The Road Home

The Road Home
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Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Chicken Sequences - Six, Twelve & Eighteen Months

Hi Everybody, Frank here.

I am going to remind you that we're coming up on another six month cycle date. Our teenage hens are now coming up on six months old, which means they are starting to lay pretty little pullet eggs. Which means, in about six more months, when they are twelve months old, their eggs will be ready to incubate. This is how the cycle goes. 

If you remember, a while back I kind of got out of cycle for a while. But I plan on incubating some eggs in late May, and they'll hatch in early June. The hens that are starting to lay right now will be the mothers of the eggs I hatch in June. I also have six hens that are mostly Black Australorp, that came from the group of birds that I had the cannibalism problem with. 

Another update. The rooster I'm currently using came from friends of ours that started with chickens this year. Well, he's become a little bit cantankerous lately, so we're going to put him down. But, wait! you say. You will need a rooster to have fertilized eggs. Pray tell, you are correct. Okay, back to reality. About 11 weeks ago, outside of any cycle that exists anywhere, we bought 25 mixed, heavy roosters. We bought these just to put some meat in the freezer. Well, being all roosters, I will keep a couple of them to replace my current rooster. Because I'm not going to allow an uncooperative rooster injure either Fern or I. Now, where are we. But, ironically as we speak it is butchering time for these new young roosters. So, I'm in the process of selecting two lucky young rooster candidates, to replace my old rooster. All the other roosters are going in the freezer. 

As you might remember a while back, one of my roosters decided to flog Fern, and I put the rooster out of his hateful misery with a 2 x 4. That certainly slowed my hatch rate that year. This time, I'm going to have a replacement when I dispatch the current rooster. This current rooster has an interesting behavior. Let me qualify. What he's doing is natural. He is defending his flock. But he is way too aggressive. Back to his behavior. When he is called to protection duty, he likes to hop up on the roost, get about human eye level, and fly at that human. This is why he is leaving. I'm not going to allow a chicken foot, or one of his spurs to seriously injure either Fern or I. Most birds attack your ankles or shin, that's somewhat tolerable. But I cannot allow this current rooster's behavior to continue. He's just started this in the last few days. Luckily, I have the young roosters that I bought for butcher to replace him with.

Hopefully, I can get back on the cycle of 6, 12 and 18. It's been an interesting year. It's been an interesting learning year. Having lower back surgery throws cycles out the door. But, hopefully that's over with now.
Okay, so where are we now? I have young hens starting to lay that are about six months old. In about six months I will incubate and hatch their eggs. Around next Christmas, the birds I hatch in June will start laying, just like the hens that are starting to lay right now. We can either butcher or sell our old hens when they are 18 months old, which is also around Christmas. Then our new young hens can keep us in eggs, and so the cycle continues. With the birds we hatch in June, these will be our replacement hens. All the males that hatch at the same time will be our meat supply. If we choose, we can keep a replacement rooster out of that batch also. Chickens aren't like goats or horses or cattle. It's okay to breed father to daughter. But it's also good every two or three years to introduce a new rooster from a different bloodline. It just keeps the whole flock more perky. Otherwise the tree would never fork.


So, this is what's happening at our house right now. I was released by my surgeon yesterday to resume normal activities, but instead of butchering 15 roosters, we've cut that number down to eight. Easier to transport and less standing time. These are the modifications we make in life. I hope your chicken house is happy and content. I hope you enjoy these little reminders, and if you have any questions, please put them in the comments.

We'll talk more later. Frank

4 comments:

  1. Good information.

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    1. Thank you. We're glad you found something useful.

      Fern

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  2. Just wondering if current rooster behavior is due to the new roosters? Not that that makes any more tolerable!
    Kelly in
    K'ville, NC

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    Replies
    1. It could be, Kelly, but we just don't know, and now he is gone. We will watch for similar behavior next year when we have another batch of young roosters. Thank you for the comment.

      Fern

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