I’ve been raising chickens for a little over three years now and I’ve seen my hens lay all kinds of crazy looking eggs, double and even once a triple yolker, and even eggs without shells, but I have never had one lay a mini-egg before. (Yes, that is what I am calling them, thank you!) I’ve seen them before on other blogs. Ninabeast over at http://heedleyshens.wordpress.com has been plagued by them. Mike at http://tinyhomesteaders.com had one turn up earlier this week. But me? Nope, not me. Not ever. Until today.
I’m unsure of the culprit. All I can say with certainty is it wasn’t the leghorns, the auracanas, or the Americauna/Bantam cross, because it was a brown egg. I’m suspecting that it was Patricia, our three-year-old Plymouth barred rock hen because it has red speckles on it and because the two eggs from the gold sex link chickens are identical and they laid today. It is possible it was one of the black australorps because their eggs are pretty similar as well most of the time, but those eggs were not a matched set today. One was noticeably lighter and the other had a calcium deposit on one end. So if it’s not Patricia, I’m pretty sure it’s Pippy or Half-pint. I suppose it doesn’t really matter, but like any good mystery, I sure am curious as to whodunnit. Hopefully it won’t happen again.
On the rabbit front, yesterday was day ten so I filled a cardboard box with hay and very gently lifted the kits out of their nest box and nestled them in. I saved as much of the unsoiled fur as I could find. Then I dumped the bedding, wiped it down, and put in an inch of kiln-dried pine shavings, a couple inches of straw, and then hay on top. I made the burrow shape as best I could and then tucked the little guys back inside and covered them back up with Piper’s fur. One of the kits has its eyes open and a couple looked like they were starting to. They look squinty and kind of like wizened old men. They seemed to like being stroked, but eyes open was jumpy about it. Probably because now it can see the big human hand reaching down from above. They were a little squirmy so this is the best photo I got of them.
Mama Piper is back in fighting trim. Wish I’d lost my baby weight like that!
Phoebe’s almost a grown up.
Another seven or eight weeks and she should be ready to breed. She decided to be brave and ventured out onto the shed floor today. She really seemed happy to be able to run and stretch her legs. We had Lola and her sisters down with Phoebe for a while. They ran around for about ten minutes together before they noticed each other. And then it got a little tense so I put Phoebe back in her cage since she’d been out longer. The boys got a run today, too. Leo wasn’t the least bit interested in coming out of his cage at all today, but the youngsters sure wanted to explore.
I’ve still been researching quail. I found a couple of good websites and read through them and I think this is definitely a road I want to travel next spring. I’ll keep reading and researching. I’m still leaning towards coturnix. They seem to be the best option for both eggs and meat for my circumstances. So after we finish all the rabbit equipment purchases through September, I will start saving up for the quail equipment purchases. I’ll need an incubator, a brooder (homemade), breeder cages, and grow out cages. Then, of course, quail, which I can get locally or shipped. The chicks run about $3 each. Not too bad.