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Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by cobra3073, Jan 11, 2018.
What a pretty pair of fellas!
Did you have any luck returning your 'bator? TSC is pretty good about defective merchandise.
This is very helpful. Right now all the babies are out in our courtyard practicing their foraging skills while we are finishing up our coop build (I totally get why they say to build your coop before you get your chicks ). I think since I just have no idea who we will want to keep / can’t really imagine getting rid of anyone — I’ll be able to keep my bachelor flock in the courtyard, and move my hens, (and my Langshans) out to the coop. Would you pick one of the cockerels to go out with the hens, or keep boys and girls fully separate, and move one over later? How do you pick a rooster for your hens?! What do I look for ? Thankfully, the 9 Langshans I hatched, I have 8 hens and 1 rooster. Decision made! But it looks like I have 7 nankin cockerels and 9 pullets! I do have a lot of space — I haven’t measured out exactly how big the area we are fencing for the chickens, but I think it’s nearly a quarter acre. Anyway, I welcome more thoughts and insights into how to go about doing this!
I had a horrible ratio when I first started out. We got 10 straight run chicks and the boys ended up winning, 6:4. Then a hawk got one ... and it had to be one of the ladies, right? So, with only three pullets, I pulled three cockerels. I should have pulled all six! In the longer run, I ended up pulling all the boys at about 8 months and reintroducing one of the two best cockerels. Shortly after that, between broodies and the 'bator, I ended up with enough hens/pullets to leave one of the youngsters in the main coop with his Mama. Jackson, my little guy, is getting pretty bullied by Papa, so he'll get pulled as soon as I have space.
As far as what to look for, temperament is first and foremost. There's no point in keeping a mean roo. They'll be an aggravation to you, a danger to children and will pass along the nastiness, either by Nature or Nurture.
Then there's the American Poultry Association (APA) standard that dictates what the birds are supposed to look like color, size, body shape, etc. I choose the roosters closest to the standard.
From there, I see how good they are with the ladies. A good rooster will alert if there's danger. Contrary to popular belief, they don't usually fight to protect their hens, beyond standing between them and the menace long enough to get the message across. Then they'll hightail it to safety along with their girls.
Look for a rooster who "tidbits." When you give your rooster a treat, or he finds something in the grass, a good rooster will call his girls to it, rather than eat it, himself. Sometimes, he'll even go so far as to drop it in front of one of the hens or a chicks. This generally works with my boys, unless the "tidbit" is a handful of meal worms ... then all bets are off. The Captain will call to his girls to "come and get it" while scarfing down the goods as quickly as he can. What a mooch!
As far as keeping a bachelor flock goes, I highly recommend it. I have two extra breeding pairs that I've pulled to do some selective improvements. Those are currently on my front porch in large rabbit hutches/dog kennels. One looks to be going broody as I write (fingers crossed.) So far, so good!
I apologize for not getting back with you. My son did get the incubator working. He is still teasing me about the need to be smarter than the incubator.
Awesome ... and remind Jr about the teasing next time he needs a favor!
So, do you have chicks, yet?
Think of us fondly in this heat, today. We're off to the Cecil County Fair. We're only taking four chickens, three nannies and the lone Jersey Giant. She's only three months old (one of the Kindergarten Dropouts,) but she dwarfs my grown Nankin roosters! We originally planned to take more birds, but it's just too hot to risk the full contingent.
We're loaded for bear (POLAR bear!) as far as coolers go - ice packs, frozen zip locks, sheets instead of towels, a mister, even a bucket for "emergency dunk water," but I have the feeling it'll be for the people, not the birds, as intended!
Our only stop on the way out will be for more ice and a couple of super-sized slushies ... I wish I could get them in bath-tub size ... to go!
I do have chicks. I only had 8 in the incubator which were from a single mating. They were a couple of Modern Game Bantams that my granddaughter has shown. All eggs hatched and now the incubator is full. Thank you.
DD did really well, yesterday. The heat was miserable, but the breezes were very cooperative, so it was a little more bearable than we expected ... but still an absolutely hot, muggy mess. There were lots of seriously stressed birds, but most held up well ... until the power went out in the barns, last night! Luckily, we were already home and cooling off, by then.
Our little Jersey Moose surprised us all by winning her American Pullet class! It was a big class, and she's only three months old, so we weren't expecting a whole lot. In fact, the only reason we took her was for solid confirmation on her breed. We do bantams, so we didn't trust our sleuthing skills on this not-so-little Kindergarten dropout!
The judge assured us that she was, indeed, a JG ... and was surprised to find out she was so young. We've been forewarned that she should more than double her size by the time she's two. Yay? It's a good thing she's such a sweetheart ...
The three Nankins did really well, too. Last year's BIS RC won his small class, but lost to his coop-mate - our only SC Nanny - for Top Bantam honors. DD's lone hen entry won second, which is better than we expected, because while she's nice, she's more of a breeder bird than true show quality.
All of the Nankins competed in the Clean-Legged Bantam classes, as there are not enough around to make up a true breed class, yet ... but there's hope! There was another Nankin there, this year! He was one of our own babies, passed along to another 4H youth, last year, as part of a breeding pair. Word is getting out that Nankins do well at the local show ... so we're doing our part to get these little birds "out there," and hopefully, OFF the Critically Endangered Priority List!
UPDATE! Feisty took Top Bantam honors at the Cecil County Fair, yesterday. I'm so proud of both Feisty and DD. She's become quite the showman!