Icelandic Chickens - Page 2171
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I like the look of your free range space!! Your flock will love it! Have you put a piece of sod into the brooder yet? It will give them something to scratch in and exposes them gradually to whatever is in your soil. I use a piece that I have cut from the edge of a border that would need to be removed or from a place that is inconspicuous. It should come from a place that your current flock has access to.
Your three week old chicks are typical. The "95 degree, lowering 5 degrees each week brooder" isn't the best for Icelandics (or other chicks for that matter). I have two EcoGlows, one small and one large, that I use for my broiler chicks. It is so much more like what they would experience with a hen. Running under the heat when they need it, and not being "heated" to the point they can not escape it, just makes more sense. For those that would like a cheaper option than the brooder plates, check-out this BYC thread: http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update
Loki, Autumn and Summer are looking good and it is great news to hear Hippie Chick is wise enough to know she should be inside! Your new additions will give you a wonderful, varied flock.
Here are Heppni's five, just over 6 weeks old here, up on top of the "rabbit hutch turned broody coop". Notice the one blonde looking down into the coop. That is the side they were in with Heppni but is now occupied by Játa and her two chicks.
My flock roosts in the rafters of our barn/shed. They are up at least 10 feet off the ground. They do have a few ways to get up closer so they aren't flying straight up the 10 feet. There is the "rabbit hutch turned broody coop", a half wall and wooden "ladder" that they use as a "step" up.
They are escape artists, that is for sure! Vikings love to roam!!
- Chicken George
Well decided to come up for air… I am just past page 550 of the thread, and have just been through all of the Mothers Day wishes and such. Except it was for 2011, so five years ago. Shawn just had his daughter and Mary had an Emu pass. The life and times of interesting people. I will get done with this thread a lot sooner, if you folks would not post so much.
I have enjoyed the knowledge and experience gained from those who have blazed this path. Thanks. We are still enjoying our flock, and enjoy seeing yours. Everyone has been quite nice and helpful. It has been fun to share the experience with others whom are just getting going as well. As bird projects go, thus far we have never been so happy with a breed/landrace. We are in the center of town, but a small town. We have about three acres, perhaps a little more, for our birds to range. We are and have been free rangers. I have never, as of yet, built a run for my birds. Our half of the block is their run. We will see if the Icelandics exceed these boundaries, I suppose, in short order. The four adult birds we have have been good thus far and not exceed the confines of our ten acre block.
We have scrubs and trees and this spot in the picture, under the weeping cherry tree. Out neighbor has a firewood business and they let the birds roam and dig holes there, they are thankful for the bug eaters and some fresh eggs. I have been making the contacts needed to phase out my heritage hens, and change over to Icelandics only. I think I will keep my Banty OEGB birds. But we will see. I normally have around fifty birds in two coops. Just a number that works for me. Don't know that I want more, but we enjoy that many. And with them broken up into groups, we only see ten or so at a time anyway. I tease the DW that she is going to have to step up her game… she is a tad slow to catch these fast little devils.
Rest to all and your birds,
Edited by RJSorensen - 5/6/16 at 6:55pm
I would love to free range but frankly I'm a little scared. I've been told by an icelandic breeder that they aren't good at escaping hawks until after they grow out of their juvenile phase. When I moved here last fall I put up wild bird feeders & I didn't even make it back to the house before a hawk swooped at the feeder. Maybe that was just coincidence but I'm a little paranoid now. lol. I did keep the bird feeders up but put them inside trees instead of hanging on outer branches like I've always done before.
And then there are many other predators we have here, including my dumb dogs. So far I don't think the dogs are really sure what to think of the chickens other than to clean up the chicken poop but today the male lunged @ the run. I was not happy...I see foxes quite often & know there are minks, racoons, etc, etc. along with housecats that my neighbors let free range in my yard
Having so few hens I even thought about trying to let the roos free range while keeping the hens inside but I'm pretty sure that would never work on a continuing basis unless I seperate them in different coops (I am talking to someone about building another as "leasing" space in 1 didn't pan out). If I lose the hens I have to start all over again & that thought is unbearable.
Does anyone have any words of wisdom about 1) teaching dogs to happily co-exist (mine are Chesapeake Bay Retrievers so there is a prey drive) and 2) free ranging in general? I know locking them up @ night is important but another of my friends had foxes attacking hers during the day. I know icelandics are supposed to be better @ avoiding predators which is 1 of the many reasons I wanted them. Do they do that great of a job that it isn't an issue?? If so, do you wait until they mature? Keep in mind that mine do not have an older chicken showing them the ropes. Do you not have many predators? Do you just accept a few losses here & there as part of the cost of raising chickens? Anything else you think would be helpful??
@RJSorensen It seems you have the best of both worlds, large area but in a small town that allows chickens! What a great neighbor a firewood lot would be! Bugs for the taking! The weeping cherry is lovely and your heritage hens make it even more beautiful. It looks like, from the picture, that you have all brown egg layers. You could keep them and put your Icelandic cockerel(s) with them. The different egg color with allow you to collect all the crossbred eggs and therefore not worry about hatching them and mixing your flock. The adult hens will "teach" the cockerels a thing or two before you add in the pullets.
My flock loves to free range, and while we have four acres, our property is only 215 feet wide. The "lots" along our side of the road are all long, north to south, and on the narrow side, east to west. My neighbors are good about my flock "stretching" the property lines, but, in general, the flock stays closer to home. Both of our neighbor's homes set farther back than our house and our barn/shed/coop is in front of our house. My neighbor to the west has two dogs, a St Bernard and a Pug (nice combo, huh?), that the chickens are aware and they avoid. The neighbor on the east has teen-aged boys that are in tons of activities and they aren't home much. When they are, they are shooting hoops or mowing or, in the summer, spending time in their pool. The chickens will roam over their gravel drive to the tree line but don't go near the house. Occasionally, when they have company, they will come over with younger children and ask to see the chicks or chickens, which I happily allow. You never know when one of them will "catch the bug" and want chickens!
Great hatch rate on the shipped eggs, chickadoo!! Making a "picture record" will help you in the future to identify what your chicks might, and I emphasize might, look like. Take pictures every two weeks for the first three months and then every month for a year. Label them and keep them so you can go back and compare them with future hatches. There is no predicting what will hatch from two pure Icelandics.....except that it will be a pure Icelandic! Special care needs to be taken to make sure you keep them from any contact that could allow crossbreeds to be hatched.