Thursday, 17 June 2010

Chickeny updates

So, where are we with our myriad of flocks?

The four Garden Girls are doing well.  Delilah, our oldest and most gorgeous hen, is definitely slowing down now. She's a Bluebelle hybrid and is at least 3 years old,  so "every day is a blessing". (Sorry to be so trite).

Our second hatch of the year (5 Sassos, 1 Welsh Black, and 1 Australorp) are coming along in leaps and bounds.  Seven week sold now, tey are growing well, and are happy little (well, not so little) chooks.    We're keeping the Eglu door shut at night because it can still be a bit chilly and they are still only occupying a 3rd of the Eglu space.   it'll be time for them to go to their permanent home soon.

We still believe the Australorp is a girl,  and so she will (eventually)  with a new friend, join my Garden Girls.  She escapes regularly is as light as a feather (despite being as big as the others) and has the most gorgeous eyes.  The Welsh Black is very interesting.  She has speckles of brown in her feathers, and we have no idea where that has come from. She also has black legs with a greenish tinge!  If she's a she, then she and one of the Sassos will (current plan) join Roo and his harem.  The Sassos  seem to be 2 girls and 3 boys.  One of the Girls is the sole offspring of Mrs Roo Too, and it looks like she's going to be as big as her mum.  Not ideal for breeding then (we think that the hen being big is why Roo couldn't get a grip)  so it probably won't be her who joins the harem.  

Our third and final hatch of the year, 3 weeks old today, started coming outside three days ago, in the Eglu Go.  We wanted to bring them out earlier but the weather was foul.   

Now, however, the weather has been kind, and so they are out all day as long as it is warm and dry. They go back in their brooder under the electric hen in the evening.     The odd one out, that we thought was a Sasso, we now think is probably a Taffo, just an odd colour.  We won't know until next year whether this will be a regular colour.

We gave them a dust bath tray today, and they are loving it. As the chicks always do.

Down on the allotment, the Girls are looking really happy and healthy.  All but Mrs are happy to take corn from the hand and to be picked up, inspected, cuddled.  Norman still has to have a peck or two, but it seems to be excitement rather than aggression.   Pogo is looking fantastic, very little sign of lameness now.

In the breeding Pen, following the sad death of her sole chick, Rose has given up being broody. We've shut the broody house, as we need to move it ready for the 6 week olds to move down to the allotment.    Mrs Roo is being really horrible to her.  She continues to be happy to eat from our hands.  Ruby is still being quite flighty.  I've removed her saddle, and I'll see how she goes over the next day or two before I decide whether to replace it or not.  Roo  continues to be magnificent.

We've been losing feed to rats (the Allotment Cam is fab!).  We've been putting traps down and have caught quite a few.  Traps, although not very  pleasant are a much better way of killing rats than the poison/shooting alternatives.   We bought 2 treadle feeders for the breeding pen to combat the problem. 

The Harem are fine with them, but Roo is finding it very difficult to get his face furniture in.    DH has been busy making a wooden version of a Grandpas Feeder (a much better - and more expensive - design).  We'll see how they get on with this and, if it works, we'll think about getting a proper Grandpas Feeder for them later.

Too soon to say if they areworking as they are still at the "wedged open" stage.

Sorry for the lack of pics.  I'll take some over the next few days and post soon.

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