MEGA Update On Our Birds

Discussion in 'Where am I? Where are you!' started by bobhoke, Mar 15, 2015.

  1. Well we ended with eight of ten hatching. I broke the two that didn't hatch and one was a smelly double yolk and the other was likely lacking rooster love.

    So we started chickens 1 September of last year (2014) and two were four months old and four were five months old. They are all Bantam Cochins (BC). Two black, three buff and one mix.

    They started laying at seven months all at once. The most eggs we got in one day was seven. The 2nd to youngest bird is the black/buff mix (Susie) who went broody first. The second bird and the youngest (Marilyn) went broody next. The older buffs followed soon thereafter (Katherine (aka Hiccup) and Goldie). Katherine had hiccups for three months and they did not go away until she went broody...funny.

    The two head hens went broody last at the same time. These two girls hang out and hang tight. They do everything together. They are both black and we call them Hillary (Clinton) and Angie (Merkel). They are real "Bs" if you know what I of the pecking order. If one flaps their wings or takes a dirt bath the other one follows suit.

    Anyhow, the three buffs and the mix went broody about the same time and we don't have a rooster. An amazing local "BYCer" saved the day. She sold us two dozen "should be" fertile eggs. We ate seven and placed 17 under these BCs. You can safely put five (5) large eggs under a BC hen. We thought three, but wrong five maybe even six, so I assume they could manage a clutch of ten (ten) of their own eggs (tiny). Eleven eggs hatched. Six didn't make it - no biggy...first clutches and I am positive the girls are now not disappointed. The pullets are darn near bigger than them and three of the hens have already disowned them and two are laying eggs again 1.5 months after their clutches hatched. Its nice to have eggs again.

    We bought a dozen more fertile eggs from the BYCer savior and only put ten under the two hens (five each). Four hatched for each one and they are raising their chicks together...really cute and joint effort. One will keep them warm while the other is keeping watch, teaching the chicks that are out how to forage, listen and eat. I watch them so much I think I am learning their language. Its funny to learn their various alerts, food, get across the lawn, i love dirt baths, here he comes and he has food (meal worms), and other clucks and purs.

    This chicken experience has been a lot of fun and takes a lot of patience. Once of the buffs pullets died yesterday. The lesson learned is that spilled pellets that get stuck under the hay through the winter will ferment. The fermented pellets smelled awful. It was clearly fermenting chicken feed and this little pullet was eating on it...the only one (thank goodness) and I shooed it away quickly. A day later I seen the bird standing around ostracized from the clutch and just sleeping. I walked right up to it and picked it up. It didn't really react so I new something was up. The wife made some comments about similar observations. The bird died two days later at night (yesterday). That sucked because she was a hen...keeping those as long as possible - right! I shooed the bird away and our new puppy ate a couple bites too. She loved it and raged to get back at it - weird. Watching her...

    Anyhow, we have bought a bunch of different chicken feed. The chicks at the so called chick feed the first few days. They never touched that crap again and I literally only bought one bag of chick starter feed (medicated) for all 19 chicks and there is still a half of bad. Its my belief they hate. I also have two bags of regular organic pellet feed that is supposed to be great and guess what? They don't eat that crap either. Do you know what they do eat? The weeds in our yard, yard bugs and the wild bird seed we buy that falls to the ground. They like meat too and compost scraps.

    I am cutting their original coop down tomorrow. It will be missed since it was the first. We bought a 7 x 7 rubbermaid shed for the winter and future use. Plenty room for 25 full grown birds. I will also construct a micro brood coop for under the 20 x 20 run and future clutches. I definitely don't need an incubator as long as we have the BCs. We'll just wait until they go broody again and get more fertile eggs. I wonder how many clutches a hen raises before they run out of gas. We'll have to get some more BCs from the CL guy who sold them to us - great fella.

    NC is an amazing environment to raise chickens if you are just free balling it like we are. We live in the suburbs. We eat the eggs, roosters and make soup broth from the worn out hens. Its quite the gambit and will do it the rest of my time. Chickens kick ***. Most of all, we enjoy watching the birds. They are a real soap opera.

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