Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Chickens

Tomorrow night I take my roosters to be harvested. I guess it's time to finally post about my chickens.

Before the chickens arrived, the girls and I worked hard and got homes ready for them. We went and got the necessary supplies - feeders, waterers, lights. (and looked at the store's baby chicks of course)






For housing I was able to snag a few polydome calf hutches for free.



The cat and dog were *very* interested and curious.



The morning that the chicks arrived, the post office called me early. Very early. So I loaded the kids in the car and we went and picked them up.

I told you it was early.


The kids helped me unload the chicks.





So thirsty after the trip.



So tired after the trip.


There were, unfortunately, some issues with the shipment. I was supposed to get 20 straight-run Buckeyes, 10 straight-run Buff Orpingtons, 10 female Ameraucanas, and 10 female Cuckoo Marans. I got all but the Marans. Within three days, all but nine of the Buckeyes were dead. The hatchery was wonderful with both issues - they sent me the Marans the next week and sent me ten more Buckeyes (along with reimbursing me for the dead Buckeyes). After some trouble-shooting in chicken forums, with the hatchery, and on a Buckeye email list, it was decided that, given the symptoms, the only explanation for the massive amount of chick deaths was improper humidity in the incubator for that batch of chicks. It was not a nice way to start my chicken project. I have issues with death. Have I shared that story? I'll have to share that story sometime.

Here we are picking up the second batch of chicks. Ainsley and Grayson went on strike and slept through that trip. Wimps.

Here's Hannah holding a week old Buckeye and a newborn Buckeye.


The hatchery messed up this second order, also, sending straight run Cuckoo Marans. They were great about refunding, but that still doesn't help me with my laying when at least five of my ten birds are boys. Not a big deal this year since I'm not selling eggs yet, but disappointing nonetheless.

The girls have been great about helping me chore. Ainsley loved helping with the waterers. She picks out her own clothes. You never know who you'll need to impress while feeding chicks.


Here are some recent snapshots of my birds.

The chickens in this group are the Ameraucanas. I got the "Easter Eggers", so they're really just mutts, not true Ameraucanas. They look like mutts too. They are *big* birds. At least one, possibly two, of my "female" Ameraucanas are males.


I think that this one is a rooster.


This one is definitely a rooster.




This group is the Cuckoo Marans. Both of these are roosters. You can see the hens in the group shots. They're smaller and much darker. Very aloof birds.



These are the Buff Orpingtons. They have the reputation of being gentle birds, and they live up to it.



These are the Buckeyes. They are the breed that I want to start a breeding flock of. Unfortunately I don't believe that I have a male of breeding quality in my batch this year, so I'll keep the females and see if I get a great rooster next year. If I do, then I'll pick which hens go in the breeding group and which just stay in the egg-laying group.

These birds are much more aggressive (active) feeders - I wish I could have them on pasture right now. They're not at all aggressive around my girls. They're pretty things. Very solid.

This is a group shot of Buckeyes. The one in the front, with his back to the camera is my only light Buckeye. He is noticeably lighter than the other Buckeyes.





And here are just some gratuitous dinner time shots.


Chickens and Desiree watching each other.

2 comments:

Nita said...

Gosh Sarah, great long post, I miss our laying flock (for about 5 seconds) and then I come to my senses. I like just having a dozen hens. But, your's look great, it's a bummer about the new chicks. We had that experience with our turkeys this year and I have been too upset to post about it yet, but I will.

My favorite pic is of all your sleepy helpers in the car.

Sarah said...

Nita, I really enjoy these birds so far. They won't be laying for another few months. I will be happy when I start seeing some return for the investment. :)

Aren't those sleepy helpers darling? I love that picture.

I'm sorry about whatever happened with your turkeys. Turkeys die so easily when they're young. I was told to expect to lose quite a few to unexplainable causes, and I did lose two that were just... dead. Then with the weird spring we had, I lost one to heat and then (having adjusted the heat where they were) one to cold that night. So frustrating.

Sarah