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Discussion in 'Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the SOP' started by Yellow House Farm, Feb 3, 2011.
Thank you. That is helpful.
Arielle, I do not have a lot of experience with broody mothers. I enjoyed that for the first time this year.
I have and do raise all of my growers on "grass". I am convinced that this makes for better and healthier birds. I do not think they need any coaching. Instinctively every bird has what it takes.
Concerning managing them, it is something that has to be felt out. Depends on your scenario, and birds. Most are not going any farther than 150' from their house, if that helps. I use mobile grow out pens, where they are raised directly on the grass. I start by letting them out for an our or two in the evening, and going from there.
I do not promote insect populations, but if I were it would be with simple compost piles. By simple, I mean just piling up a half /half pile of leaves and grass clippings. Over the course of the year, an entire little ecosystem will have populated the pile. The growers will spend most of their time scratching through these piles.
I think fencing is important. A couple stray dogs can wipe you out in an hour. Hawks do much of their hunting in the morning. I am not saying that they do not hunt at other times of the day, but most of it is in the morning. Letting them out after does cut the threat down. Hawks are opportunistic, so they are not governed by a clock. It just helps. Most of the other predators are night time problems, when they are secure in their houses. Dogs is what I worry about the most. Something like a hawk will get one or two before I notice. A couple dogs do not quit until there is no more to do.
I like to grow out a few more than what i feel like I need. I think that raising poultry means losing one here or there, even when we do everything we are supposed to. Chickens die. If you have those extras, it is not the end of the world if something catches you off guard. Except that it is usually the bird you have your eye on.
I think another thing that someone can do to improve the range is a planting mix. Even it is just a patch. Some of the forage plants developed for deer/turkey hunters have a lot of digest able protein. The hang up is that it is easy to start spending more than you would on feed. I think the most practical approach is quality feed, and take advantage of what you have.
THank you. great information.
Do your growers only recieve gras or do you use a supplement of any kind?
ANd I totally agree, fencing is everything. Stray dogs are the worst for sure. Fencing has moved to the number 1 consideration--
What is in your grass mix?? As I hand clip the grasses here I am realizing very tall or very stemmy types, ie TImothy will not be what a chicken will eat. THe horses and sheep will take that, but there needs to be something for the chickens.
I think that he means raised on the ground as opposed to wire. Something like this waterfowl brooder tractor we built. The top is enclosed with wire now also.
Did a quick search on SOP Med breeds, all seem to be non-setters. Do most use a sub-flock of broody moms? In the past I have used silkies and orpingtons. Silkies tend to be rather poor moms as they rank very low in the flock and are hassled. Harvery Ussery suggested using a sub-flock of broody old english game.
I would rather tolerate some broodiness in my main flock, then further divide my flock into more breeds to care for. It is challenging to source genetics from Kauai, HI.
The RIR comes, in part, from Malayan background. I keep coming back to that breed, but am having trouble finding NPIP certified breeders who preferably live on the w. coast.
The Mediterranean breeds ARE classified as non-setters but I can tell you that in my 8 or so years of raising Andalusians, I have had a family of hens that has at least one of the new daughters go broody every year. I hang onto these birds as I want to promote broodiness, however like you, not to an extreme. I have one hen here that is 4 years old this year and has for the first time in her life gone broody for me. I'm pleased with the situation as incubating and brooding and caring for chicks is a lot of extra work for me that I don't need. I would much rather let a hen do it for me!
There are others on this thread that raise Mediterranean breeds and they have defied their classification as well.
I have American Game x Silver Phoenix crosses here that keep me in the feed store all year round buying biddie start to grow. They don't lay well but they set excellent. Very good momma hens too, protective and smart and feed their youngins too.
We get broody Anconas on occasion too. If not disturbed they set fine, and I've found them to be ridiculously defensive mother hens.
Check the heritage Rhode Island Red thread for stock, I'm sure you'll find someone on the west coast.
This was taken from the ALBC website...
Andalusian chickens stand high in productivity. It is one of the best layers of eggs, an excellent winter egg producer, has white flesh with plenty of breast meat – though the carcass is not very plump, it is an active forager, rugged and hardy. The chicks feather and mature quickly; cockerels will often begin crowing at seven weeks of age. The body type, more coarse than a Leghorn, is easy to produce and maintain.
This sounds like an excellent breed to work with. I could always work the broodiness back in over time.
Are there any NPIP certified Andalusian breeders on the W. Coast. I will also post this same question on the "Andalusian" thread.
What are your thoughts on shipping eggs to HI from the E. Coast. Is it possible? Would the eggs remain viable? Aloha,