Some Live, Some Die...So It's Not a Bad Thing to Have Extras

I have a new overly-deep-and-obvious theory about the rearing of baby chicks--some live, some die.

And by that, I mean, absent horrific neglect, the ones that are meant to live...well, they live.  And the ones that are not meant to live are so very hard to save.  

I had a feeling when we brought tiny Madge home that she was, perhaps, not long for the world.  (And she was the seventh chicken...there's just something about that--it will not work for us!)  The first night we brought the chicks home, Sweet Husband thought she looked sufficiently zippy, even though she was small.  However, when I checked on them before bed on the second night, I knew she wouldn't make it to the morning.  I was sad that she died, but also relieved for both of us that she didn't suffer for long.  

And life continues.  Last Friday, I went to see a man about some Lavender Orpingtons.  Not only did he have those, he had some Black Copper Marans, as well.  (They lay really dark chocolate colored eggs.)  I said I wanted "a few", so he charged me for two and gave me four.  This seems to be the way of things in the baby chick world.

I didn't start doing the math until I was about half-way home.  Four new chicks + three slightly less new chicks + our three original girls....equals ten chickens.  An extra here and an extra there can really creep up on you!  And when you add two dogs and three humans....that's fifteen souls in my keeping, all told!

As far as the chickens go though, we do seem to shuffle through them.  I'm already 97% positive Etta is a rooster, and--because the people I was buying from did not even claim to be expert chicken sexers--I won't be surprised if we end up with another roo in the mix somewhere...I suspect one of the Marans, as well.  Further, we've been really lucky so far about not losing any to predators--that luck can't hold forever....Listen to me trying to justify it to myself!

But on to the introductions....

The Lavender Orpingtons are Joni Mitchell and Judy Garland.  Joni (top) has just a little bit more darkness on her beak.  

The Marans are Florence Welch (Flo) and Gladys Knight.  Gladys (top) has a funky wing that sets the two apart, and Flo is the one that's acting a wee mannish.

All seven of the little girls are now in our big ghetto brooder--so called because it's taped together cardboard over Moe's old x-pen--on the floor of our shed.

The three big girls are still doing their part to pump out eggs for us.  With the ducks gone, we're down to about three eggs a day, instead of six.  If we had kept the ducks until the end of the month, we would have had well over 150 eggs in April.  As it was, the total was 142....

Kaki and Ella...42

And if that all wasn't enough activity, my sweet Tori has decided to go broody this week.  Although it would take an immaculate conception for her to hatch an egg, she's trying her darnedest.  It's made her a titch grumpy, but I'm sympathetic.  If someone was trying to steal my baby to poach him on toast, I would be grumpy too.  Thankfully, so far some gentle shooing has been enough to get her out of the nest box.

My, oh my, do we have a flock!