The other day I met one of the managers for the hospital and we got to talking. He asked where I lived, I told him, he mentioned he lived in the same vicinity. We got a little more specific as to location and then he said, “Oh! I totally know where you live – you have the chickens in your yard and a large garden!” Turns out he has chickens, too. Gosh, I’m starting to think about half of our neighborhood has them! Anyway, we had a lovely conversation, and he promised to stop by one day to meet the girls. 🙂

Seems impossible that we’re 8 days into the New Year. Time has just flown. Jessica got an acceptance letter to another university – it’s about number three on her list of five faves. It will be late March or early April before she hears from her first choice. Jonathan continues on with the JV2 basketball team – he’s loving it, and continues to train several times a week to go on with developing his skills. William – after much nagging, potential bribing, etc. on his mother’s part – has finally decided that reading is pretty cool. He’s read two books in one week. That is quite possibly a miracle! All we have to do now is keep on with this trend!

There have been a number of developments in the family that I’ll write about later. Suffice it to say that we’re trusting God to guide and comfort us as we go forward.

Home again!

One has only to spend 17 days in the hospital (two stays) over the course of a month (first admission 7/23/09 – second discharge 8/23/09) to really come to appreciate one simple fact:

Home is precious.

I’m so glad to be home.

I’m about a weak as a kitten, but I truly feel the beginnings of well. I haven’t been there for a while.

I have a lot of work ahead of me- remembering to eat (even though I don’t have much of an appetite), remembering to rest (probably the hardest thing), resigning myself to doing what I CAN, not what I feel I OUGHT to do. Can put a kink in a girl’s preconceived ideas of doing stuff!

And just in case you didn’t know.

I adore my husband.

(John holding William – Oregon Coast, 1997. William was just 6 months old.)

He’s so kind. Patient. Loving. Compassionate. Conscientious. You know – one of those guys who do the right thing – even when it’s not the easy thing to do. A guy who has the character of God deeply ingrained in his heart. His smile and laugh just make my heart glad. I’m just so thankful to God for the great honor of being John’s wife. Something I truly do not deserve. But God…

So – guess what I did when I got home from the hospital yesterday afternoon! (Okay, after I checked email.) I grabbed the camera, headed out to the yard, found a place to plant myself, and I took a few pictures.

Stuff happens when you’re away from home!

The babies stopped looking like babies and look more kinda like awkward teenagers now! At first we thought we had one Dominique and one Silver Laced Wyandotte. Now we don’t know. I’m hoping they are two different breeds – cause one of these might be a roo if not!

Note the differences:

Birdhouse gourds galore have grown!

And so exciting!

Someone has started to lay the cutest little white eggs!

They weigh in right at 1 ounce each.

Kinda piddly compared to BB’s 3 oz eggs!

Here’s my guess as to WHO the layer of said adorable eggs is:

One of the Blue Andalusians. Isn’t she pretty?

So – it’s good to be home.

Happy sigh.

I refuse to think about the fact that it’s only two short weeks before my kids head back to school again. I am SO not ready for that yet. Jessica comes home from camp tomorrow late afternoon – after a summer away. She will be a senior in High School this year. I want every moment with her possible.

Off I go to rest.

She’s such a good Mommy!

If you’ve been following along the progress of our experience with a broody hen, you may have caught Monday’s arrival of freshly hatched chicks! Shelly had been setting on a dozen fertilized eggs. On Monday – day 21 (right on schedule) the chicks started hatching. Seven eventually hatched. Two died in the process of hatching out. L In the next twenty-four hours, two more died – both having fallen out of the nest and got too cold. Super sad!

So – we have three little hatchings.

I’ll be honest. The first few days I was about having a heart attack! I wondered:

  • Will Shelly know what to do?
  • Will she reject them altogether? We’d heard of hens that had actually killed hatchlings!
  • Will she be a good Mom?
  • Should we supplement with a heat lamp?
  • Should we take the chicks away from Shelly and just brood them, like we’ve done our Hatchery chicks in the past?
  • Will Shelly make sure they get enough to drink? To eat?

On Wednesday I said to John, “This is WAY more stress than just brooding them like we always have!”

Today, however, I totally take it back.

I will concede that we have learned a TON about the whole process and would definitely have done some things differently – which would have made a considerable difference in the survival rate, I’m pretty sure.

Would we do this again?

Yeah, I think we would.

Here are pictures of Shelly’s trip to the great outdoors with the babies in tow today. She is a fabulous Mom – and was a total delight to watch!



Rooth is on the left – she was SO curious about those tiny little chicks. You can see that Shelly is all puffed up and is spreading her wings so the chicks can dive under her for protection.





It was absolutely hilarious watching Shelly teaching the babies how to sun bathe and dust!









I don’t think there’s anything cuter than watching the little line of three chicks following – single file – behind Mom!



Rooth decides she needs a closer look at the chicks.

Shelly gives her the eye! Can’t you just hear her saying, “Those are MY babies! Back off!”

Get a load of those ruffled feathers!

All in all, Shelly and the babies free ranged in the yard today for about three or four hours. I was amazed that the babies had that kind of stamina! I’m betting they are sleeping really well!

Oh My Goodness Gracious!

This is Shelly.

Shelly is a California White chicken. She’s 15 months old. She went broody the first time when this past December, when she was just a young’un!

When she went broody again in June we decided to try and find some fertilized eggs to purchase to let her set on.

We were fortunate enough to find and got a dozen eggs – six Dominique, six Silver Laced Wyandotte.

We got the eggs June 15th. Shelly has taken her responsibility as broody hen VERY seriously – rarely leaving the nest.

Today was Day 21 – when, typically, chicks start to hatch.

Here are some pictures – brace yourself – they’re just too cute for words!

Seven chicks have hatched. Sadly, two didn’t make it. Gosh, to work so hard to hatch out of those super tough shells and then die. UGH! BUT, by bedtime tonight, we had five beautiful little chicks. I’m not sure which is what breed – but you know what? I really don’t care! I’m having too much fun just sitting and watching them!

More on the babies soon – I promise!

That’s it from Hip Chick Chronicles Central tonight!