Archives for posts with tag: chickens

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Our little meaties continue to do very well!  I’m still very impressed with this breed so far.  At three weeks their average weight is 387g, up from 233g last week.  They’re growing so fast!!  And everyone is still alive.  🙂

Just yesterday we moved them from their brooder, which they were clearly outgrowing, to an outdoor shed.  We’d like to give them a little more time to finish feathering out with a heat lamp before they go into tractors.  They seem to be settling in with little trouble.

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In other news, the eggs in the incubator went into lockdown today, and should start hatching on Friday.  Mama Hen’s babies are due about the same time.  Super excited!

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Our little meat birds are doing very well so far.  At two weeks, we have not had any deaths, they’re feathering out and growing at a ridiculous rate.  Last week they averaged about 92g, this week they’re averaging 233g!  So far I am very happy with this new breed.

In addition to our little meaties (see previous post), we’ve added a Buff Orpington rooster and another buff hen to our flock.  They were a little neglected and bedraggled when we first brought them home, but they’re starting to fill out and fit in nicely.  Meet Lloyd:

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He takes his guard duty seriously!!  A couple of days ago he even sounded the alarm and fended off a hungry coyote until Brian could get the rifle and take it down.

About ten days after the addition of Lloyd, one of our big blacks decided to go broody and is now almost a week into sitting on a giant clutch of eggs.

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Very excited to see little babies peeping out from under her.  We’re trying to increase our egg flock, and happy enough to let Mama do the incubation work.

That said, right before she went broody, we actually bought an incubator!  We weren’t entirely sure if Lloyd was doing his job, so decided to buy some eggs we knew were fertile, even though they’re basically a barnyard special collection of mixed heritage breeds.  We’ll probably sell the chicks, but wanted to run a test batch to get the hang of incubation.

They should be hatching about the time the meaties are ready to be moved outside, and about the same time as Mama Hen’s little ones start showing up.  My money’s on her having a better percentage, but unfortunately she only broods when she feels like it. 🙂

Last Wednesday we went and picked up 26 little yellow balls of fluff from Miller Hatchery in Westlock. They’re a new breed this year called Western Rustics, which are supposed to be a hardier, slower growing meat bird than the standard Cornish. Sounds good to us. Here are a couple pics from the first day:

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On average they were about 50g and very active from the start, until, like most baby critters, they ran out of gas all at once and had a nap.

I’m happy to report that now at one week, all 26 are still alive and chirping.  Average weight is about 92g.  I’m very pleased, since with Cornish I would have had to pick up at least one dead bird by now!  Much less poop production too, which is nice.

Here’s a picture of one today:

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As you can see, they’re already starting to get wing and tail feathers.  Part of me wonders if they might not have been a couple of days old when we picked them up, since with our Cornish and Orpingtons they didn’t really start to feather out til week 2.  They’re also already doing their little puffed-chest boxing matches as they work out who’s in charge.

Just got a new batch of buff orpington chicks. From our 16 blues we only got 4 hens. We have two more year old hens for a total flock of 6, which is just not enough to allow a rooster. You need around 10 – 12 hens per rooster or else they wind up looking like poor Baldie – distinctly over-loved. So we found a batch of 10 buff orpington chicks and are hoping to do better on the genetic lottery this time around.

Here’s some pics of our new little fluff-balls. They’re about a week old, and very active and curious.

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There WAS a bug in that corner.

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This is the size difference between eggs produced by our year old hens and our five month old hens.  The shade of brown seems to vary by bird.  All of them are tasty!image

This is Baldie. She’d been overbred before we got her. Now she’s starting to grow back her feathers again, and enjoying a nice dust bath. Despite her scraggly appearance, she’s a fantastic layer.
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The ladies we raised from babies are finally starting to lay. Itty bitty pullet eggs, but they eat fine!
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We discovered our dog doesn’t bother them at all, so now we just let the flock roam during the day. They stick pretty close to the house, and are quite sociable if you’re outside. We did poorly on the genetic lottery… only got 4 girls out of 16. The roosters were tasty but we were hoping for more hens.

Found another batch of 10 Orpington chicks that we’re picking up tomorrow. Buffs this time. Looking forward to raising them again!

We did another batch of meat birds inbetween, and they’re just miserable compared to the Orpingtons. Nice to have a full freezer, but will be happy when they’re done. Still have about 30 to butcher this week.

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Our Blue Orpingtons are now 13 weeks old.

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Around 11 weeks the roosters started learning to crow. They’re still not very good at it. It sounds like teenage boys with their cracking voices!

We killed one to see what we’d get and how it tastes compared to the Cornish.  It’s currently chilling in the fridge overnight. Skinny breasts but giant thighs.

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We’ll likely gradually cull and eat the roosters… we don’t particularly want them breeding with their sisters!!

We did also acquire three full grown laying hens today. Super excited to go egg hunting! image

The one in the middle is kinda bald from over-breeding, but it should grow back soon and she’ll be alright now  They integrated pretty seamlessly with our flock – some minor scuffles but no serious fighting.

We put in nest “boxes” (buckets) yesterday… our main flock isn’t quite old enough to lay but should be starting soon.

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We had a blizzard here a couple days ago.  Man were the chickens confused!  They refused to come outside their coop until the snow melted.  Hopefully by the fall time they’ll get over it, or else it’s going to be a long, boring winter….

Anyways, here are a couple pics.  10 weeks old already!  They’re such a delight, I hardly notice the time go by.  So different from the Cornish – by week 7 I was so ready to be done with them.

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