Which girls are which?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by apprentice, Dec 7, 2014.

  1. apprentice

    apprentice Out Of The Brooder

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    Jul 8, 2013
    I will have had chickens for 3 years this coming may. The original coop is 6x10' walled with a concrete floor, that being part of a covered 12x20' fenced area for days they don't get to free range (1or 2 days a week max). Btw there are 22 girls with a cochin roo that stays as far away from me as he can get, with 4 guineas.

    I'm all about this chicken business, I want to do more. My beautiful new wife agrees that we should have meat birds constantly this summer, so naturally :) I am trying to convince her that an incubator with our breed-specific eggs is the next common-sense step in a sustainable, reliant food source. My main question is how do i know which girls will be year olds and which will be 2 year olds? Is there a way to mark a bird permanently that is easily recognizeable?

    I'm new to this and don't know the obvious. Any knowledge is appreciated, thank you
     
  2. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    You can band them! You can buy legbands that you just put around the leg of the birds you want to mark.
     
  3. apprentice

    apprentice Out Of The Brooder

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    What kind of legbands? I take it they are marked somehow and don't get in the way of normal chicken goin-ons?
     
  4. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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    Yep! You can get either metal or plastic, your choice, and you get the plastic ones in multiple colors. You can get numbered ones, too, so if you keep notes you could note down that numbers 1-22 are two years old, 22-56 one year old, etc etc, or you could get different colors for each year.

    Edit: If it helps you visualize at all, this is one of my hens with a band:
    [​IMG]

    She's a bit blurry but you can see her band.
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
  5. apprentice

    apprentice Out Of The Brooder

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    Forgive my ignorance, where do I get those?
     
  6. Pyxis

    Pyxis Hatchaholic Extrordinaire Premium Member

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  7. apprentice

    apprentice Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow that was easy.

    I don't suppose you would know about selective breeding or culling...
     
  8. Mrs. K

    Mrs. K Overrun With Chickens

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    You can also do a toe punch, leaves a litle scar.

    When I was doing some exploration of the dual purpose birds, the Buckeye, I found this post. I just read these articles about assessing your birds to determine which to keep and breed and which ones to cull and eat. I thought it was very informative and there was one for roosters and for hens, and chicks. It is for the Buckeye chicken Breed, but some very good assessments, regardless the breed.

    Pathfinder is the original poster.
    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:

    Selecting for Meat Qualities and Rate of Growth - a wonderful guide with pictures showing step by step how to assess birds for good meat qualities and growth:
    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/ALBCchicken_assessment-1.pdf

    Selecting for Egg Production - a similar guide to the one above, which covers qualities that distinguish a good layer from a poor one:
    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/ALBCchicken_assessment-2.pdf

    Ongoing Selection of Breeding Stock - an essay that gives tips to allow you to continue to assess your birds for continued productivity for up to five years:
    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/ALBCchicken_assessment-3.pdf

    Chick Assessment Form - a chart you can use to fill out with information about each chick to help you make decisions about which to keep and which to cull:
    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/Buckeye Chick Assessment form.pdf

    Breeder Re-qualification Form - a form to use when re-assessing breeding birds for continued use:
    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/Breeder Qualification Form.pdf

    And last but not least, a great article on selection from the 1929 National Barred Rock Journal:
    http://www.albc-usa.org/documents/Breederselection1929.pdf

    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!
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2014
    2 people like this.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I just use small zipties, you have to change them out a few times between chick and adult as their legs grow.
    I use a small side cutter to trim the tie past the lock when putting them on, and a small end cutter to cut thru the lock when taking them off.

    Here's a 26 week Lt. Brahma with one, the one in back...fits nice between the feathers on legs.
    [​IMG]

    Here's a 3 week old Olive egger:
    [​IMG]

    and the same Olive egger at 20 weeks:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2014
  10. apprentice

    apprentice Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow that's a lot of good information, thank you.

    Since that answers my first 2 questions I will let you all know what my plan is and maybe someone can tell me if it sounds right. I hope to eventually have my own incubator with a barred rock rooster already in the coop for some pure br eggs. I'd like to hatch maybe 35 or 40 chicks and house them in a 10x10 hoop house style tractor for 4 months. At the end of that cull the oldest hens in the coop, take the best looking hens from the hoop house and re-fill the coop up to 25 birds and slaughter those left in the hoop house.

    Does this sound right? Any positive or negative ideas are greatly appreciated
     

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