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Monday, November 22, 2010

Ready to Hatch, Green Lunchbox & Redbacks

Chicks Hatching This Week...
Hatching date is fast approaching and I'm getting excited.  I candled the eggs again the other night but didn't really know what I was looking at.  However, they have clearly grown so I am doing something right.  I could see a big dark shadow and the air sac in all the remaining eggs.  We have 9 left after I discarded the 3 that weren't doing anything.

So, today is day 18 and they're due to hatch day 21.  I've prepared a brooder box for chicks (more on that later).  I've stopped turning the eggs and left them on damp paper towel with their pointy ends slightly down.  The paper is to help with feet traction and cleaning up.  No more lifting the lid unless absolutely necessary.  I've filled both trays with water in an attempt to raise the humidity.  Apparently the chicks need higher humidity when they're hatching so their shells don't stick.  Unfortunately, the water mustn't have been warm enough because the temperature has dropped.  I'm not panicking yet though.  Will wait a couple more hours and hope it gets up before panicking.

I've said before, this incubator came with instructions that were unhelpful so I'm not sure if this is right, but I've put the 2nd shelf back on top.  I really couldn't figure out what it was needed for before and it obstructed my view a bit of the temperature gauge but I guess it's there to prevent hatched chicks from jumping up and getting decapitated by a spinning fan!  Unfortunately, it kinda spoils our viewing pleasure, but hopefully we'll still get a good squiz through the grate. 

Green Lunchbox Seminar...
The other week I attended a free seminar run by our local council.   It's called the Green 'Lunchbox' Seminar Series.  The one I attended was on chickens but there's another one to go on "Keeping Cool Without Fossil Fuel" presented by CERES on Tuesday 7 December, 12.30-1.30pm.  So if you live or work near Footscray you might be interested in attending.  You can register here Maribyrnong City Council.

The chicken seminar was presented by Dan from Very Edible Gardens and covered all stuff chickens including: why to keep chickens, what sort of chickens to choose, how to house and feed them, keeping vermin away, straw yards etc.  All in an hour, as well as answering our questions.  VEG also have information about chooks on their website here. And they run lots of courses at various places throughout the year.

and in other creepy crawly news...
Red-back I found a couple of years ago when I was moving bricks.
I cleaned up the garden during the week - you know being Spring I thought it about time I put away the rubbish that had accumulated on the back step and cut the weeds grass, etc.  (I am a bit lazy of a lazy gardener!)  And I thought it about time I cleaned the outdoor table setting seeing as we've had lots of nice weather and we've been plopping our botts on dirty, cobwebby chairs.  Well, I was surprised by three (yes THREE) red-back spiders nesting under three separate chairs.  And an egg!  Now I know red-backs are everywhere and they aren't aggressive, they've obviously been happily hiding there all year but it gave me a fright.  I am a big baby when it comes to spiders.  Scared stiff.  I've been known to burst into tears at the sight of a huntsman.  Little spiders aren't too scary to me but little red-backs are.  Apparently, no-one has actually died in Australia from a red-back spider bite in the last 50 years since they developed antivenom.  You're unlikely to get bitten by one (only the female bites) unless you put your hand right in the web or something.  But still... I don't like it!  A couple of years ago I found one when when I was moving a pile of bricks (see picture above).  But that didn't bother me - red-backs can hide in bricks and rubbish and wood stacks - that's as it should be.  But I'm not happy about them nesting near my bottom.  So now I'm obsessively checking out all the cob webs around the house and ordering Monkey Man to deal with suspicious looking ones.  Just for your information red-back webs are messy and dirty and strong and we have a plague of them in Melbourne at the moment.

Oh, and of course, I'm reminded of the old Aussie song from my childhood Redback on the Toilet Seat which I've had spinning in my head for a couple of days. 

7 comments:

  1. Those sound like great seminars. Gosh! I would be so nervous around those spiders!!! I know it is silly of me but i cannot help it. I am a total wimp around some spiders.

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  2. So nice to read about the chickens (spiders...not so much;). I'm trying to learn as much as possible about them as we would love to have a few maybe next year (chickens...not spiders)

    Happy gardening to you,

    Tessa (aka dirtdigger)

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  3. I like spiders, and snakes. I am getting chickens too...one of the hens has gone clucky! Will that make you a mother (again) and me a grandmother (again)? I've got my fingers crossed for you.

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  4. Yep I'm with you Carol. I know it's silly but spiders make me shake. Thanks for your good wishes Tessa and Hazel. Good luck with your clucky hen too Hazel.

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  5. Veggie, I'd be freaking out with those spiders, I think I would have moved by now. And near your bum... I don't know how to spell the sound I am making at the thought.

    Hey, what did chicken dude say about vermin? Great word vermin. Not so great when you have to say it because you have had some of the larger vermin IN YOUR HOUSE.

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  6. Well Ali to be fair the redbacks were outside in the garden setting not in the house. I don't want to scare you but I reckon you'd find plenty of them in your own backyard in Brisbane. Why don't you have a little hunt! The chicken dude said if you manage it properly you won't get vermin. I know you own chickens so don't tell me he's wrong. Besides, I know my chickens will be clean and fluffy and no rats will want to come near them! Where you have scraps and food lying around you'll get vermin so he said feed them in the morning and only feed them enough for the day. The straw, deep litter system is good too and he recommended having the feeder hanging off the ground with maybe a brick or something for the chickens to reach it. Actually, I'm not sure if I'm remembering this bit properly. I know rats climb and I bet they can jump as high as a chicken.

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  7. Oh Ali, I just re-read your post and realised you were talking about vermin in your house not mine. Eeeew. Well I know the feeling. I've been there - not rats but mice.

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