I have a buckeye peep - she is just losing her fuzz and I find I really am clicking with her personality! Therefore I am getting more serious about getting hatching eggs next spring and want to learn more.
So I would really appreciate any anecdotes and stories you have about Buckeyes - especially their free ranging and hunting skills !
Any egg laying trends, egg color norms and life span.
I'd like to soak it all in and then use all this info to decide which eggs I will purchase as to which ones fit my own personal (not going to show or breed or sell) need and likes best.
How about some pictures? For your viewing pleasure, my cockerel and at least two of my three pullets.
These are a few weeks old (ok, looking at the date they were taken it's more like almost two months!). I really need to get some new ones, looking at the picture of my cockerel I just realize how much more "grown up" they looked when I visited them the other day (they are currently living on my grandma's farm because he found his big boy voice about a week later and he is a little louder than my previous rooster whom the neighbors complained about).
Speaking of grown up, I have about 17 chicks that are up and coming. I'm not too worried about identifying them yet, since we don't really have the time right now to track this hatch like we did the last one, but I would like to be able to keep track of my birds a little when they are grown. Right now the 7 month olds (pictured above) have colored zip ties, which works ok. But I'm seriously considering getting numbered bands for them. What size would those with more experience recommend?
my little one is the age where she is not fully colored in - still has little patches of fuzzy yellow - but mostly rust now ..... and I put two younger maran peeps in the flock and she was the one, rather than the teenagers and one adult, to go after the new comers !
Since I was being eaten ALIVE by mosquitoes I herded the young ones into an outside cage within the pen and ran inside. Will do this a little each day until they are settled in. I also like snakes, I have one I enjoy in my front yard - they keep the mice down and on this farm that is very important! I don't harass them at all and they respectfully move off when I walk by.
Does anyone have hens they want to cull because of feet color ? I really dislike the yellow legs and would enjoy giving some birds a home who may otherwise be culled for this.
I generally find I can start to determine gender in poultry at or around 12 weeks or so, sometimes earlier. A good way to try to determine males from females is to look for saddle feathers. Hold a bird with the head facing you, looking down on it so you can see its back. When you look at the feathers just in front of the tail, which are called the saddle feathers, are they pointy, or rounded?
Pointy saddle feathers mean it's a male bird, or cockerel. Rounded saddle feathers mean it's a female bird, or pullet. Same thing with hackle feathers.
As well, hackle and saddle feathers of males will be glossier than females, whose feathers will be more dull and less shiny.
Also cockerels generally have thicker shanks, bigger redder combs, and are generally larger and heavier than pullets of the same age.
Behavior can sometimes give clues as to gender as well. Cockerels tend to be pushier at the feed trough and waterers. This is part of why it's a good idea to determine gender early, and separate birds by gender into different pens, which allows the pullets access to food and water without them being shouldered aside by the cockerels.
And I want to put in the thread these great links from the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, which were created during their Buckeye project, and which will be very helpful to anyone wishing to assess their birds for productivity:
Using these tips and tricks will ensure you don't lose sight of the basic traits that make your Buckeyes what they were designed by Nettie Metcalf to be, a good homestead bird, made to provide meat and eggs for their owners. Thanks so much to Don Schrider, Jeannette Beranger, and everyone else at the ALBC (past and present) who contributed to this remarkable collection of documents!
I am slowly going through the old thread and pulling out information from it that I feel will be useful to have here. Among it includes these often-asked questions about the breed:
Are buckeyes good layers? Yes, bearing in mind that they are dual purpose birds, not leghorns. They generally lay between 150 to 200 eggs per year. Do they set often? Some lines set more than others, but generally speaking, they go broody somewhat often. Often enough so that if you wanted to have the hens hatch chicks, you can, but not so much that you never get eggs. How big are their eggs? They lay medium to large brown eggs, depending on their age. Pullets lay medium eggs, hens lay large to extra large eggs, depending on age and other factors. How long does it take for them to develop? They are rather slow maturing. How do they dress out? Wonderfully. Those broad breasts make for nice eating indeed. How are they with cold and heat? They tolerate cold and heat well. I have used no fans nor heaters on them and never had a problem. (I might use fans if it got exceedingly hot.) Are they good foragers? They are excellent foragers! They spread out and range over as much space as you'll give them, and eat everything from bugs to snakes to mice.