Changes in Chickenville

Hello, Frank here.

Hope everyone is hopping right along. There have been some changes in the chicken house. As I mentioned last time, the Easter egg chickens were going to be leaving, and they are now gone. You don’t have to use your creative imagination to figure out where they went, because I am going to tell you. A neighbor of mine is a chicken dealer. Well, I’ve never really known much about chicken dealers. I have known some cattle dealers. So, I guess a chicken dealer is in the same category, just less weight involved. I called him up, he said he would take them to a chicken sale. He loaned me the cages. After dark, on a Thursday night, Fern and I loaded them into the cages, about four birds per cage so they had some room. The next morning, they were off to the chicken market. I really didn’t know that there was a chicken sale, but after the sale, he brought me a computerized printout of the transactions that occurred, and the girls actually brought $7.00 a bird. I gave him $3.00 a bird for his trouble and I kept $4.00. So, the girls are gone. And, their rooster buddy, he is gone too. Here is where you have to use your imagination.

Now, our big birds are the black Australorps that are about six months old. They’re just starting to lay. There are 15 of the black girls and we are just starting to see about 3 brown eggs a day. But, to our amazement, we got a green egg the other day. One of these black girls is a half and half from

the eggs we hatched at the same time. So, I guess technically, we have 14 black Australorp hens, one cross breed hen and two Barred Rock roosters. These two roosters we traded three black hens for. So, these are our big birds now. There is no cannibalism, they are a much, much more docile bird than the Araucanas were. 

We now have a dilemma. My new baby birds that were 25 mixed heavy brown egg layers are getting to be about 10 weeks old. Of the 25 about 10 of them are white, which could be an Orpington, a Rock, or a Giant, of the white variety. Here is the dilemma: Fern doesn’t like white chickens. So, all toll, 15 + 25 = 40. I will keep 15 of the now young birds, but I only need about 20 chickens, so I will keep 5 of the black Australorps. Which means I have 10 black Australorps, that are six months old, and 10 white hens that are 10 weeks old that need to go to a new home. This doesn’t need to happen immediately. So, here in a couple of weeks when the babies are 12 weeks old, I will turn them in with the older black Australorps and let everybody live happily ever after. For a while anyway.

A side note here. When it comes time to catch birds, for whatever the reason being, transporting, butchering or other, it’s much easier to take a bird off of the roost after dark, than it is to try to catch one in the corner of a pen during daylight. Especially if you’re older and have just had back surgery.

Of the 40 birds I have right now, I have a couple with some minor issues. I will cull these from the flock. In our decision making process of which birds to keep, we’ll take into consideration size, feather pattern and color, demeanor and we have some birds that have curled toes that we will not be keeping. 

With this last batch of baby birds, it was during a time frame when it was pretty warm at night and adequately warm during the day. We have normally kept chickens in the brooder for three to four weeks or longer, depending on outside temperature. Well, these birds we kept inside in the brooder for about five days. It was plenty warm outside, so we put them in a corner of the chicken house with a long extension cord and a heat lamp. Worked great. The little guys got to stretch their legs and flap their wings and become baby chickens a whole lot sooner than any other bird we had ever raised. Hopefully, this will affect the overall outcome of these guys. We’re hoping that they will be more mentally adjusted, if that’s capable with a chicken. 

Another topic. We didn’t hatch any meat birds this year. Well, actually we did, that was the cannibal group. All of those birds are gone, but the issue here is, we don’t have any fryers in the freezer, and we also didn’t can any chicken meat this year. The reason, mostly due to my back problems, which, by the way, are on a nice recovery path. So, the point here. We decided to order 25 meat birds. Not the big, white hybrid birds, but instead, 25 mixed heavy roosters. They’ll be here in a couple of weeks at about the same time the baby girls will be 12 weeks and going out in the pen with the big girls, and I’ll have pen space for the new babies. About 12 weeks after their arrival, I will butcher them. If there happens to be a stunning looking rooster among the group, I will keep him. If not, I’ll fry him.

In one of the other posts I mentioned that there appears to be no logic, or consistency in my chicken patterns. And, as I stated then, that may be true. But, I enjoy mixing and matching different breeds, seeing what the outcomes look like when I hatch them. It’s just something I find to be enjoyable and satisfying. We tried the Araucanas (Easter egg), and for me, it just didn’t work out. Maybe a flock of 20 with one or two Easter egg birds, maybe, maybe not. Because my chicken house is much quieter now than it was two weeks ago. Much quieter. Less ruckus, less chasing and stirring, more peaceful.

Over the next couple of months, I hope to start getting lots of brown eggs, and an occasional green one. All of the white birds will be going. And eventually, some of the other birds will be, too. So, I wanted to keep you up to date and give you an example, that it’s okay to make mistakes. It’s okay to change your mind. It’s okay to do whatever you want to do. Because outside of your family, the only other person you have to answer to is your Creator. If you want chickens, go back and read the previous chicken posts. Or, if you’d like to see the antics of a small time chicken farmer, enjoy the posts. I’ll let you know in a couple of months how things are going with the new baby roosters, and any other changes we make.

We’ll talk more later.  Frank

6 thoughts on “Changes in Chickenville

  1. CQ, our first batch of birds were half Buff Orpington and half Rhode Island Red. We stayed with the Buff Orpingtons for a good while. Big birds, docile, good layers, good fryers and occasionally you'll get one that wants to sit. A couple of chicken posts back, I gave out the numbers 6, 12 & 18. In 6 months they start laying, at 12 months you hatch their babies, and in 18 months they go in the stew pot or somewhere. Then your babies are 6 months, and are starting to lay, and you repeat the cycle. It seems like this is something similar to what you do. I see on your blog where you let the mothers hatch the babies. We have never used that technique….yet. Thanks for reading and thanks for the comment.Frank

  2. I maintain a flock of 12 +/- Buff Orphington hens at all times and 1 rooster. They provide me with all the large brown eggs I need plus a few to sell or give away and have a wonderful docile disposition. When I hatch out a new dozen and they start to lay the previous/old dozen go into jars for soup and noodles leaving me with my 12 hens.

  3. Hi Jmar. Good question about the double yolk layer. I don't think it's common for any particular breed. We have had Buff Orpingtons that would on occasion lay double yolk eggs. When our Easter Egg birds first started laying we had some double yolk eggs. So, I don't think it's necessarily common for Black Australorps. As you have noticed, different breeds have different personalities. We like Barred Rocks, also. Thanks for reading.Frank

  4. This is my first time with chickens. I have an assortment of brown egg layers. My rooster is a black Australorp and I have one hen. She always lays a double yoke egg is this common for black Australorps?The chickens that are the most fun and make me laugh are the Barred Rock. They are so friendly and follow me around the yard \”helping\” me with whatever chore I'm doing.So far it's been a very positive experience.Jmar

  5. N.W., thank you for the positive thoughts. I've had the same wife for into thirty plus years now. Congratulations on the big 5-0. But I can't claim that same track record with chickens. It seems I wear the same pair of jeans longer than I have the same chickens. I know people criticize my track record with bird rotation, but it's just something I enjoy doing. If I have a breed I like, they stay around longer. But, in the future I'm going to try to remember to not eliminate my rooster right before the hatching season. Thanks for reading. Take care.Frank

  6. Hello Frank, N.W. Illinois here again. Thanks for sharing the chicken info. Nothing wrong with what you're doing with the chickens, interesting. Homesteading, gardening, farming, and marriage is a continuous…..uh, learning experience. You just have to keep trying new things! I speak from experience…..been married to the one and only for 50 years. So just keep experimenting and see what works and what doesn't. Oh one last note the Good Lord has put up with me longer than my wife.

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