Archives for April 2013
Even a good layer hen will only produce a lot of eggs in her first couple of years. Then it’s either permanent retirement or the stewpot for her. Only one of the current batch of Stray Arrow hens has earned permanent pet status, the others are still on probation.
Planning ahead for next year, we brought home some baby chicks to raise as replacements for our more senior girls. The grey ones are Blue Andalusians, the brown ones are Ameraucana. The Andalusians will lay white eggs, the Americaunas are different shades of blue and green.
We have one Ameraucana now, and wanted some white egg layers for this year. I read somewhere that if you alternate your white vs brown layers every year, you can tell when the senior members of the flock are starting to slack off.
The farm store labels will tell you which breeds are good for cold weather, lay sooner, skittish, etc. The Andalusians are “flighty,” which we did not interpret literally enough. After a week they were flapping their way out of the cardboard box in the laundry room. Since Mango and Slate are still anxious to help us solve our birds-in-the-house problem, not to mention the chicken debris potential, loose birds were a no-go. The chicks got upgraded housing this weekend: a borrowed watering trough with heat lamp in a comfy spot in the garage. Added bonus: it’s a lot quieter inside.
In their first week, they started sporting little tails. If it warms up this week, they will get a supervised outing on some real dirt. And some treats, so they are tractable later when we need to handle them. The interweb wisdom for a chickie’s first treat? Hard-boiled egg.