Tuesday, January 18, 2011

It’s Seed & Chick Catalog Time!

There are very few items that I look forward to getting in the mail.  Seed & chick catalogs are two of the few exceptions.  A box of L&M Chocolates would be another.
But back to the non-chocolate stuff.  I’ve been spending an inordinate amount of time browsing the McMurray catalog; making lists, crossing things off, putting them back on the list, adding just ten more chicks, might as well make it an extra dozen…..
Our chicken flock is at eighteen birds right now.  One black mutt rooster (Australorp somewhere in there), one Production Red hen, two Easter Egger hens, one Australorp hen, three black something-or-other hens (one of which may actually be a rooster) and ten Barred Rock hens.  Seventeen laying hens may seem like a lot, but not when it’s the dead of winter & I’m only getting one, maybe two eggs a day.  I was also hoping to sell more eggs this spring & summer to help offset the chicken feed bills.
Oooo!  What kind do you think she'll get us this year Bonnie? I hope she buys one of those Phoenix hunks instead of whatever's in the bargan bin at Farm & Fleet.
Well, Gloria, I personally prefer the White Faced Black Spanish Roosters, but you know I'm a sucker for those boyish Mediterranean faces.

I think I’m going to try incubating eggs again.  I’ve done it three times already, once with good success but the second & third times it didn’t go so well.  The last time I tried incubating I only got one live hatch and since it’s a pain in the butt to raise just one chick, I ended up giving it to a guy at Paul’s work who just bought a bunch of chicks.
Of course, if I incubate the eggs it means that I’ll have to keep them warm in a brooder after they hatch, then move them to an enclosed pen so they don’t get pecked to death by the older birds until they are several months old.  Makes me wish I had a few good broody hens.  Well, I did have several hens go broody last year, but they have since met their maker by way of a bobcat, hawk or coyote dinner plate.
So I think I’m going to try both ways of obtaining chicks this year.  Along with incubating some eggs, I’ll buy a few Partridge Rock and Silkie hens in hopes that I can raise them for future broody hens.  I have grand dreams of eventually having a separate, totally enclosed chicken run to house my breeding hens & roosters.  It would be nice to know that I wouldn’t have to rely on a hatchery in order to keep our chicken numbers up.
Off to finish looking through the chick catalog.  I haven’t even made it to the fancy breed section yet.  Then there’s the goose, duck and peafowl section.  The list keeps getting longer & longer. 

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