Back into CHICKENS!!!!

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by mandelyn, Jan 5, 2017.

  1. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 30, 2009
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    We recently moved to some acreage, and of course I already had chickens again prior to the official move in. I was surprised at what they turned out to be! I bought them out of a $1 bin to go with 4 Turkey polts, as I've had way better luck with raising turkeys when I kept them with chickens initially. I picked them out carefully hoping for all girls, and chose the ones with EE type chick markings hoping for at least neat eggs for the fridge.

    Of course I was wrong on one and there was a boy, but man, he's neat! He has this wild comb (will need to get a better pic of that, he's also filled out a lot more since this picture was taken) and I love his color and beard.

    He's charged me once though, so we'll see how he continues to mature. He thought better of it and stopped short, hasn't done it since. I told him his feathers would look awful nice on a hat!

    Besides the one instance of aggression he's been perfectly reasonable, treats his girls nice, doesn't crow too much, supervises me with general respect when I'm in the coop, and he let's my tom Big Red run the show.

    He just might be a keeper! We'll see though, I have a male heavy batch of random layer breed chicks growing out and there are lot's of roo options in there. Not as neat looking though, none of the EE's have that barring like he does.


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    His hens are very basic looking, dark brown with some black around the neck and tail. One has some black lacing and is a richer brown. No beards or anything, small sized body compared to most standard breeds. The guy I got them from couldn't tell me what they were, only what he had running together.

    So imagine my surprise when this olive green egg starting coming! Neat! There is a richness to the pigment that implies an Olive Egger. Something else in the breeding darkened a light green, from the looks of it.


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    I'm restarting my chicken hobby that I had as a teenager, this time around I have a supportive husband instead of limiting parents. LOL The budget has dramatically improved, as well as the knowledge base after getting into more specific breeds the last several years. I was limited before by space and the urban setting, but not anymore! Yay!

    As a teenager I did some breeding but it was unfocused. This go around... I'm being serious. Now that we're in our 30's it's time to be serious anyways. LOL

    None of the birds I have right now are what I ultimately want, but I wasn't about to do without in the mean time either. I happened by some Bourbon Red polts who were super young, so I bought the mixed chicks to help get them started easily. Eating being the main thing, turkeys can be weird. Then my sister in law down the road offered hatching eggs from her flock... and of course I needed to plug the incubators in to make sure they worked after being in storage. So there's 34 growing out, Buff Orpington, EE, Brahma, Isa Brown, White Rocks, couple mixes. Layer coop will be full! It's supposed to be for culled hens removed from the breeding program... but I can certainly refresh the flock as needed with this improvised method.

    It will be slow going before I have cull hens for that purpose though. I did a very grown up thing and dropped stupid money on 30 chicks from Greenfire Farms. I've always been a hatching egg buyer, from other people who bought from Greenfire. I've never gone directly to them for chicks before. We're in the process of building 5 breeder tractors. In my experience, hatching is way better when the birds are on greens and quality feed. The chicks are more robust and hatch easy. Very high rates too. So keeping them on fresh grass was a primary concern in picking the housing designs.

    What's coming is 5 Blue Birchen Marans, 6 Bielefelder (2 boys and 4 girls), 5 Isbar, 7 Niederrheiner, and 7 Twentse. I skipped the Legbars because I can source decent ones locally to start with and add fresh later when I refresh the keepers. Only going to keep what we like and try something else if a whole breed gets culled. It will be awhile before I have anything to sell, only one breed we picked is auto sexing and the rest are sold as straight run. Hopefully I get enough hens! Then I have to hatch a ton and start picking traits to keep, refining as we go.

    I'm skeptical on the Marans, we'll see. I'm the most excited for the Twentse, I hope they are what they say they are! Right now my favorite breed is Legbars, the ones I had laid the prettiest blue eggs that were large in size, consistent at 5-6 eggs a week, and they're weren't pigs at the feed bowl. Started laying right on the dot of 6 months of age, no waiting around! I was impressed. They came from someone who got theirs from Greenfire.

    It's been a lot of fun getting set up. We built a coop on a trailer frame before we moved... it stayed in my dad's driveway while we house hunted and crashed at the inlaws for a year. As soon as we closed I hired a couple of guys with a proper trailer to move it, as it's max road speed was 18mph. LOL Ta-da! Instant coop upon moving in!

    The "brooder" is a 9x13 shed attached to the back of the garage. That's been handy to have! We also have a 1600sq ft barn now, but it needs work. We started on stalls for poultry while doing some additional repairs. The entire loft is getting rebuilt, and more added. The front of it is almost 3 stories tall and we don't need all that open air above. The existing loft is on the short side of it.

    We found an old foundation near the garage, we're going to build a 3 sided structure over it and level the floor with gravel and sand. That will be winter bird housing, split up by breed. Or for growing out turkeys. Haven't decided yet.

    Last Thanksgiving we had a first... since we were blessed with 3 male and 1 female on the turkey polts, two of them came to dinner. My SIL earlier in the year had bought 32 Bourbon Red hatching eggs, but only two hatched and one was black, not red. The black one is also a tom, but her hen turned out really pretty and is the same dark/rich red that my favorite tom was, so she lives with me now. The black tom too, to go with my drab/light red hen. Just to see what happens. One of my red toms had weird eyes, so he was an easy cull, and the other was mean. The black one was super sweet without being reared to be.. so he got a pardon and a girlfriend.

    Best turkey I ever had though. Used the charbroil oilless fryer, and it was AMAZING! SIL baked hers and it turned out pretty good too. The flavor was something else! They had pasture and grower feed, then sweet feed with a little corn to finish them out.
     
  2. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    That's a very handsome rooster and the egg is certainly a great color!

    Good luck with all your plans [​IMG]
     
  3. mandelyn

    mandelyn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Here is a current picture of him, much more filled out and handsome!

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  4. N F C

    N F C doo be doo be doo Premium Member

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    Very nice!
     

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