There have been lots of changes to the cast and crew of this blog over the last year. This update in particular is about the changes to my chicken flock The hens I had when I started this journey are getting older, laying less, and becoming less present now that I have a rooster.
For my birthday last year I received a set of Wheaten Ameraucana hatching eggs. Unfortunately they were poorly packaged, of the 8 received, only four developed and three hatched. Later in the year two of them got taken by a raccoon, including the only hen of the trio. That left me with only a rooster to my name of the handsome blue egg layers I’d hoped to receive… And I was certainly not getting any blue eggs. Luckily, I wanted to keep a rooster to start a line of easter eggers. I spent part of the fall selling hatching eggs cheaply to test fertility and drumming up some good press for my shipping methods. One person was so happy they went and raved about how good of a job I did shipping by making a thread about it on a certain chicken forum with lots of pictures. Another person had 12/14 eggs shipped develop. All around it went well. So far my boy has not brought any complaints upon him…. But I intend to be putting a no-crow collar back on him come spring time when windows will be open. It’s been nearly a year now since he hatched, and a good solid 6 months since he started crowing… But we also got new neighbors last month.
We now have some new birds on the roost, and have a total of 14 birds on the property. Unfortunately, six of those will likely be rotating out sooner than later (mostly my older egg hens). To replace them we have some fancier birds.
A set of blue/black/splash Ameraucanas has moved in (the black one not featured here). I was lucky to find these fine specimens of ameraucanas available for a good price. Ameraucanas are a beautiful purebred bird but often get crossbred into Easter Eggers and then sold as Ameraucanas falsely or under a mis-spelled name (ex; Americana, ameracana, etc). For clarification, Ameraucanas always have blue or slate legs, beards and muffs, have a restricted number of colors, one set body type and always lay blue eggs. Anything else is an easter egger, a beautiful cross breed, better suited for home-flocks, likely hardy and possibly laying blue or even green eggs, but not a purebred bird.
Two Cornish crosses have stayed on from our meat bird run this year… Bertha and Betsy run with the flock, dust bathe with the flock, roost with the flock (on extra-wide and low roosting spots), forage with the flock, and are even being bred by Mr. Wheaton (though he does have some trouble with their size sometimes). I had to throw food on the ground to get them to sit still long enough to photograph. Most of their time is spent being some of the most active birds in the whole flock.
There are three chicks hatched out here on the homestead that are growing to take over some egg laying duties. Two are out of the Australorp (and are black), and one is out of a golden buff (and is buff with black flecks and a black tail). They are nearing full grown and laying age these days, and we expect them to start laying very early in the spring. As it stands, they’re so active that we can hardly get a photograph!
And of course, we have our rooster himself! Being a black wheaten ameraucana, he comes from purebred blue egg layers and is a handsome and cautious bird. He is beautiful, but difficult to photograph as he keeps his distance… A trait I can’t help but approve of in a world where many roosters try to attack any humans who handle the hens. He’s really more of a lover, calling hens out to eat, to roost, to drink, and always being vigilant for predators.
I think that about sums up the current flock. Next cast of characters will be the rabbits! Until then…!