More chicken madness

Wow!  Commit to a fence, commit to more poultry, or at least that’s what it seems like this year.

IMG_1187-1Could YOU resist?

In one bold move on Wednesday, we doubled our egg-laying population.  Yep.  We should Just Say No to the feed store but as you know it’s hard.  We came home with four more chicks, seen left to right: one Silver-laced Wyandotte, two Buff Orpingtons, and one Black Sex-link (which is a Barred Rock/Rhode Island Red cross).

img_1184Note  how big their eyes are in their heads, and how their tails point up and their wings down.  This, as well as their tiny size, are bantam traits.

The bantam chicks are (thankfully) getting kind of big, or, well, bigger.  They’re due to join up with the Big Girls soon (our 7 laying hens and 3 guinea hens) as, well, our meat and egg bird order shows up on the first week of June.  It would appear that the three black-ish ones are not Ameraucana bantams but instead are Golden Sebrights.  The white one, my daughter’s personal favorite, is still a mystery as to what variety s/he is; and the little buff colored one in the center is a feather-footed creature who is quite fast, so I have been calling him/her Mercury.  This one is probably a Cochin.

Tom’s rationale for getting four more birds went as follows: “Well, the bantams are only half-sized.”

My rationale for the bantams was that they’re good setters.  However we have no idea what sex they are:  we certainly don’t need five banny roosters.

But, yeah:  crazy.  If all goes according to The Grand Chicken Plan, we’ll go into the fall with 7 old egglayers, 3 relatively worthless guineas, 12 new egg-laying pullets, 5 bantams, and 2 egg-bird roosters.  Thirty-eight meat birds are destined for the freezer.  And Chicken Patty will finally get her man:  we’ll keep one of the meat roosters as well as one red broiler pullet.  Thirty-one chickens!

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9 responses to “More chicken madness

  1. El,
    What is the bedding in the first picture? It looks like a towel? My very first chicks are coming May 18. Our feed store is recommending ground corn cobs. What do you use in the brooder?

  2. Hi Jenifer,

    For the first week I use towels. In general they don’t yet know food from bedding! Other folks have used newspaper etc. but I think that’s too slippery. I have known other people who’ve used things like shelf liner (that plastic cushiony stuff); they just hosed it off daily. But yeah, after a week, they’re somewhat savvy so I switch them to wood shavings. Corn cobs are fine too. So are things like alfalfa pellets (goat/sheep/horse feed). Hope that helps!

  3. grandmabecker

    I have been trying to talk my hubby into chicken for years now. He just thinks it is too much work.
    I so wish I could try just once. I would like some layers and meat chicken.
    A few years ago, my girlfriend and I did meat chickens on her farm, across the street from our place. They were soooo good!!
    I grow lots of fruit and veggies and flowers, but no critters. I have a little foo-foo dog in the house. We have 6 acres and could do chickens. I try every year. I leave chicken reading info all over the house for hubby to see! Maybe, after he retires.
    Beautiful day here near the St Clair River and Canada.
    Go Wings!!!

  4. Are guineas hard to raise? I have been thinking of getting some, but haven’t yet. Do they require different feed and a different place to rest than chickens?

    Linda
    http://coloradofarmlife.wordpress.com

    • Hi Linda. If you raise them with chicks they act more like chickens than not. They supposedly need game/waterfowl feed instead of chicken feed but I just give them the same food. That said, they’re very wild creatures; they’re very flighty, very loud, and tend to nest in trees unless (like I said) they think they’re chickens. We won’t be getting any more, ever. They do outlay the chickens though during the summer: consistently an egg a day between April and when the light fails in late September. Then, no eggs. So, if you don’t have neighbors, if you don’t mind noise, they might be your birds!

      In their defense I will say they don’t scratch, and they’re crazy bug-eaters so it is quite nice to see the three of them going around on the lawn together eating their bugs. They follow Tom’s lawn tractor when he mows. They look out for each other in a way chickens do not: when they lay they all lay, or one waits while the other two do, “keeping watch.” When one is missing YOU KNOW IT. So, they have their good points but I prefer chickens!

  5. Such cute little critters! Who can’t love a peep/chicken?! El, we have exactly the same number of chickens…31! Must be the magical number. As far as bedding goes, yeah, chickies are clueless as to what is bedding and what is food. The first day I had mine I was using ground corn cobs, but was horrified to see them pecking around in them and eating the stuff, so I switched to wood shavings (pine, and fairly big pieces so there was really not much they could be eating). Newspaper is supposedly bad because, as you said, it’s slippery and can cause spraddle leg. Paper towels, on the other hand, are supposedly OK because of their slightly rough surface. Maybe your feather-footed chickie is a Mille Fleur…I had some years ago and loved those little guys. Would dearly love to get some more. They’re great mommies!

  6. I never knew there were so many different species/kinds. You said they were half-sized, about how big? Do they remain small?

  7. I love Tom’s take-two-they’re-small approach. I haven’t been back to the feed store for a bit; I should go and see if they’ve gotten their turkeys yet. My cousin has been telling me horror stories about turkeys, but they’re still on my list. I should probably be content with the queen and her duck boyfriend.

  8. Wow B: 31 egg-laying critters too! Having only had a maximum of 12 this is all-new territory for me. Now dang I will actually need to count them when putting them to bed!! I do hope that little one is a Mille Fleur: they’re so pretty.

    Oh yeah MC, there are hundreds. Here is a pretty good site that compares chickens to chickens. Bantams are only 1/3-1/2 the size of normal ones so they’ll be between 2 and 4 pounds if that. They can be tamed and are known to lay on everyone’s eggs so that’s pretty key.

    You know, Pamela, I have heard nightmarish stories about turkeys too. But Tom and I were chatting and we thought if we had started with turkeys then chickens would seem unsocial and weird. We adore our two turkeys, plus the baby! Maybe the key is only have a couple. I have heard that the toms can be fairly aggressive to each other if you have more than one.

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