The IMPORTED ENGLISH Orpington Thread

Faraday40

Free Ranging
6 Years
Aug 1, 2013
8,672
10,517
581
Illinois
I just heard back from a past customer who is interested in buying Glow & Cupcake. Neither are project colors that I can breed, so they're mostly "eye candy". Due to some family issues I need to scale back on poultry right now. Sadly, both are laying almost daily, so my egg production will greatly decrease. What's going to hurt is that these 2 are more "pets." They're going to a wonderful home & I'll get to see pics of them. I'll just miss seeing them here in my own backyard. As you can tell, I'm torn about them leaving, but it needs to be done.

BTW- I still have "too many" chickens. DH lost count when we went above 6, so "too many" is the official count. It could mean 10 or it could mean 25; he has no idea. Technically the number is also always in flux since a single hatch can bump the count up by a couple dozen.

More reductions will come. At least one more rooster must go. That's the decision that I'm dreading the most. Mr Wonderful or his dear son??? Both have amazing temperaments and both are quite handsome. Wonderful had some fertility issues until he reached 1 year and figured it all out. Neither young cockerel (lav & laced) have shown any interest in mating, so hopefully they'll figure it out by spring.
 

ColtHandorf

Crowing
Feb 19, 2019
1,938
2,625
317
Commerce, Texas
Oh, that's no good. I wish I was closer. I'd take one of the roosters for diversification. I was just looking at the larger of the two SLO cockerels this morning. And gone is the awkward teenager. He is filling out and has a great, round shape. I actually thought he was one of the hens from all the way across the yard until he turned and I saw the hackles. Shame he has yellow legs, but I'll keep him regardless. His younger brother isn't as handsome. Derek is getting really handsome. He has these crazy,, spiked eyebrows that drive me crazy. But I'm hoping I can tame that down.

I'm itching to put eggs in the incubator. But I really want to get a better one before I start hatching this year. I also need to freshen some things up in the breeding pen and if the friggen rain would stop, work on the barn. I really, really need everyone separated by the correct colors and crosses. The first hatch would be a test for fertility, so it doesn't really matter, but I'd love to get some pure babies before the summer.
 

Faraday40

Free Ranging
6 Years
Aug 1, 2013
8,672
10,517
581
Illinois
Someone's coming in a couple days for Cupcake & Glow. The woman may also be interested in Big Blue. I love these gals & they'll be going to a great home, but there is also much sadness. Life is too busy and my family's needs require most of my time. I took some pics of Big Blue & Cupcake this morning:

Big Blue.jpg

Big Blue is probably 10+ lbs. She already outweighs her mama (Jewel) but is only 8 months old. She'll probably keep filling out for a few more months.
.
Blue face.jpg

Here she's next to a full sized, adult spec sussex.
Big Blue & Chizzy.jpg


Here's my sweet Cupcake
Cupcake.jpg
 

flgardengirl

Crowing
10 Years
Dec 2, 2009
4,625
539
352
Sunny side up :)
I love Big Blue! I don't think I would be able to part with her lol. I've got to get me some English Blue Orps.
I need to get some new photos of all my babies. They are getting so big now!
We are getting our first freeze of the winter here in FL and I have a lots of plants to protect lol. It is supposed to warm up again by Thursday so maybe I can get some photos then.

After dh went and said we had enough chickens, he went and gave me a new incubator for xmas. Its a Brinsea Ovation 56 EX fully automatic digital egg incubator. Does anyone have experience with that one?
I guess this means I can go ahed and hatch out more chicks this spring? lol!
Tbh, I really like using broodies much better, then they have to raise them.
 

Faraday40

Free Ranging
6 Years
Aug 1, 2013
8,672
10,517
581
Illinois
I love Big Blue! I don't think I would be able to part with her lol. I've got to get me some English Blue Orps.
I need to get some new photos of all my babies. They are getting so big now!
We are getting our first freeze of the winter here in FL and I have a lots of plants to protect lol. It is supposed to warm up again by Thursday so maybe I can get some photos then.

After dh went and said we had enough chickens, he went and gave me a new incubator for xmas. Its a Brinsea Ovation 56 EX fully automatic digital egg incubator. Does anyone have experience with that one?
I guess this means I can go ahed and hatch out more chicks this spring? lol!
Tbh, I really like using broodies much better, then they have to raise them.
I decided to keep Big Blue's mama (Jewel). Jewel's about 10 lbs...... but Big Blue is already bigger and probably still growing. LOTS of feed. LOL

That's an awesome xmas gift! I use both broodies AND incubators. The broody hen gets a few eggs & the incubator the rest. This way I get all the fun of watching them hatch & a hen to raise them. Just start eggs on the same day & slip hatched chicks under the hen. I use a Pack & Play as a brooder, so it's easiest to put the broody & chicks inside. Thankfully hens can't count, so she won't realize that her 30 chicks did not hatch out of 2 eggs. She just thinks she's SuperHen and cares for all of them. I sell the chicks & when the number gets down to a manageable size, I let the mama & remaining chicks free range with the flock.

Here's Cookie - my bantam orpington. She's got 20-24 full sized orps under here in this pic.
IMG_9339.JPG

She my best mama.
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flgardengirl

Crowing
10 Years
Dec 2, 2009
4,625
539
352
Sunny side up :)
Wow Cookie is so stinkin cute with all those babies lol. I'm shocked they can all fit under her. My Key West hens hatch big batches of babies. Sometimes a couple get together with a Baker's Dozen each and raise them together. They set themselves up in a corner of the coop and have a big ol baby fest back there. They are the best mothers..so fierce!

Re: the Pack n Play brooder..Genius! What do you use on the bottom to prevent all the poop from sticking? The floor is sturdy enough their water won't spill?

I do want to expand the Isabels once they get big enough. Isabels are my dream chickens lol. I'm thinking I need to find some Creole Orp eggs or chicks. I may need to breed these back to Creole at some point. The coloring on these Isabels seem light. I won't know for sure until the little male gets more mature to see just how creamy his hackles and saddles, etc get.
I also want to get some Blue Orp eggs and some Laced Orps.

I want to see if I can mate that crazy Chocolate cuckoo roo w Tootsie, my Bantam Choc hen. He is getting fluffy but not the size of my Lav or Isabel Orp males so far, so it may be possible. I took him out and put him next to Tootsie the other day and he is almost her size. She gave him the Evil Eye and he ran away, back to me lol. She isn't all that broody of a hen, so I may need to incubate her eggs or give them to another hen.
 

Faraday40

Free Ranging
6 Years
Aug 1, 2013
8,672
10,517
581
Illinois
Re: the Pack n Play brooder..Genius! What do you use on the bottom to prevent all the poop from sticking? The floor is sturdy enough their water won't spill?
I use a couple feed bags as tarps to prevent the bottom from getting too nasty. Roll them up to slide dirty bedding into composter & hose off if needed. They're "free tarps", so I keep a few cut to size - ready & waiting.

When I'm done hatching for the year, I clean then hose off the Pack and Play and let it dry out in the sun. After several days when I'm sure it's completely dry, I fold it up and store it away.

I really like using chicken nipples. It keeps the water always clean, so less work for me, and healthier for the chicks. I make waterers from misc plastic bottles from the recycle bin. Then I can raise or lower the hanging height with a clip and some string. I also make my own hanging feeders, but usually need to use some type of dish or reg chick feeder for the 1st week until the chicks' necks are long enough to reach inside the feeder. If the weather is warm, I set up a play yard in the grass & tie a cover across the top to prevent hawks. The hen & chicks get safe fresh grass time during the day & sleep inside the safety of the garage at night. (Less poop to clean in brooder & the rain washes the grass.)
Here are pics from when my daughter made some feeders & waters.
Materials
f.jpg
IMG_3099.JPG

Dill hole in bottom, insert nipple, (The push in kind with rubber seal works well for thinner plastic and I use the screw in kind for thicker bucket waterers.), drill small holes near top for hanging, and bend a piece of clothes hanger or other metal for handle.
IMG_3099.JPGIMG_3103.JPGIMG_3104.JPG
IMG_3105.JPG


For the feeder, we use a PVC elbow & cut off the ends. (My daughter needed an adult to do that.) Then trace a circle and use a utility knife to cut a hole in the plastic. The elbow fits snug inside. I often add a handle to the feeders as well so I can raise it above the shavings.
IMG_3108.JPG
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Inside the big brooder, I often have a "mama heating pad." Not my idea but it works just as well as a Brinsea EcoGlow or other heat plate. Here's the idea: https://www.backyardchickens.com/threads/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update.956958/
This is for when I do not have a broody or for the overflow chicks when a tiny bantam is raising a ton of LF chicks.


BTW- I got my "Peck-N-Play" for $3 at a garage sale. It had a musty smell which is why it was so cheap, but after cleaning & letting it dry out in the sun, the odor was gone. It was purchased for chicks, so I knew it was going to be routinely trashed.


Because the brooder worked so well, I then went on to buy a play yard. (Now I have 2. :oops: ) It's not secure enough for night but perfect for day.

Play yard
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The above pic is "Trouble" my Sebright. Shhhhh. She doesn't know Sebrights aren't supposed to go broody. She's one very determined, fierce mama and raises 2-3 hatches per year.

Here are Trouble's chicks around 3.5 weeks old
@homeschoolin momma has the blue laced girl in the middle and the girl on the far right is my pretty blue laced orp.
Trouble chicks 1.jpg

The big blue chick is "Big Blue" Although they're bigger than Trouble, she keeps them in line and tends to mother them until about 8 weeks old. By then the size difference is ridiculous!
Trouble chicks 2.jpg
 

flgardengirl

Crowing
10 Years
Dec 2, 2009
4,625
539
352
Sunny side up :)
That is just a fantastic pictorial on how to make the waterers and feeders. Thanks for sharing that! I really do need to make the switch to nipple waterers. If there's one thing I loathe about raising chicks, its cleaning the gross waterers lol!!
I will look for a Pack n Play at the thrift store.
We are on 4 acres and there's woods and a river behind us. No way could I use the play yard unless I was sitting right there watching them. Its a great idea for normal people with normal yards though lol. One day I was outside watering my garden and a coyote chased a random rooster right up to me. Plus I've seen fox and bobcats in the daytime right up by the house. We had to recover all our runs recently, due to racoons had pulled off one whole side of the top and were climbing in killing chickens in broad daylight. I also dont trust all the stray cats and skeezy neighbors who just let their dogs come kill people's livestock. I honestly just want to move lol.

I love your littleTrouble Sebright! She does have that "ya touch my babies, you die" look in her eyes lol. I love the little tiny bantam type hens! Most are so sweet.
Its nice when they are fierce but will still let you pick the babies up if you need to do something. Most of my hens will do that.
A few of my Key West retain their wild/feral instincts and will literally fly in your face biting and clawing. One bloodied my face up pretty good once and noe I am careful around them. If you pick them up, its like a screaming banshee to be heard for blocks lol.
I am not gonna let the 'wild things' brood my baby Orps or I will never be able to get them back. I have a few tamer KW hens that I will have to use and separate them from the wildlings.
 

Faraday40

Free Ranging
6 Years
Aug 1, 2013
8,672
10,517
581
Illinois
@flgardengirl
You're welcome. My daughter used those photos as part of a 4H project. She made a brooder, cages, feeders, & waterers for some quail.

None of my broody hens have ever pecked much. They're more "vocal" and sound like they're vicious. They can give a good evil eye too. Cookie will occasionally peck my hands if I'm messing with her eggs a lot. (Like pulling them out one at a time for candling. After about 5 min, she's done being patient and gently pecks my fingers. It doesn't hurt. She's just telling me she'd prefer I stop.) Trouble & the silkie are fine with me touching their eggs & chicks anytime, but Trouble is very, very fierce when it comes to other chickens getting too close to her babies. She even crows when she's broody to let the others know that she's in command. I've seen that little 1 lb bird put a 10+ lb rooster in his place!

During the day, the main predator is hawks. They're relentless. I've seen them on the ground walking around the perimeter, so I send the dog out to chase them off. I even had a hawk go deep into the garage, and pull bits of baby quail through a bird cage. (I now never leave the garage door open.) The coyotes, raccoons, fox, opossum, owls, etc. come out at night, so the flock must be locked up and the chicks in the garage or coop. Right now it's winter & there's no tree cover, so the flock is locked up 24/7 until spring. Thankfully, we don't have dogs running loose & our yard is fenced. I've seen some cats but they have never come within 100' of our fence. Our former dogs loved to chase cats, squirrels, foxes, rabbits, & even skunks, but left the chickens alone. Our current dog needs a lot a training before I'll trust him off leash.
 
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