Archives for posts with tag: orpingtons

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. 🙂

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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.

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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Love the blue/green/purple undertones that show up in their feathers in sunshine.

Today we added another length of electric fence to the chicken yard, thus greatly increasing its size. These birds are voracious foragers, and had decimated the grass inside their smaller yard. This addition should help since it’s easy to move to fresh pasture as they need it.
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They’re very curious.
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They also have very little fear of us anymore. 🙂
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Hand feeding not actually the best idea though – they don’t have very good aim!
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It took them a few days in their new accommodation before they wanted to go outside, but they eventually got the hang of it.  They also tuck themselves in at night just after sunset, which is hugely convenient.  The first few days of chicken wrangling were pretty hilarious, but it would have gotten old very quickly.

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Almost entirely feathered out, and all 16 still with us! We’ll be moving them outside this weekend.

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