Sunday, May 3, 2009

The Future of Our Poultry

I've already been asked about half a dozen times, "What are you going to do with all of these birds?" The sad truth is, some of the chicks probably won't make it to the coup. They are only a few days old, and out of 40 chicks, a few will probably die. From there, we were only able to tell the difference between male and female Cinnamon Queens because the males are a much lighter - gray color and the hens are reddish - brown. The rest are unsexed (i.e. we don't know yet). In all, we only need two, maybe three roosters. Too many would cause problems with pecking order and too we would have a sport that's illegal in our state as opposed to a productive flock in the backyard. Once the chickens are mature enough that we can tell the hens from the cocks, we will save the nicest looking and behaving males and eat the rest. So by the end of summer, we will most likely have about 20 laying hens and 2-3 roosters.

The ducks we are keeping only for eggs unless two are male and one is female. Then one male will need to go to protect the female from being overly pursued.

About the Breeds:

All of our chickens are dual-purpose breeds meaning they are bred for both meat and eggs, although some are better suited for one over another.

Rhode Island Reds – dark red, common due to good egg laying ability and hardiness, brown eggs

Australorpes – Australian chicken breed, black, similar to Orpingtons, light brown eggs

Cinnamon Queens – red and white, quicker to lay than most, brown eggs

Barred Rocks – black and white striped (barred), light brown to pink eggs

Buff Orpingtons – light rust colored, very light brown to white eggs

Pekin Ducks - We believe this is what our chicks will look like as adults, but we aren't sure. Like our chickens, Pekin ducks are raised for both meat and eggs. Their eggs are large, white, rich eggs and are great for baking.

sources: Wikipedia and Backyard Chickens

Cousins Sam and Garrett came over to see the ducks and chickens.

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