Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Wow, That's a Lot of Chickens!

Our chicken population has exploded. After realizing we only had a few hens left and they are still a ways from laying, we decided to push forward and buy some laying hens. After perusing Craigslist (the absolute best place to buy farm stuff if you can get past the poor spelling and all capital letters), we found an intriguing ad in Cabool. The gentleman had several different types for sale, and said to make an offer. So, for $130 we now have 10 laying hens, 3 more roosters, 13 more hens that aren't laying yet, and 9 younger mixed-breed chickens. This was a little more than what we had asked for, but they needed to get rid of everything, so now we've got quite the flock!

I love the diversity of our chickens.
Here's the breeds we have (in addition to a few unknown crosses): Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks, New Hampshire Delaware, Leghorns, Production Reds, Bantys, White Californias, Black Rocks, Cinnamon Queens, Buff Orpingtons, Black Austrolorpes, Peking duck, and an Indian Runner duck. We've got about 45 birds all together and so far everyone is getting along. We still have way too many roosters and will begin culling within the next month.

Before acquiring the massive flock, we added another set of nesting boxes inside the coop and installed hot wire around the top of the chain link that surrounds the chicken run. After the last major predation, we have been much more diligent about putting all of the chickens and ducks in the coop each night. Before the ducks would stay out and several of the chickens would roost in the trees. Now everyone goes in, no matter how big of a pain it is.

Adding to the flock is an interesting transition. There are tons of suggestions of how to do it on Backyard Chickens, but we put all of the new ones in the coop and closed them in at first. At dark, once they were all calmed down we put everyone in the coop together for the night. There will naturally be some pecking order squabbles, but because they are all similar enough in size, that should all work itself out in the next couple
of days. So far, so good.

I wish we could have got some Americaunas (Easter eggers) in the mix, but I think we've got plenty to keep ourselves busy. The big roosters are beautiful, if not a little intimidating! We've already gathered our first six eggs today!

Ben is thrilled to be sitting up these days. He still needs a lot of help and can't stay up very long.

1 comment:

  1. Great deal on the chickens! I love to peruse Craigslist, although I really haven't had much luck yet. I keep finding the 'proper' gander for my goose, but he's always waaaay down in your neck of the woods. ha! why can't I find one up here? I would even drive as far as Lebanon. I love your chicken diversity too, but you simply must add in a few Ameracaunas (sp?) at some point. Those colored eggs are wonderful. p.s. Gooooo Ben! He's really looking like a big boy now. -tammy