Hi Everybody. I have some positive chicken news and some negative chicken news. But first, the general chicken news. Last time I posted I was having a cannibalism problem, the chickens, not me. My plan was to butcher all of the young male birds. Well, things don't always work out the way you plan. I am currently having some health issues, and some days I get things done and some days I don't.
I didn't get the young roosters butchered and put in the freezer. I was never able to get the cannibalism problem under control. Let me give you an update. When the cannibalism problem started, I separated the males from the females. This was part of my isolation strategy to narrow down the problem, and that part worked. There was no pecking among the females, besides normal, "Hi, how are you?" pecking. But as I said earlier, the butchering never occurred. The cannibalism among the males continued, so one day we got rid of all of the males. Pick any scenario that works for you, and use that to suffice, the birds are gone.
|Barred Rock roosters and Australorp hens|
So, now I have 15 young Australorp hens. I traded three hens for two Barred Rock roosters that are the same age, and everybody is happy. But, going back a few days, I didn't know if everybody was going to be happy, and I ordered 25 mixed heavy, day old, brown egg layers. A little quiz here. "But you didn't tell us whether you ordered male or female." But, I did tell you that they are brown egg layers. The reason I pose this quiz is because I asked Fern that same question. And she gave me the same answer. "Brown EGG layers." Okay, our lesson in humble pie for the day.
Well, the 25 little girls arrived. After 10 days, all survived but one. We did the usual, beak dipping in water, and had chick starter on hand. But this time they're not going to stay inside the brooder near as long. The outside temperature during the day is around 90 degrees, as is the humidity.
Different topic. I love where I live. The winters are mild, but a certain part of summer is hot and humid. If you are not sweating, it's because you are seriously dehydrated. I haven't lived in other parts of the deep south, and I can only imagine what it's like in other parts where it's hot and has the advantages of the moisture from the Gulf Stream. But, this time of year, I seriously think about shoveling snow again.
Okay, back to reality. Here in a couple of days the little girls will be going out to the chicken house, to their own little caged apartment.
I'll be turning the former baby birds, which I'll now call teenagers, in with the adult birds. This is a slow process. I will open up the teenagers cage door, and just leave it open. I will continue to provide food and water in their part of the pen, that is now open. There will be some serious pecking order issues, but everybody will survive. This is just normal, social pecking order. The teenage hens will be terrorized for a few days. But now we have the young roosters and the old rooster issue. The old hens will also terrorize the young roosters, too. But the relationship between the old hens and the young roosters is mostly just a matter of 'get out of my way.'
The old rooster is a different issue, though. Sometimes, but not often, you can introduce new roosters to an old rooster. But you don't want blood in your chicken house. As a general rule, but not always, an old rooster will not tolerate a young rooster, it's just simply a male thing. So the old rooster is going to have to go. I have found that roosters raised together are generally tolerant of one another, even though one is the obvious dominant rooster. But these birds weren't raised together and the old rooster just will not tolerate a young rooster in his chicken house. Again, use your imagination as to where the rooster goes. He's too old to fry, he's too old to bake, so he's just going to go.
So, now, in the chicken house, I'll have 25 ten day old baby chicks in their own pen, a mixture of 15 fifteen week old teenage hens, 2 fifteen week old teenage roosters and 19 fifteen month old adult hens. In about five or six weeks, the teenage hens will start laying. They will lay brown eggs. The current adult hens lay green eggs. When the teenage hens' egg production reaches an acceptable number, then the green egg hens will need to move on to a new home. It's a whole lot easier to get rid of laying hens than it is an old rooster. You can either take them to a chicken sale, sell them very cheaply to someone wanting to start up a chicken flock, or you can give them away. They will still lay good for another year or two.
So, this is where we are. Some people would say that my chicken plans are not stable, and they're right. I tried the Easter Egg chickens, and I was just not happy with the bird. Now I'm going to try a new bird. You might be asking, "What about the baby birds?" When they are about 12 weeks old, just about the time the adult birds will be leaving, I will introduce them to the rest of the flock. When the time comes, I will decide which 20 or so hens I will keep. I will find a good home for the remaining birds. Then maybe life will settle down in the chicken house.
It's been a roller coaster ride for the last couple of years. When the brown egg layers start producing, I will let you know how things are going. But, in the meantime, I'm going to have my lower back opened up, and we'll see how that goes. Take care, and may God be with you.
We'll talk more later. Frank