Sunday, April 3, 2011

New Digs

The three Buff Orpingtons and the Black Maran have moved from the nursery into the A-frame coop with attached run. There were just too many birds getting too big in one smallish area. Also the three Phi Beta girls decided they would stoop to roosting in the larger coop now that a couple roosters are gone. If you can't be 'em, roost with 'em.

These Buffs are six and a half weeks old now, the Maran is supposed to be 9 weeks but I think the chicken guy aged her wrong. She's just so small. Once we dispatch two of the three roosters and the three remaining broilers we'll move these girls in with the big chickens. (We've gotten one chicken being processed and hope to get to the remaning four today.)

I went a little gung-ho buying pullets this year. I had a few reasons

1. Pullets notoriously end up as roosters at our house 
2. A dog has killed one so far and completely free-ranged birds are more suseptable to losses. (though we have Leeloo outside guarding them and mature roosters now plus guard geese brooding)
3. We're not keeping all the chickens as they age

I'm hoping to raise them up to 2-3 months old and then hand pick the chickens I want to keep as laying birds then sell off the remaining. I'd like about 15-20 layers at a time, I have a half dozen more than that now.

I'm still debating what to do with the roosters I'm sure we're bound to get.* We'll either raise them to slaughter size or sell them off at about 4-5 months, when we're for sure they're boys but not before they start with the testosterone nonsense. Or we will build multiple small, movable A-frames and keep the cock with the hens and brood out babies for sale.

I haven't decided yet.

I bought many, many different kinds of chickens because of my lack of being able to have many kinds of animals. I figured if all I can do is poultry this year, well, this year won't go to waste. Plus they're all unique and pretty and I like telling them apart by colorings, giving them names and such.**

My only issue now is that I bought a lot of solid black chickens and now that they've lost their baby colorings I can't tell an Australorp from a Sex Link and they were getting really close in size to the Maran -which is also solid black. At least the Wyandottes have gotten their white colors in and should be marked significantly different from the Barred Rocks.

I might have to have a chicken expert help me identify them later on though.

*Watch in a few months for a post that we got entirely all pullets. I'm convinced Fate laughs hard at me sometimes.
**We have learned to only name chickens we're not going to eat.

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