As spring gets closer I start to dream of the new chicks that I’ll get, right now my flock (19 of them) are all older hens, they don’t lay very well but they are funny.
But a farm can’t just be a place for old animals to retire so new chicks must come into being. I’m hoping this will be the last time I have to buy chicks through the mail, that after this I’ll be able to ‘grow’ my own or trade. Of course this means that I need to do more fencing and coop building, since each rooster (so breeding set) will need their own space.
I’ve been watching the Girls on mornings when I’ve got a bit of time or in the rare afternoon that I’ve managed to get off work. And I noticed that one of the Rhodes mounted another hen, hummm… an intersexed hen? Possible, but no spurs, hen feathered and no crowing. So just odd behavior.
The other day I saw one of the Barred Rocks do it. *Grumble and chase down chicken* This one DID have spurs, and not really hen feathered, but no crowing and not overly aggressive. I guess this one will be the first one we eat, unless I see her laying well that is. I have to assume that she’s intersexed, which means that she may not lay well and she probably can’t help make tiny Barred Rocks (although I’m tempted to try….)
The economics of raising chickens for mainly eggs mean you need to keep a very close eye on who’s laying. I haven’t been bothering to…yet. And knowing that I got these gals for free (or 1$ per) didn’t really make me worry about breaking even on their care, and I know that they’ll make tasty stew once the new chicks start to lay.
Any one who’s gone beyond getting free hens, or picking up hens from the local store know what a danger the hatchery catalogs can be. I’ve got a wish list of 40 chickens that include 5 different breeds, 2 types of turkeys, two duck types, a single goose type and all the pheasants- my rough total is only around 500$ (not counting fencing, coops, equipment) so I think some of them will have to wait. It’s worse than buying seeds since at least seeds can just wait in the cupboard, I don’t even have a place to brood these guys.