The Wife & I have the Bug...we are addicted and love our chickens. We started with the intent of chickens for eggs for our family. We hoped to be able to sell the surplus eggs to support our investment. This was not a spur of the moment decision. We researched and shopped around and surfed the web looking for information. We decided on a coop style and size and the construction began.
Our original purchase was for 25 pullets and one cockerel from Murray McMurray. They added a White Crested Black Polish (heretofore known as Snowball ) and an additional pullet to our order. This made our flock 27/1. We truly became engrossed in the girls and their quirky personalities. We were entranced with the daily changes and entertained by how they interacted with each other and us. Our flock soon jumped to 34 hens & one Roo with the purchase of seven young hens from a cousin. (3 RIR, 3 BO & 1 BR) We added one more BO from the same cousin. We had missed this bird during the original upgrade because we did the transfer at night and this girl was in a box sitting on a clutch of eggs. We got the hen and her 8 new chicks. Unfortunately, four of the new chicks didn't make it. So now the count is 40 (39/1). You would think that would be enough! But NOOOOOO!!!!! We went to a bird sale with my brother (another backyard chicken rancher) with no intent of increasing our flock. We found a White Crested Black Polish (heretofore known as Suzie ) that we thought would be a good companion for Snowball. They were about the same age & size. When we left we had not only the BCWP, but also two OEG Banty Roos and five Banty Pullets.(Wilbur, Orville, Mari, Lacy, Daisy, Maisy, and Lilly). This brought our census to 44/3.
Since we had no intention of raising yard ornaments, we didn't have a place for them to live. We didn't want to put them in with the big girls because they are kinda grouchy with strangers. We kept the new birds separate to ensure they were healthy. Meanwhile, I started construction of the Banty Coop .
Unfortunately Lacy & Lilly were in fact sick and did not survive, and Mari turned out to be a Roo. DW changed his name to Sampson, I call him mLarry. We were also pretty fortunate with the chicks we got. They are RIR and BO cross. Three pullets and one cockerel (Butch) So our flock census is now at 41 girls and 5 guys.
Gilda our resident Bio-Bater would not be detered from from the natural order of things. She found what she thought was a suitable place to start a new brood of babies. A small barrel that I kept straw in. Unfortunately it was a favored spot of many of the girls to lay eggs. Gilda began her three week task of brooding her new clutch, but some of the other ladies didn't get the memo and continued making deposits. After a week or so I moved Gilda and her clutch to a brooder box that I fashoined from an unused dog kennel. The move went well and Gilda settle in to her new brooder box. Unfortunately only three of the 13 eggs hatched and this was over a week. I continued to let her set on the eggs for five days after the first three and later thought that maybe I should have let her continue to set. I was concerned that the new babies would get neglected or sat upon. Live and lern. We added Janet, Casper and Kirk. Don't let the names fool you though. Janet turned out to be a cockeral and Casper and Kirk were pullets.
One of Gildas earlier hatches, an unnamed RIR BO cross, also was overtaken with the urge. She sat on six eggs and hatched four. Two cockerals and two pullets.
Daisy our remaining Banty hen made a nest in the garage under the radial arm saw in some sawdust and managed to stay undetected throughout the brood. She hatched 13 of 13 eggs. Two of which were fullsized eggs.
Gilda made another attempt and had ten eggs in her prefered nest. She was all settled in and for some unknown reason on day four she deserted the clutch. She made another clutch while we were away on vacation so we are unsure of when she started to set. We did the math and she went over the 21 days by five days at a minimum. She hatched seven of seven on that attempt.
We had a run in with one of our neighbors who objected to a few of our girls making uninvited visits to their flower garden. We had to relocated our flock to my brothers chicken ranch while we constructed a fence. We did find out during the relocation that although chickens like to cross the road, they do not really like traffic circles. We constructed the perimeter fence from 2"x4" welded wire, 48" tall. I'm confident that it will keep the big girls in the yard, but the jury is still out on the Bantys. Plan B will be to add deer netting to raise the fence hieght to 7'.
Unfortunately the relocation process was very stressful and costly to our flock. The egg production dropped from a daily average of 24 to 2-3 eggs a day. We also lost several birds to predators. Our entire clutch of Banty Babies, Snowball, one of our BOs and two of our RIRs. Three of the seven newest also perished from unknown reasons. The birds are all back and we even picked up some BO Leghorn crosses and a Japanese banty hen from my brother.