It’s been a busy/crazy couple of weeks and what I had planned to post a day later than usual is suddenly a whole week later than usual! Winter is finally finishing its encore and hopefully Spring will be making its debut. I’ve got daffodils and tulips pushing up through the ground along with a few rosy nubs of rhubarb and peonies. My brooder full of fluffy babies is now full of half feathered fluffy babies. They are trying to fly and are always anticipating when I will take the lid off the tote and make a grab for them. Butterfly (what I’ve decided to name my Gold Laced Wyandotte) is the oldest and biggest. Cadbury is (my largest French Cuckoo Marans) next in line, but she seems to be content flitting around the bottom of the tote where the food and heat is.
My three Golden Sexlinks, Attila the Hen, Biscuit, & Waffle, are probably the next in line for escape artist. One of them was on top of the little roost I built for them to play on and hopefully learn how to roost for bed on, had decided to poke her little head through the chicken wire. There’s now a towel over that part so she doesn’t hang herself, accidentally break her neck, or have the cats learn how to play wack-a-chick. Two weeks of confinement done and about six more until the books say they can go out into the coop. They need to be fully feathered out, so some of them may end up ready to go before others being as there is a week or two age difference between some of them.
The Sexlinks and my Leghorns (Sherbe(r)t and Lemon) feather pretty quickly so they will probably be ready sooner than the littler ones. A-La-Queen my little straight run (meaning no idea if boy or girl so I’m hoping girl) Polish may actually be a Polish Bantam. Bantams are smaller birds than the standards and so she’d be less than 4 pounds fully grown. So A-La-Queen is the smallest of the bunch with French Fry (another French Cuckoo Marans). They are feathering, but very slow. I’m hoping it is just them and not that they are boys. French Fry is supposed to be a girl, but the way they check is not 100%. The breed is supposed to be auto-sexing also, meaning boys and girls look different in fluff/feather pattern and coloring. That isn’t always 100% either because genetics is weird. I have about 4 more weeks until I get my next batch of Leghorns. I’m pretty sure I’m going to name them Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Mo. Solid white chickens are hard for me to name because they are all white, and it takes awhile for the personality to show through.
Maybe I shouldn’t have ordered 4 of the Leghorns. It’s kind of an experiment for me. I have four that I adopted at 3 months old and they are NOT my favorite bird in the flock. Anyone chatting with me about my chicken farming will find out that there are two things I am 100% solid on in regards to my Leghorns. #1 – I absolutely hate them. I don’t require all my birds to be lap pets and enjoy snuggles (I’m looking at you Cheeka & Marian), but I do appreciate being able to walk up to them and pick them up to put them back in the run with minimal athletics involved when they escape the coop/run when I’m getting eggs or cleaning. Sesame, Dumpling, Marsala, & Olaf are not birds I can do that with. If they get out it is an Olympic sport to get them back in the run without the rest of the flock taking a field trip. Chasing around the exterior of the coop/run in garden slip on shoes or muck boots is not fun and I’m sure the neighbors appreciate the comedy of it. #2 – they are the BEST layers I have ever had. HUGE white eggs that look like they should have come out of a mammoth bird like my Dark Brahma, Buckbeak, that are just picture perfect almost every time (minus the muddy poopy bits in the wet weather). #2 is the ONLY reason they are still with me and why I am getting more. When I got the Leghorns, the original owner who raised them said that they allowed the kids to walk in and just pick them up. I had hopes that they would adjust to me. Nope. Not at all – unless they are roosting and can’t get away fast enough. So with my baby Leghorns I am hoping that they will at least bond with me enough as little fluff balls that I can approach them, pick them up, and do what I need to.
(Olaf, pictured above, had to get a bath and blow dry on a cold evening because she broke a toe nail and had blood and chicken poop everywhere – she’s fine – and still sparkly white)
Two weeks after my Leghorn floofs arrive, I am getting 4 Austrawhites. They are going to be all white with black splashes on them. Well – when they are no longer fluffy floofy peeps that is. They are a cross between a Black Australorp and a White Leghorn – thus the name Austra and White. They are supposed to have the amazing laying ability of the Leghorn and the personality of an Australorp. If they do hold those amazing super powers (Marian is an Australorp, I think, and she’s like a puppy, a puppy with wings…) then I will eventually replace my Leghorns with them. As it is for space the original 4 Leghorns are probably going to go to a new home this summer once the babies are laying. My only bird restriction is that they must all humanely fit in my run and coop. I have a number in my head but it will be a few months until I know who is a girl and who is a roo. I need to make a sign for my coop that says “No Boys Allowed!”. The outbreak of Chicken Lice is almost all gone (only a few eggs here and there but not any new ones or any more creepy crawlies) and so my Olivander Roo will be going to his new home hopefully before the babies get out into their next home. 🙂
Now I get to go clean the chicken coop – fun – all a day in the life of a chicken farmer 🙂