Saturday, April 16, 2016

Brooders are Full

April is probably my favorite month of the year for my farm.  The garden gets planted, animals of about every variety is for sale in plentiful amounts, and the weather is usually pleasant.  Hatcheries and personal fowl breeders pick up their hatching production (or it seems that way because everyone goes nuts for the earlier hatches).  Kidding and foaling seasons start.  It's a glorious month. 

Today, even though it was cloudy, gave me a decent opportunity to get some pictures in.  I have SO MANY that I haven't taken pictures of before today. It may seem a bit overwhelming, but enjoy it anyway. 

The Ducklings
We started with 6 ducklings, but one sadly passed away a while ago.  She had some kind of growth on her neck, and she was sickly.  I have three Jumbo Pekins and two Buffs now.  They are so messy!  I have to clean out their bin every day.

The Goslings
 The goslings are going strong.  We have 4 Embdens, and I love all of them.  Of all the fowl, the geese are my favorites.  They have the sweetest personalities.

Bourbon Red Poult
 A single poult survived of Terry's first test hatch of an attempted six.  There are several reasons that contributed to the low hatch rate/survival, but the good news is, we have a good sturdy poult.  I'm not sure if we are selling this one or keeping it.

The Chicks
We'll start with the youngest.  This week, on Wednesday, I received a shipment of pure bred Ameraucanas from an awesome breeder. They were hatched April 12, and I ended up with 17 chicks total, 8 wheaten (a variety of wheaten, blue wheaten, and splash wheaten possible), 6 white, and 3 blues.  Sadly, a white passed away yesterday.  I'm not certain what happened, but now we have 16 Ameraucanas.

TSC Red Pullets
These two ladies came from Tractor Supplies "Red Pullets" bin, about three weeks ago.  I'm not sure exactly what they are.  I thought they were both Golden Comets, but it looks like only one is actually that.

The Outside Brooder

Here, we have several young-ons.  3 Cornish Rocks, 2 Game Bantams, 3 Black Copper Marans, 1 Speckled Sussex, 2 d'Uccles (self blue and white), a Barred Cochin Bantam, and one other bantam that I have no clue what she is....  13 total of various ages.  I bought the Cornish Rocks the same time as the two red pullets pictured above, leaving them about 3 weeks old.  The Speckled Sussex came from the 7 I got in March, so she's about 8 weeks old.  The bantams are a little over 8 weeks old also. 

I bought the Marans are about 5 weeks old now.  It looks like only two may be pullets....  Go me!  Rotten roo luck....
White d'Uccle
Self Blue d'Uccle
Cornish X Rock
Mystery Girl
The two toms facing off against a rooster.

The Turkeys have been consistent since the previous update.  We still have four total: 2 Bourbon Red toms, 1 Bourbon Red hen, and 1 Black Spanish hen.  The males have always been territorial, for the most part, but one has started showing signs of aggression.  If it progresses, that particular tom will be getting a good soak in hot oil, if you catch my drift.

My pride of my self-proclaimed homestead in training, the Jerseys.  T-Bone is getting noticeably bigger.  Annabelle is too, of course, but I'm a bit more excited to see T-Bone grow, for meat purposes.  *Mwahahaha* (end laugh).  He is entertaining to watch though.  He is a bit on the dim side, so when he runs around like a hooligan, he tends to do it erratically and without destination.  Annabelle gets zoomies and runs, but T-Bone just runs with her while looking confused.  Poor boy...  Annabelle has really taken up with T-Bone though.  They are hardly ever separated.

They are both pregnant.  Both of them.  Bootsie looks like she is carrying triplets, her belly is protruding so far, the poor girl waddles.

We have 4 adults from last year, the two Embden girls, Olivia and Peyton (named after iZombie characters) the two Buff hens.  I love the breeds, I had to get more this year, hence the first few pictures.  <3

The chickens get to free range often, usually every day.  With transitioning some older chicks into the bantam coop, they stay put more often than not, with little free range time until they become acclimated to staying in the coop.  Tonight will be another transitioning night.  The Speckled Sussex and Marans will be going tonight so the two reds can join the others.  I need to bring in a broody hen to put where the reds are now, but that will be explained a bit more after while.

The large coop consists of ten chickens.  Most have been here for about 2 years, and they are permanent fixtures now.  The only rooster in here is the BCM rooster, and he will be bred to any BCM girls I end up with out of the chicks.  He will also be bred to some Ameraucanas and the CCL for my home-grown Olive Eggers.

The bantam coop contains 17 chickens before the transition.  There are so many breeds, I will likely leave a few out, plus a couple are mixed anyway, but I have Bantam EEs, standard Polish, d'Uccle just to name a few.
One of my favorite chickens, a German Spitzhauben
Little Mister
  The 7 chicks that I purchased that I had no clue what all I had, 2 I sent out as a gift for a fellow chicken enthusiast.  I'm enabling her addiction because mine is out of control.  *SEG* The chicks I ended up with are 2 Wyandottes (Golden and Silver Laced),  the Speckled Sussex mentioned above, a Barred Rock, and a Crested Cream Legbar!  OH MY GOSH!  A Crested Cream Legbar is a breed I have been DYING to get a hold of, and HERE SHE IS!  I'm pretty sure she is indeed a she.  WOOT!  Of course, we also have three BCM (Black Copper Marans) chicks in the group also.

The broody story......
Most bantams have the tendency to be broody.  It is just a characteristic most bantam breeds share.  Not all, just some.  Last week, one of my girls started going broody.  Like every other time one goes broody, I give her a few days to make sure it's not just some fluke where she gets up after a couple of days and ignores the nest.  So long as she is consistently broody, I give her a small clutch of marked eggs of my choosing.  Well, the little gray girl goes broody, and I give her a clutch of 6 eggs.
The next day, I go out and find a buff bantam sharing her nest.  Well, she hops up and doesn't go back in until the evening, so I figure she is being fluke broody.  I leave her alone, but the following day, I go out and find a broken egg, the result of two broody hens fighting over a nest.
 I'm hoping everything will be okay because the transition isn't quite right for me to put gray girl in her own brooder yet.  Two days later (today) I go out to find FOUR HENS FIGHTING OVER A NEST!  FOUR!  The gray girl has been a good broody, but we have the Buff girl who has decidedly gone full-fledged broody, the Black Japanese, and a Bantam Easter Egger all in one nest.

It's difficult getting out eggs out from under a broody, let alone four!  No matter how you put your hand in, you're going to get pecked!  I'll have to take some other eggs out tomorrow and put Buff in a crate or something...  I'm not sure exactly what I'm going to do with the three other hens.  Gray (since the start of the blog) has been moved to an inside with her own feeder and waterer so she isn't harassed by all the others.  The eggs will have the chance to grow without getting broken, and no more fighting, at least for Gray.

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