The apple trees are in bloom and the chicks are out of the basement and at the corrals. "Yeah!", no more cleaning cages. They live in a mobile home now and all I have to do is pull it to a new patch of grass.
The downy feathers have been replaced by stiff adult ones and they're strutting their stuff. Even taking to the skies for short distances having discovered their wings. But, mostly they just eat and eat and eat.
All except the poor Partridge Cochin that is, for she still looks like something out of the ugly duckling book. She may be slow to mature, but she is suppose to reach a whopping eleven pounds when grown. I've never raised one before but they're heralded as excellent setters and mothers.
That's what I've always wanted, a hen that would set on a clutch of eggs and hatch them. Hopefully with the Cochin, I've stacked the deck and next year my dream will come true.
In the past, I've tried using golf balls to encourage the broody feeling. It doesn't work. They might be white and round but they weigh too much and the only one fooled is me when gathering eggs in the dim light of evening. And, marking a few eggs with a pencil so I know which ones not to gather and eat - sometimes works with the older hens - but how do you teach them to sit on the eggs lightly. The old adage teach by example is definitely out in this circumstance. I'm out of ideas so, if you have some advice, let me know.
As far as I've gotten is hens who would sit on eggs for twenty-one days, but they sat and squashed and sat and squashed until all their eggs were scrambled. How is it that my neighbor has an Australorp hen older that Methuselah, and she still hatches two or three chicks each year? I don't know, but I've ordered some Australorps just in case that hen isn't a fluke.
P.S Chicory, the new goat, is now jumping onto the milking stand all by herself.
If you desire you can double click on photos to enlarge.