Friday, April 20, 2012

The Defense Rests

In the case of MrMoonCat vs.THE CHICKENS, the defense offers this photographic evidence:  



MrsMoonCat states:  "My husband is very supportive of my chicken obsession.  He helps me out and encourages me in growing our endeavour.  But, he tells the guys that he is just indulging his crazy wife.  He says that he puts up with the feathered fiends to appease me and doesn't have anything to do with any of the birds.  I don't understand why he doesn't want anyone to know that he enjoys being out with them almost as much as I do and has his favorites in the flock."

MrMoonCat replies:  "Uh, no comment.  I need to go feed my chickens."

The defense rests..

Friday, March 16, 2012

Spring is Sprung in the Coop

Nature's Incubator

I initially started raising Giant Cochins with the thought they would be broodies for my Blue Andalusian chicks.  Andalusians just have no interest in taking care of their own kids.  They produce a bajillion of them, then they are just "dead-beat" parents and don't want to take the time to hatch or raise them!  Spring fever has hit hard and they are popping out eggs like crazy in that pen. I was in need of some help to get the blue babies hatched. 

So Cochins to the rescue...or NOT.  I waited and waited for one of my beautiful blue Cochin gals to go broody.  You would think out of 9 hens, one would cooperate?  Nope. Nada.  So I took the plunge and ordered an incubator off of eBay.  Guess what?  The pretty little lady pictured above and below decided she wants to raise some chicks!  The very day after I spent a small fortune on an "alternative" way to get those babies hatched.  

Goofy bird...

"We are NOT amused"

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baby Blues at MoonCat Farms

I'm sure the title of this post had you thinking of something else.  Never fear, we aren't pregnant and we aren't blue at all around here, but our new babies are!


Welcome to our first hatch of the year (from Monday).  24 eggs went into the incubator and exactly 21 days later, these pretty babies made their way into the big wide world outside their shells.  I'm especially happy with these 17 hatchlings because they are the first chicks from my young breeding birds. 

In the first week of incubation, 4 eggs were found to not be fertile while 1 started and died.  The other 19 eggs went the full three weeks.  2 eggs didn't hatch for unknown reasons, but 17 did and 17 out of 24 is still very good.  The fertility and hatch rate should both improve as the breeders get a little older ~ and more experienced :)

The fuzzier chicks are Giant Blue Cochins with the others being my Blue Andalusians.  As you can see in the photo, there are some differently colored birds in the brooder.  Most birds that carry the common blue or "Andalusian" gene have the possibility of producing Blue, Black or Splash chicks. I am pleased with the group of mostly blue babies:  10 blue (5 Cochins/5 Andalusians), 5 black (3 Cochins/2 Andalusians) and 2 Splash Cochins.  Splash chicks will be a whitish based bird with blue or black "splashes" of color.  More about the blue genes later.

More photos and blathering on about my birds to come soon!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chasing Chickens


Well, it's been so long since I've posted that I pretty much had to learn how to do it all over again!  Life has kept us very busy here at MoonCat Farms since I last checked in many moons ago.  There's too much to cover in one post so I'll just start fresh with one of my favorite and frankly, most time-consuming interests. My chooks...


Mr. MoonCat's parents call them their "grands".  When they come up for a visit, they enjoy helping me with the little feathered fiends.  In fact we're looking forward to a visit next month when I will be enlisting their help in vaccinating the flock and accomplishing a few other chores that seem to need a few willing extra hands.  Plus, we just have fun playing with the birds and spending time outside.  The chickens reward their "grands" by sending them back to Arizona with a bunch of beautiful farm fresh eggs!


Rudy Roo - Barred Plymouth Rock
Rudy Roo is called a Barred Plymouth Rock or just a Barred Rock.  He runs with my laying flock of mostly Rhode Island Red hens and a few girls of questionable parentage.  He's a very gentle bird that takes great care of his girls and is pleasant for us to be around.  (His neck shouldn't look all fuzzy like that, he's been sticking his head through the fence to reach the rosebush and messed up his feathers. I will be putting up more chicken wire soon, as Mr. MoonCat accused me of trying to strangle poor Rudy!)




"I'll Be Back..."   Iowa Blue hen
This little gal giving us all the stink-eye is an Iowa Blue hen.  She's a smallish bird that lays a small creamy colored egg.  They are a personable breed that is enjoyable to be around and as you can tell by the up close and personal photo, very nosy!  (BTW, they aren't blue..just those Iowa people coming up with a name for their birds... :)


Boo - Blue Andalusian rooster
This pretty guy is one of my favorite boys here at MoonCat Farms.  He is Boo, a Blue Andalusian rooster which comes from Andalusia, Spain.  Blue Andalusians actually show up in three color variations:  Blue, Black and Splash.  They are all the same bird, they just carry the blue gene differently.  I will do a post on each of the breeds I am raising and go a little more into the colors then.  




The fluffy butts in the photo above belong to my lovely Giant Blue Cochins.  That is one of the two roosters with his head up while the others were pigging out on a pumpkin. They lay medium-sized brown eggs, but not in large quantities.  In spite of this and in all honesty, because they are so darn cute, they came to MoonCat Farms with a purpose - to sit on and hatch the eggs of the Blue Andalusians.  Andalusians are notorious for NOT sitting on their own eggs while Cochins are notorious for being broody and wanting to spend their time raising chicks - instead of laying eggs!  It's a perfect match :)


If you haven't noticed yet, I have a bit of a theme with the BLUE chickens.  This has become quite the endeavor and I am truly hooked on my birds.  I look forward to sharing more about this journey with you.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Ernestina Hemingway - Our Polydactyl Cat


Just a quick post to introduce you to the baby of the house.  "Ernie" is a polydactyl cat with extra toes on each of her paws.  She actually has little "thumbs" on her front feet which makes her two times the menace of  the other cats ~ she can open drawers and latches like a person!  I'm baby-proofing several cabinets now.  I did try to get a better photo of her feet, but she kept swatting at me so I'll wait until the monster is asleep for that.  You can see a bit of her thumb in the second photo.




As for her name, it obviously stems from a beloved and well-known figure in American history.  What isn't quite as well known is that the Nobel prize-winning author Ernest Hemingway had a his house full of these "abnormal" polydactyl cats.  In fact, even decades after his death his home in Florida is still a haven for the descendants of his original six-toed cat that he received as a gift from a ship's captain.  


These type of cats are said to be much more common on the East Coast than here in the West.  I personally hadn't come across one until we adopted Ernie after someone dumped her at our non-pet friends' house.  At the time we had a hard time telling if she was indeed a girl, so I called her Ernie and Mr. MoonCat was calling her "Hemi".  Got a little confusing since we already have a "Hammy" in the house.