Friday, October 30, 2009

Chicken Update

What do you do when you're waiting and waiting for that first egg? Everything I'd researched indicated that my Americaunas at least would start to lay mid-October, the Hamburgs take longer to mature. I check the nesting boxes at least 3 times a day, looking for more than the plastic Easter egg I left there for inspiration. I've shown them the calendar, nagged them to earn their keep, etc. But no eggs yet. I know that with the days getting shorter, hens typically slow down their egg production, but I hope I don't have to wait until spring. I just purchased a solar shed light to install in the coop to give them more daylight, so maybe that'll help.

The Americauna pullets - no Easter eggs yet

Meanwhile, I ordered more chicks! Read on for more about them. Just two this time, but I wanted to get some that were a little older. My thought process is that with impending winter, I think it'd be easier to get new birds outside sooner than in January. I'm trying to put off more new chicks until spring as you have to wait until the new ones are fully feathered and are the same approximate size of the existing flock in order to integrate them successfully. Chickens don't naturally get along with strange birds, so one must be careful.

Silver Spangled Hamburg pullet and our crowing cockeral "Shanaynay"
When Shanaynay first started to crow, it was cute. Not even a full "cockadoodledoo", but more of a sarcastic "cockadoo", once a day. He crows more often now, but I try to keep it in perspective. We don't have neighbors close by and even if they did complain, we put up with the incessant barking of their standard poodles for years (the dogs finally died). There are neighbors a little further away who also have a rooster, so who's to know where the crowing is coming from? Compared to the larger breeds of roosters, Shanaynay's crow is not deafening. And since Hamburgs are such shy, flighty birds, he's not aggressive at all. Roosters are commonly known to flog or attack anything they deem as a threat to their flock. If Shanaynay feels we are a threat, such as when we hold one of the hens or are standing too close, he crows. And we do appreciate the fact that Shanaynay is one handsome little dude.

I mentioned the two new chicks. One of the other advantages to getting older chicks is that you can be more certain that they are in fact girls. These two are 6-week-old Jersey Giants from breeder Maria Hall in Indiana (chickens are shipped through the good old US Post Office).

Once I discovered the Jersey Giant breed to be the largest of the chickens, I knew I had to have one, rationalizing that if I have big cats, I'm supposed to have big chickens too. A fully mature Giant hen can get to be 12 pounds, although they take longer to reach their full size than normal sized hens. My two are considered to be blue. They also come in black and splash. Their color looks alot like the new blue smoke tortie kitten I have, Gargoyle. I named the new girls Thelma and Louise. Louise is shown here

Now I have two new chicks to distract me while I continue to wait for the first egg.

Feline twin, Gargoyle, a blue smoke tortie
Posted by Picasa

No comments:

Post a Comment