Sunday, December 20, 2009

Chicks, chooks and cock-a-doodle-doo's!

Time for a well overdue chooky post ...... WARNING - this has turned out to be a LONG update!!!

Remember our little fluffy chickies last seen here and here - well they have grown unbelievably and are now 9 weeks old today! A couple of weeks ago I finally managed to post some photos and questions on Backyard Poultry, and had some great feedback on my flock of many colours.

The BEST NEWS is that 'Big Grey' (who Mick the breeder told us at day 1 was a cockeral because of his colour) is actually a female !!! Whoooo hooo! I have had a soft spot for Big Grey since day 1, and when we thought it was a 'he' it was tough as we had no silver girls to justify keeping 'him' for breeding. But Mick admitted he was wrong with that one - so now the chicky formerly known as Big Grey is ..... SILVIE ! (ok, maybe not that inventive for a Blue-laced Silver, but at least the name fits and it is girly!)
He also said she has incredible lacing for a young chick and will grow to be stunning! Well, we knew that already ;-)


Speaking of name changes, the chick formerly known as 'Goldie' (because she had such a golden head) grew up to be almost totally black! My daughter thought of the name B.G. (kids cartoon character), which we thought fits perfectly, since she is actually a Blue-laced Gold! Her lacing is not quite correct, very thick for a wyandotte, which is why she is very dark with gold highlights, but we love her so much that doesn't bother us at all.

She is the most incredible chook I've ever known (ok, thats not that many, but still...) I swear she is like a pet cat or dog!!! She will come up to us straight away looking for a pat and loves sitting on my lap being stroked. Yesterday she even JUMPED ON MY BACK when I was bending down- honestly!!! She hopped right up to my shoulder! I was freaking out a bit, but she thought it was great!

Meet~ B.G. !

Blondie is still called Blondie (at my son's insistance!) She is beautiful, a Blue-laced Gold 'Sport' which basically means she is unusually light. White, pale grey and gold and beautiful lacing already. She hasn't changed her flightiness since she was a chick, I am sure she hatched thinking she was a budgie! If she doesn't settle down soon (whick she might as she is getting much bigger and heavier) we will probably have to clip her wings to stop her flying over the fence!


So..... that's the hens.

Now, the 2 boys. Oh, yes, did I mention we have TWO roosters-in-training?!!

And here we hit a problem. We love them, really- they are gorgeous! When we didn't know what we would end up with, we were hoping to be able to keep one rooster so we can breed our own lines in the future (in our area the council allow roosters, but only if your neighbours don't complain). We even have someone wanting to buy a surplus rooster if we ended up with more than one (hi Xena!)

But how do we pick one to keep? They are very different, but both lovely, and its sooooo hard to let one go! I asked on BYP which would be the best for matching up with our girls, but apparently they are both winners!

We haven't renamed Big Red or Racey (even though Racey no longer has his racing stripes!) in a weak attempt to lessen the attachment..... yeah.

There is a glimpse of Big Red above with Blondie- a Blue-laced Silver with some mysterious red in there too. He has the most amazing colours and patterns -black, blue, white and deep reddish brown. Initially thought his colours made him no good for breeding, but it turns out he would be good for Gold-laced or Silver laced hens, (which we have both of) and he will produce an amazing array of coloured chicks. (This info from a breeder with a LOT of genetic knowledge!) Apart from that, he is the best natured cockeral I could imagine. He is very placid, happy to be stroked and I reckon really handsome too!

Big Red

The other cockeral is Racey, a Blue-laced Gold. He is the more obvious choice to keep because his colour and lacing are very good, much more typical wyandotte so may breed more true-to-type. The breeder I bought the eggs from reckons he will be excellent knowing his stock lines. He is a bit more flighty, way too heavy to fly anywhere but not so much into playing the pet and having strokes. Like Big Red, not aggressive, just a bit more nervous.


So, what to do......? Neither is crowing yet, so not sure which (if either) will be noisier. Neither is aggressive. Both fine for breeding.

We have thought (naively possibly) that we can keep them both..... but the problems with that may be -

1. We don't NEED 2 roosters (could be said we don't need one...)
2. The crowing may increase if they set each other off
3. Which may not go down well with neighbours! (or us)
4. Extra chook to feed who is not keeping themselves in egg production!
5. Aggression problems if they fight over position or over the hens (will be 2 roo's to 5 hens)
6 ..... Jacqui from lifeinthedome pointed out that the hens may well be exhausted from all the ...erm.... roosterly ..... attentions!!! Crikey I never even thought of that!

So for now, they are still together, with the occasional mild and gentlemanly hackle-raising and STARING contests (honestly, it is hilarious!) And while they are smaller, they are still being bossed around by the long-standing chooks Ruby and Lady ---


Who knew that we would end up here? Wondering how many we can keep? I didn't think I would even like roosters! Just over a year ago when we got our first chooks, I couldn't even hold them, I was terrified of them flapping! Seems hilarious now :-)

I can see why people end up with a crazy amount of chooks LOL! Especially raising them from chicks, they are so friendly and much more like pets, I love them! And I'm not the only one .... hubby wants to keep them all too, and of course our kids do too.....

Oh well, Christmas time is too busy  be making such decisions.......!


PS - Just as an afterthought ---- it turns out that apart from being thrown off the scent with Big Grey/Silvie, my first instincts were right about all the other chicks' genders! And they say you can't tell with wyandottes until they start laying or crowing.... ;-)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas crafting

Here are just a few of the many things now adorning our home......!

Our children made these beautiful snowflakes at preschool. They were laminated and given pretty Christmas ribbons, and then given to us at the preschool party last weekend to take home.

Our advent calender with a difference ~ instead of taking gifts out of pockets, the idea is to add a gift to the tree each day. All the decorations are numbered up to 24, and a little piece of velcro makes it easy for little ones to attach them. I really liked the idea of giving to the tree, rather than getting a cheap chocolate or plastic toy. They are happy to takes turns each day too, and good at keeping track of whose day it is!

I bought the panel from ebay, added padding, bit of quiliting with spare fabric on the back, and then the kids and I got to work adding lots of glitter to 'highlight' toys and candles etc. Actually by the end, almost everything has glitter on it! The joys of being 4 :-)

I made this cushion from a panel I bought on ebay too. The photo doesn't show it well but I padded the front and quilted a little around the borders. I backed it with red corduroy and a matching strip across the back.

And these ones for the grown-ups.... I bought a huge panel with 2 cushion fronts and 3 stockings on it from.... yep, you guessed it -ebay! The whole panel only cost me $2 and I think the cushions have come out great! I backed them with some lovely upholstery fabric from my stash, one gold and one cream. I have never done anything padded like this before, so it was a great experiment. I kept it simple and just sewed around the borders and star lines to make it appear quilted. There are beautiful gold angels and words to carols around the centre, I love them. 

Our home is becoming so colouful and Christmassy with kids decorations on the tree and on the walls and doors. Less than 2 weeks to go which is just as well, we are running out of room!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

From the mouths of babes.....

Whilst listening to 'Little Drummer Boy' on a Christmas CD ~ our daughter (4) singing along ....

"Come they told me

.... me and my MUM. "