Tag Archives: dominique

Egg Update

My babies started laying eggs the 8th or 9th of August.  If you read “Whose Egg is This?”  or “Green Eggs“,  you already know this.  With all the egg hubbub in the news and tainted eggs now reaching my neck of the woods, I figured now would be a good time to do a follow-up.  

I was pretty sure this egg wasn’t Molly’s because of the size.  Now, I’m not so sure.  That egg was the only egg we got that day and we didn’t get another little brown egg for nine more days.  It’s typical for chickens to take a day off every few days, but nine?  Plus, Molly’s egg the day after I found the tiny egg was ginormous, really pale brown and weak-shelled.  I’m thinking maybe the mini egg was Molly’s after all.  Research online leads me to believe it’s not impossible for a hen to lay a tiny egg even if she normally lays larger eggs, but I’d love to hear your opinions. 

My favorite hen.

Bella wouldn't hold still for a close-up.


I don’t think it was Bellatrix’ egg anymore because she laid her first verified egg August 17th and has only taken one day off since. Nine eggs in ten days is pretty good! 

Hermione really has beautiful markings.

Still not laying.


Hermione still hasn’t started laying, but that is typical of a larger breed bird like a Wyandotte. 

Luna's a big girl now.

Luna in the run.


So, if Molly laid the tiny egg, Luna was the first of our new girls to start laying.  She’s laid thirteen eggs in the eighteen days since she started.  Her eggs have gotten a little bigger, but her eggs will never really be large because she is a medium-sized bird.  

Between the babies, we’re getting a dozen eggs a week now.  That’s good because Molly stopped laying again the same day that Bella started.  I’m not sure if it’s permanent, but her crop is doing strange things again.  Even if Molly doesn’t start laying again, we’ll soon be getting a dozen and a half, free-range, untainted eggs a week.  I think that’ll be plenty.


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Whose Egg is This??

This weekend was the 18th Annual Dunegrass Festival in Empire, Michigan and our second annual weekend at the festival.  Aside from Dunegrass, we’ve been to Empire a lot this summer.  Day trips to the Sleeping Bear Dunes and Lake Michigan.  Day trips to North and South Bar beaches.  The kids and I even made a trip out for Food for Thought’s Green Cuisine event which technically is in Honor not Empire, but we did have to run to Empire for gas so we could make the long trip home.  These little staycations are one of the reasons I’ve been away from my blog so much.  There are posts here and here about other reasons I’ve not been around, and a couple more coming I’m sure.  

Delilah at Dunegrass

Delilah playing her bass while standing ON it.

But, I digress.  Dunegrass is technically a real vacation, not a staycation like our daytrips to the beach or the dunes.  We load up the car with food and camping gear.  We set up a campsite in the field with all the other festival-goers and we enjoy great bands like the Rachel Davis Band and Delilah DeWylde and the Lost Boys.  

 We sleep in a tent during a torrential downpour and wake up in puddles that quickly dry up the next morning in the sweltering heat and enjoy tins of Jiffy-Pop cooked over a Coleman campstove. 

Gwen and Dylan enjoying the festival.

Gwen and Dylan at Dunegrass with their balloon accessories.

So, if this is a vacation post, why is it called, Whose Egg is This??  Good question.  Even though we went away for a vacation, we drove the 17 miles back into town several times.  You see, we have animals.  The chickens?  They would have been fine.  I checked their food and water supply each time we came into town, but I never had to refill it.   

Palomino Rabbit

Fiona enjoying some time in the yard.

Our new friend, Fiona, would have been fine too although she probably would have gorged herself on all the extra food the first day and been hungry until we came back to feed her again.  I could have boarded the dog, but I didn’t.  Dogs, especially indoor dogs, have needs.  Like food.  And Water.  And the bathroom.  Mostly, that last one.  As far as I can tell, Luther doesn’t eat when we’re not home; his food sits untouched in his room until we come home and he’s sure we’re not leaving again.  However, if he had too, he would go potty inside.  He’s done it before.  Wouldn’t you? 

So, we came back into town.  When we came home Saturday morning we collected Molly Weasley’s egg from the nest box and found the “little” girls taking turns sitting in it.  I saw both Luna and Bella sitting in the box on separate occasions.  We weren’t home for a long period of time, so Hermione might have been trying it out too, but we never caught her. 

Sunday morning we came home and found this in the nest box: 

Does it even have a yolk?

Bigger than a bantam??

  Isn’t it cute?  Now we just need to figure out to whom it belongs.  

I’m pretty sure it isn’t Molly’s because she’s been laying (much larger) eggs off and on since February.  

Molly enjoying the sunshine in her new run.

It has been 19 weeks since our girls were hatched and now we have eggs!  Don’t you love Urban Farming?? 

It can’t be Luna’s, because she should be laying blue or green or pink but not brown eggs. 

Luna's a big girl now.

Luna in the run.

If I had to guess, I’d say it belonged to Hermione because she is the biggest of the three babies and according to MyPetChicken, she will be the most prolific layer of the three little girls.  But, I never actually saw her in the nest box.  I still haven’t seen her in the nest box even though the other girls have been testing it out since at least Saturday. 

Hermione really has beautiful markings.

Could it be hers?

So, it could belong to Bellatrix.  She was actually sitting in the nest a few times, but I never saw or heard her laying an egg. 

My favorite hen.

Bella wouldn't hold still for a close-up.

  I guess I won’t know for sure until I catch one of them in the act!


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Why Have I Been So Busy Lately?? Part 1 ~ The Coop Loop

As I have gotten older, I have found myself getting involved with more things.  Only natural, right?  I’ve collected new hobbies and new friends, and along with them, more responsibility.  I’d stop volunteering for committees and boards, but I really enjoy helping out and being part of something bigger than me.  Plus I love the social connections I have formed as part of these groups.

Visitors checking out the coop

Chelsea and other visitors inspecting Hogwarts Home of Eggcraft and Hennery during the Coop Loop.


Saturday, June 12th was Traverse City’s very first Coop Loop.  I’m proud to say I was part of this event even though it meant adding more meetings to my busy calendar.  This chicken parade of homes was a huge success and If I had to wager on it I would guess that around 200 visitors passed through my yard to meet the girls and inspect my husband’s handiwork.  Luna, Hermione and Bella were in the chicken tractor in the front yard and Molly was in the coop since she’s recently taken to bullying the girls and needed a time-out.  The separation actually worked out well.  If the girls had all been in the coop, it would have been too crowded.  Having chicken viewing in two parts of the yard allowed better flow for the guests.

Tuesday we had a wrap up meeting to discuss how the tour went.  We discussed what was really great about the tour, what we can change and how to make next year’s tour even better.  So, for now my chicken meetings are done, but optional social meetings will be held monthly by the Coop Loop Founders until we start planning the next tour.  Mark your calendar; next year’s tour is scheduled for the third Saturday in June. 

Discussing my chicken tractor with Kate and some other guests.

"What kind of chickens are they?"

I didn’t get to see all the coops on the tour because I was acting as a docent in my own yard, but I hope to see the other coops soon.  Until then I’ll have to get by with the pictures Gary took of our coops.  You can see the rest of them at cooploop.com


Filed under Coop Loop, urban chickens

Ready for the Big House?

A while back I told you that I won a scholarship to the Farm to Cafeteria conference in Detroit.  I’m super excited, but going away for three or four days requires some planning.  Like finding someone to watch the dog.  And the chickens.  I’m trying to keep this as simple as possible.  One hen in the coop and three in the brooder in the house kicking woodchips everywhere is not the easiest job.  However, if they were all in one place, it wouldn’t be a bad job.  
In theory, the girls are ready to be sleeping outside.   The rule of thumb is that new chicks need to be at ninety-five or a hundred degrees and that the temperature can decrease by five degrees a week until it hits seventy.  At almost seven weeks old, we’ve reached that “safety zone”.   Their down has been replaced with feathers and they haven’t needed the light in the brooder for a while.  
It seems like the stars have aligned.  With the convergence of spring weather, the conference and the girls’ seventh week, I decided it was time.  We’ve been slowly introducing the girls to Molly and allowing them to range together in the chicken run Mr. Hippie built for me but I was still worried about putting them together for good. 
First night in the coop

Hiding in the corner.

Despite my fears, the girls spent their first night in the hen house last night.  I had lots of anxious thoughts.  Was it too cold?  Would Molly be nice to the girls?  

The last time I checked the coop temperature it was fifty degrees even though the actual temperature was considerably colder.  Seeing the girls huddled up in the corner didn’t make me feel any better though.

When I checked the coop this morning, everyone was alive and well.  I opened the hatch and went back out a bit later to see if the little girls had figured out how to get out of the coop and found everyone scratching around the pen:

The chicks survived their first night in the coop.

They made it!

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Chicks, Man

The girls are getting so big!  They’ve changed so much over the last few weeks.  They’ve lost almost all of their downy fluff and their feathers and personalities are developing. 

Here they are in the living room not paying attention to the basketball game.  This step-stool chair makes an ok perch, but it is very slippery.  Bella didn’t stay on very long but the other girls did well.

The three girls on a chair.

Luna, Bellatrix and Hermione

 Bellatrix or “Bella” is my favorite.  She comes right to you if you put your hand in the brooder, loves to be held and will sit on my lap for a long time while I work.  She’s “helping” right now. Bella’s a Dominique which is a “heritage” breed because although this breed has been around for a long time, they are now considered critically endangered.

My Bella

Bellatrix "roosting"

 Here she is with Dylan. 

Bellatrix perched on The Boy.

Bella wouldn't pose for her picture.

Even though she wouldn’t look at the camera, you can get a nice view of the feathers coming in on her back.

Hermione, our Golden-Laced Wyandotte, is the most skittish of the three.  She won’t come to me readily but doesn’t protest once I have her. 

Hermione from behind.

View of Hermione's back.

 Her feathers aren’t as evenly developed as the other girls’ feathers are, but she’s starting to catch up.  She still has crazy “hair” but her lipstick is pretty, isn’t it?

Hermione: front view

Hermione close up.

 Luna, an Easter-Egger, looks like a hawk. 

Luna Lovegood

You are the falcon and I am The Falconer.

The pattern on her wings is very pretty.  Luna is the biggest and the bossiest of the three.  She’ll probably lay green eggs, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for blue.

Luna Lovegood

Backside view of Luna


Filed under urban chickens


It’s been awhile since I did a chick post, so when I saw this post at Grow & Resist and then this post at Traverse City Urban Chickens  I decided it was time to show you some more pictures of my little ladies.  It seems like only yesterday they were little, fuzzy fluffballs. 

My three little chicks in the brooder.

Day old chicks!

Remember these little cuties?  Starting at top left and moving clockwise you can see our Dominque, Bella; Luna, the Easter-Egger and Hermione, the Golden-Laced Wyandotte.  They change so quickly I wish I would have taken more pictures but you’ll have to settle for my sporadic time-lapsed photography. 

Luna, Hermione and Bellatrix

Happy Easter!

Here on Easter Sunday, the girls were six days old.  You can just see their wing feathers starting to develop.  Top left is Hermione, Bellatrix is in the center and Looney Luna is along the right side.

17 day old chicks

The girls at 17 days perched on Mr. Hippie (who was playing camera-shy).

Hermione wouldn’t stay turned-around but at least from this view you can see her tail feathers.  Luna is center and Bella on the right.  You can see their feathers starting to come in but they still have a lot of downy fluff.

The girls in the brooder

The girls at twenty days.

Don’t they look strange?  Their bodies are mostly feathered, but their heads are all fluff.  It makes their necks look extra spindly.  Luna (in the center) is way ahead of the other girls in feather development.  She reminds me alternately of a hawk and a road runner.  Bella (on the left) is still my favorite, but I think once Hermione’s feathers come in she is going to be beautifully marked.  She is the most skittish of the three.  If I put my hand into the brooder, Hermione runs into a corner, Luna mostly ignores me and Bella jumps right into my hand.  All three will tolerate being held once they are caught, but Bella seems to want to be held.  Luna is the most confident and tries to escape the brooder to explore if the lid is left open. 

The kids and I put them into the chicken run to introduce them to Molly yesterday.  It went ok.  Not well, but ok.  They all just stood there.  Nobody moved.  And then. . .  Molly started pecking at the chicks to see what was going on with them.  Once both Luna and Hermione had been pecked once I decided it was time to go back inside.  We’ll try again soon.


Filed under urban chickens

A Picture’s Worth 1000 Words

Luna, Hermione and Bellatrix

Happy Easter!


Filed under Silent Sunday

Look Who’s Here!

I was going to write a post about my friend Stephanie’s visiting bantam chicks.  I mean they’re tiny.  And super cute.  See:

Stephanie's chicks

Spring Break visitors: 8 bantam chicks

But, ever since the demise of the roosters, I’ve been waiting for the day we could have chicks.  That day is today!  Tony over at Traverse City Urban Chickens coordinated the chick order for us.  We placed the order a long time ago but because of the numbers and varieties of chicks we selected, we had to wait until now for the “stars to align”.  Our chicks hatched yesterday and arrived this morning.  Nine little girls in a box. 

Little box of baby chcikens.

The box the babes popped out of.

The little box is so cute.  Tony let me take it to transport my three girls home from his house.  He has pictures of all the girls in the box and of the girls shortly after their arrival here.  He also has an amazing brooder that I’m sure he’ll share some pictures of when he gets a minute.

We’re reusing the guinea pig cage brooder that we used for our first four chicks, but I gotta tell ya, day-old-chicks are so much cuter than month-old-chicks.

My three little chicks in the brooder.

They like to stand in the food to eat but the chick feeder is way too big right now.

Our day-old chicks are already as big as Steph’s banty chicks but they are all fluff.  It will take a while for their feathers to come in.  I’ll post pictures regularly, but don’t count on daily a la “Three Chicks a Day“; that’s been done already.  However, these girls are different varieties so the pics’ll be different even if I did opt to follow in Josh Elliot’s footsteps. 

When I ordered my chicks I chose them based on the characteristics of the adults.  I had forgotten what the chicks looked like and was surprised at how dark my little ladies are. 

Are you ready to meet them?

Hermione Granger

This is Hermione, a Golden-Laced Wyandotte.

"Loony" Luna Lovegood

Here's Luna Lovegood. I named her that because she'll lay "Loony" blue, green or pink eggs.

Bellatrix LeStrange

Bellatrix LeStrange. I hope she isn't evil like her namesake but she'll be black and white.

And, that is why I had to rename Chicken Cacciatore.  After we culled the roosters from our flock I started calling her Ginny for Ginny Weasley because she’s a Rhode Island Red.  But then I decided that  since she’s much older than all my new girls she should have a more mature name.  So, her permanent name is Molly Weasley after the matriarch of the Weasley clan. 

Molly in all her glory

Molly loves a dust bath.

I’ll introduce the girls to Molly when they’re a little bit older but for now they’re safe in their brooder.


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Bittersweet Beginning

If you’ve been following my chicken saga, you are by now well aware that three-quarters of my flock turned out to be of the illegal crowing variety.   So, now what??  Well, the roos have to go.  There are, I suppose, several options.  I could try to sell them.  I could give them away on Craig’s List or Frecycle, or maybe even take them to the humane society.  Or, I could butcher them. 

Butchering was always our plan.  From the very beginning, the children were told that if any of the chicks were roosters, they would be dinner.  And, that when the hens stopped producing, they would have to go too.  Mr. Hippie was researching guillotines months ago when we first started thinking one or more of them might be roosters.  He never got as far as actually building a chicken guillotine, but he was pretty intent on building one for a while.  However, the city ordinance that allows four hens and bans roosters also prohibits the (outdoor) slaughter of chickens in town. 

So, I put in a call to Olds’ Farm.  I get a lot of poultry from them and have purchased everything from their maple syrup to their ground beef.  In addition to produce and ethically-raised meats, Olds Farm also offers poultry processing.  I’ve got a call in to them to have my roos butchered.  As soon as they get enough birds scheduled, they’ll call me back to let me know the drop-off date for my three.  It’s sad, but I’ve come to grips with the omnivore’s dilemma.  I’ve arrived at a place that every conscious omnivore must reach.  If I can’t raise and eat my own birds, why is it okay for me to march into the grocery store and buy an already slaughtered chicken?  If I can’t eat those three roosters, I don’t feel justified consuming meat.   Granted, there is still a separation between me and the actual slaughtering of the birds.  I’m not quite There yet, but I think I will be eventually.

With every yin there is a yang.  When one door closes, another opens.  Whichever idiom you choose, good and bad seem to go hand in hand.  This time is no different.  I may be losing three roosters, but now I have the opportunity to raise chicks.  Day.  Old.  Chicks.  Fellow blogger Tony of TC Bok Bok is ready to start his adventures in urban chicken farming and we’re ordering our chicks together.  This will mean safer, warmer transport for the young chicks, and shared shipping costs. 

I’m paying a little more for them than I did for the last “girls”, but the chicks from My Pet Chicken are guranteed to be girls so as Tony says, the extra cost is hen “insurance”.  Plus I got to pick the varieties of chicks that I wanted!  The order is in and I’m getting three chicks  the last week of March.  An Easter-Egger, a Dominique and a golden-laced Wyandotte are on their way to keep my soon-to-be lonely Rhode Island Red hen company.   I can’t wait to meet them!


Filed under urban chickens