longtime browser, first time joiner from Indy

Discussion in 'New Member Introductions' started by cwaf, Jan 8, 2013.

  1. cwaf

    cwaf Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Indianapolis, IN
    Hello! I live in Indianapolis, IN and began with my chickens last year. On Feb 29th I purchased 3 straight run Black Australorps and 3 "miscellaneous reds"--which I believe to be Red Stars--from Tractor Supply. I ended up with one rooster (Australorp) and five ladies. I created a small coop from the back part of my utility shed and fenced in an area around it for their run. I built two nest boxes off the back of the shed/coop, which opened to the outside, to make it easier to collect them. My small flock quickly was allowed to roam the entire back yard when I was home, and that led to them roaming it all the time. hahaha My vegetable garden took a big hit and one of their favorite places to hang out was underneath my tomato plant "jungle". They loved the shade and hollowed out areas to snooze in. I can testify that I had no weeds growing beneath the plans since they scratched up everything! of course, other areas took a hit and my new strawberries were pretty scratched up. They discovered that they could scratch up my potatoes and take a test bite of them, leaving them laying exposed to the sun. There will be changes for this year so I can have my gardens undisturbed!

    My reds are prolific layers, rarely missing a day, and the eggs are usually of the extra large variety (or bigger). The Australorps have been somewhat of a disappointment because the smaller of the two lays a much smaller egg---probably a large--and maybe 4 times a week. The larger of the two Australorps laid about the same frequency but a larger egg. However, she has only laid about 3 eggs in the past 2 months (and those have all been since new years) and is, for the most part, banished from the flock. The rooster runs her away whenever she attempts to eat any food I set out for them all. She has to wait until the others have their fill and walk away before she is allowed to come forward. (I try to toss stuff her way without the rooster knowing it, tho). She is sometimes allowed to join them in scratching and exploring, but most of the time, she is across the yard from them, looking very sad. At night they will all head to the coop, but some times the large Australorp is not allowed to enter, as the rooster stands guard. This became a problem as the weather turned cold. There have been a few nights that I have to physically pick her up and carry her into the coop for the night. A month ago, before it got cold, I surrendered the entire shed to them for a large coop (my mover and other items sit outside beneath a tarp). The flock--ALL of them--began physically attacking the large Australorp at the same time inside the coop. I watched the rooster pin her to the floor and the others surround her and peck away! I currently have an old dog cage inside the coop and I was putting the Australorp in there for her own safety. I release her for the day to roam but put her back into the cage or the night. The last 2 or 3 nights I have left the cage open because I have found her on the roosts a couple of times--much to my surprise. However, this morning when i went to feed and open the door, she was pinned in a corner, trying to hide from them. I may be seeking a new home for her if they continue not to let her join the group.

    The week before Christmas I hatched 5 of 8 eggs from my girls in a homemade incubator. If the camera is not laying on its side, and my wireless connection has not died, this should be a live feed for their little area. http://www.ustream.tv/channel/cwaf . There area is about 6 feet long and 30 inches wide for the moment. It is a puppy pen donated to me and it sits on a large piece of cardboard covered with pine shavings. It is in my house so they are warm. They have a lamp for warmth, a hanging feeder, and a plastic bottle with a watering nipple. They were hatched 12-21 through 12-23-12 and they are growing like weeds. I tossed the cardboard incubator (it was a mess) when finished and built a new incubator from a plastic storage container. I currently have 6 eggs in it, placed on 1-3-2013. [FONT=Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif] We shall see if I have success from this batch, and how many roosters I end up with! I do not want or need any more roosters so they will have to be rehomed as needed.[/FONT]

    [FONT=Helvetica Neue, Helvetica, Arial, sans-serif]My introduction was rather long, I see, and I apologize for my ramblings! lol This forum has been a wealth of information for me and I thank you all. [/FONT]
     
  2. redsoxs

    redsoxs Chicken Obsessed

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    Greetings from Kansas, cwaf, and [​IMG]! Glad you joined our community! Wow! What a great intro! In reference to the Black Australorps laying 4 eggs/day...that isn't bad at all. The Red Stars will likely outpace that but 4 eggs per day is really nothing to sneeze at.
    With the ostracized bird, sounds like she is merely at the bottom of the pecking order. If they tolerate her presence at all, I think it is probably this. That also explains her reluctance to enter the coop. Does she go in after the others are in and on the roost? Do they ever draw blood are excessively feather pick? If so, she will need to be isolated, near but protected from the flock.
    Sounds like you are a hatching success story! I may PM for you for tips! [​IMG] I plan to try that this spring.
    Best of luck to you in all your chicken exploits and have fun on BYC!
     
  3. Kevin565

    Kevin565 Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

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    [​IMG]
     
  4. cwaf

    cwaf Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Indianapolis, IN
    hiya redsox! Nope! I am not complaining about 4 or even 3 eggs a day! My only problem is I have so many people who want to buy my eggs that sometimes there are not enogh for us! hahaha When I picked up the Australorps last spring, it was after reading about what great egg layers they are, and that I could expect almost one a day from them. I was pleasantly surprised to see the reds crank them out the way they do.
    On the pecking order thing, I am not sure how this all developed. She is by far the largest of my 5 ladies and was always the one who pushed the reds around. She will still do that from time to time if one gets separated from the others. However, the General always had his favorite--and she is one of the reds. Maybe he found the large Austrlorp picking on her one day, decided he no longer liked the black and began his campaign against her. I do not know! I have never seen any blood but there are now a lot of loose black feathers in the coop in the corners where she tries to hide. I began wondering if she was sick or if she was so stressed that she stopped laying. I told my wife that New Years day was the deadline---either she laid or she was going to find a new home. I placed an ad on Craigslist that day and lo and behold! and egg from her in her cage in late afternoon! I promptly removed the ad to see if she will become a regular layer again. She had a rubber egg outside on the 3rd, and then on the 4th she laid a HUGE egg. It was the largest I have ever seen. It was easliy 2 1/2 times larger than the extra large eggs the reds have been laying! Since it would not come close to fitting in the egg carton, we ate it the next day. I was not surprised to have a double yolker. But, she has not laid since the 4th now. We shall see. :)
     
  5. cwaf

    cwaf Out Of The Brooder

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    Jan 8, 2013
    Indianapolis, IN
    thanks, Kevin!
     
  6. kidcody

    kidcody Overrun With Chickens

    [​IMG] [​IMG] from washington state glad you joined us!
     
  7. bloonskiller911

    bloonskiller911 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
  8. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

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    Rep of Ireland
    Hello and welcome to BYC [​IMG] Glad you joined us!
     
  9. cwaf

    cwaf Out Of The Brooder

    74
    2
    31
    Jan 8, 2013
    Indianapolis, IN
  10. cwaf

    cwaf Out Of The Brooder

    74
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    31
    Jan 8, 2013
    Indianapolis, IN
    thanks!
     

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