Late Dec saw the majority of my chooks sitting on eggs or clucky. The three old ladies shared two eggs between them and by chance I noticed the hatching happening on Christmas eve. It's pretty mean but I whisked the 2 hatching eggs off the old girls and put them under the clucky bantam to hatch. She had six due also to hatch that day. I did this because I've let the big White Leghorns and Light Sussex hatch eggs before and found that their mothering instinct is nowhere near as strong as the bantams. They've stepped on the babies, left them out in the cold and while their backs were turned lost them to hawks and cats. By contrast the bantams puff up and attack when you come within a few feet of them. They are so hilarious to watch, the way they fuss about showing the chick some tid bit they've found. Clucking, scratching and flinging things everywhere with their feet as they call them over. Remember too if you are raising chicken to give them fresh water every day in a shallow bowl so they don't drown in it. Also while we do love hedgehogs in out garden we have to keep the chickens caged at night as my neighbour reported a hedgehog attacking her chickens again last week.So now the nests are empty and the egg production has stepped up a bit bacon and egg pie, scrambled eggs and Pavlova with fresh berries are back on the menu.

This week in the garden I have harvested: a cauliflower, about a bucket full of spuds, 1 cucumber, 5 tomatoes, 5 gigantic marrow fed to the chooks, 2lb of raspberries turned into 4 jars of jam, an ice cream container of red currents popped into the freezer, a feed of beans, poppy seeds, lemon verbena leaves for tea, St Johns wort for oil and too many garlic bulbs to count. Alot of them have some kind of fungal disease resulting in a sort of grey smelly bulb beginning to rot, they must be burnt quickly or I think the disease could spread to the rest of the garden. Their beds will have to be rotated for about 3 years, which makes finding enough space for next winter's crop quite difficult. I think it has happened because we've had a wet spring/ summer here and my garlic beds were well mulched to keep them moist for more typical dry summer weather.
Planted: spring onions
Planning: to plant more corn and leeks. Prepare beds for autumn/winter crops.
Enjoying: Watching the cat sitting under the fejoia tree for hours staring up into the tree which is flowering and wishing she was quick enough to catch herself a wax eye (bird) which is helping to pollinate the flowers.


Titania said...

What a great productive garden you have got. I love the chooks, they look so happy and content, like every chook's live should be! At the moment I have 5 black ones, all called Angelina because they are such good layers.

BellaBree said...

cool post...so neat to hear of all your produce! I can't wait to get back onto a bigger section to do the same...how ever the cauli and brcilli tucked in between the camillas do surprisingly well xx

Heart Felt said...

Hi Gill, we are new to keeping chickens. Is it too late for letting our chickens to sit on their eggs or can they have chicks any time of the year. I just found a secret nest where one of our chickens is sitting on 14 eggs! I'm not sure what to do. xx

Gillybean said...

Hi Janelle, There is plenty of time to let them hatch some eggs yet. The gestation period is only 21 days and providing they are fertile there's no reason they shouldn't hatch. In the country beware of stoats though as they can steal eggs and chicks. We got a trap from DOC when we lived further out of town and had a stoat problem. The mother will keep the chicks warm at night if the weather should turn nasty. I hatched eggs as late as April last year and the chicks were fine through winter. I also buy some chick mash to get them off to a good start when they hatch. Your kids will love the experience of chicks for sure. Also beware of too much love, my PJ when she was 2 strangled a chick with Love. XX

Jodi said...

Baby chickens make me so happy. I loved raising them but dissapointed that out of 5 we had 4 roosters!