Sunday, August 24, 2008

The Chicks are All Grown show me the EGGS!

Back on April 26th Harvest Thymes chicks arrived, much to my excitement & Dixie's curiousity ( I won't even tell you what the cats thought). This being my 1st chicken experience, I was quite surprised to see the little box all 28 came in. I wanted to have a variety of rare/watched breeds for the homestead.
Well, almost 4 months later the girls, and I believe 2 boys, have grown up quickly. Come on & meet everyone!

These are the Deleware girls. My niece Gracie & I like them the best so far:) They, however, like to peck at my shoes the most, esp. when I have my garden clogs on:)

This is one of 6 Golden Wyandottes I mom likes these best.
Below are the Dominques. I ordered 6 of these girls, they are the smallest of all the breeds I got & actually have been the quietest. I kind like them alot too.

Then I got a straight run of Silver Pencil Wyandottes. That is one of the girls in front. Behind her is one of the 5 Araucana's that I got. They are suppose to lay the colored eggs?

And below is Birdzilla. Can anyone tell me what he is, I am assuming "he" because he is HUGE! This was the "free rare breed" I got. Now I was looking through the McMurray catalog where I got the chickens and I am thinking possibly a Light Brahma? maybe sometype of Cochin? I would so appreciate anyone helping me out with this and of course if anyone has any chicken advice, I am so open for it. They are a total source of entertainment but it sure would be nice if someone would give me my first farm egg!!!!!! Come on girls, I told you the first one to give me an egg gets a prize!!!!!!



melanie said...

Good guess! I concur, he looks like a Light Brahma. We have had several Dark Brahmas in our flock, but no males (yet). He does not match any markings for a Cochin variety, and we've had all of those! Those are basically your two choices for feather-footed breeds.

Yes, the Ameracaunas will provide colored eggs; most likely green as the breed was developed by crossing the true Aracauna with a goo dbrown egg layer to develop what is sold in our country as an Ameracauna, or Easter-egger.

As they approach egg laying, your girls will have a few false starts - soft-shelled eggs, or very small or mis-shaped eggs. But after one or two, they will get it right. What you will soon be fighting is the length of their day. Egg laying is triggered by the day length, and they need 14 hours to start laying reliably. You can artificially lengthen their day to the required 14 hours with the use of a light in their coop. Either set a timer, or just monitor it yourself.

Once they have begun laying, try to keep them confined to the coop for at least the mornings so they learn to use the laying boxes. Once that habit is established ( a week at the most ), you can let them range and they will come back to lay as they need. Watch for egg-eating, you don't want to start that habit, so have plenty of food available, especially for the others who will be mighty curious about this new development.

We typically have ours lay through Thanksgiving with the use of the light, and then let the natural day set their schedule. Many will stop laying in the winter to conserve body temperature and energy, but some breeds may continue to lay (check the catalog for your breeds)

You can continue to use the light to extend the day right through the winter, but most breeds will "wear out" by the end of the second year, and you will have to purchase more new chickens to keep up the egg supply when the others taper off.

OK, so is that more than you wanted to know? If I left anything out, feel free to drop over and ask - we have had chickens for quite some time; my daughter shows them and we sell the eggs at market, and we've had all kinds of chicken adventures...

Nancy K. said...

That is THE most beautiful chicken coop I have ever seen! I want one just like it!! ;-) Did you make it yourself?

Thanks for all the info on egg laying, Melanie. Very useful for me and my teeny, tiny flock...

Pat in TN said...

I have to agree with Nancy, that is a outstanding chicken coop ... good gosh, when I had my 'ladies' they would have thought they were livin' in high cotton to have had such accommodations!!! LOL

Tammy said...

I too love your chicken coop...and all your out buildings. I built my coop about 20 years ago, and it looks it! :-)I have Dominques, and Ameracuanas at the moment and have had Wynadottes in the past. My current batch of ladies are anywhere from 5-8 years old and still going strong and laying enough eggs to keep me and some of my family supplied (I have 11 hens). Some of the these dual purpose breeds can still be productive at 'advanced' ages, if you don't mine keeping senior citizen fowl. :-) Also you might get some plastic eggs or golf balls and put them in their nesting boxes, so they can get used to the idea of where they should lay eggs before they even start. You have a lovely flock and you are gonna have LOTS of eggs pretty soon!

kristi said...

Melanie & Tammy,& Pat & Nancy:
thank you for the is so very appreciated! I will investigate the Brahmas more. I am adding Melanie & Tammy to my favorite blogs so I can just hit the link & ask a question!

The coop has a metal roof so I am hoping it will keep it warmer in the winter & there is a full window at the back for natural light & it has 2 roosting bars inside also!

I found this Amish gentleman that designs the most awesome barns. My coop was built down at his barn business & delivered already built on a flat bed truck & placed on a gravel very cool. I did the staining & painting myself. He also built me a shelter for my rams. I'll post pics of that this week. Thank you all for your comments & compliments....I truly love sharing w/all of you & I enjoy reading what you write too!

Michelle at Boulderneigh said...

We got our chicks in March, and still no eggs. What do they DO with all that food they eat??? And can I please have your beautiful henhouse?

Kara said...

I just found your blog and found it very helpful since I too am waiting for eggs from my first chickens. I thought my husband build a pretty nice chicken tractor until I saw your coop. WOW, very nice! I won't show my husband. What he doesn't know, won't hurt him.

Pamela said...

OK. You have to win the prize for the cutest chicken house. Definitely.

And I, too, am waiting for my first egg. My girls came at the end of April (23rd I think) and not a hint of an egg. Do you think if I set a stewing pot out beside the coop it would help?

(Yeah, they are in any danger of that happening.)

Garrett808 said...

I need to find out where you ordered your chicks from. I NEED some! LOL