This thread will be my account of my first foray into keeping chickens. Originally I wanted barred Plymouth rocks, but I am not known for my patience and I would have had to wait until mid-April to receive chicks. I wanted to buy directly from a small local supplier and the farm I found had these little fellers hatching a week after I first contacted them. All the boys are double barred cuckoo and the girls single barred. They've been line bred for some time so I am hatching (ha!) a plan to introduce some fresh blood to the line while getting back to all double barred boys and barred girls within about 3 generations. I drew a diagram to help myself, maybe if anyone is interested I wlll take a picture and post it. Everyone seems strong and healthy, thank goodness. I check their bums more often than I would care to admit and change their bed, food and water several times daily. Their brooder is tiny as it was the only way to keep them warm but in a couple of weeks they can have the whole 10x10 coop to themselves with a heated box in the corner. It's well below freezing here most nights, still. I haven't done probiotics, medicated feed or anything of that nature. I do put out a little dish of yogurt for about 1/2 hour a day that they eat willingly. I'm a big believer yogurt does every body good. Right now the plan is to raise these fellers up, save the best rooster and cull the rest, get a dozen English lavender orpingtons and do the same. Then breed the cuckoo rooster to the solid hens and the solid rooster to the cuckoo hens. I'll end up with single barred boys and 1/2 solid girls, 1/2 single barred. The plot thickens from there but I gotta get the farmer with the English lavender orps to return my email before anything else! I will be looking for an excellent quality black cuckoo Orpington rooster next year, if there's anyone out there in Canuckistan who breeds them. I'm in the Okanagan.