Monday, September 30, 2013

New Recruits

My chickens are pretty much a money pit right now.  Five roosters, one cockerel (who did manage to find his way into the coop last night) and fourteen hens.  And only a few eggs a day.  Not enough to sell.  Hardly enough to supply us with omelets and I can't recall the last time I sent Mom home with a dozen.

So last month I clicked on Murray McMurray under my "favorites" tab so I could order some Black Star and Australorp pullets and a few Polish Crested roosters (so the rest of the flock would have somebody to make fun of).  Alas, my perpetual procrastination prevented any possible pullet poultry purchases.  Of any breed.  I went through my favorite egg layers only to find that the males were the only ones available.  Then I started clicking on the other oddball or fancy breeds.....with no such luck.  Not a single pullet to be found.  Anywhere.  I even started doing a general internet search for "day old chicks" to see if I could find any other hatchery that still had pullets available.  And the only thing I found were Leghorns.  Which I suppose I could have bought if I were really desparate, but around here, white chickens do not last long.  Easy bobcat pickins with those "Eat Me" bright white feathers.  And I do prefer brown eggs as do just about anyone else that would buy them from me.

I would occasionally find a listing in the local paper or FB page for home hatched chicks, but all were the standard "barnyard mutt" mix.  Which normally I wouldn't mind, but I already have a barnyard mix and really need to get some pure strands of good egg layers in the mix.  I suppose I could have hatched out my own about a month ago, but now there's no way I'd be able to collect enough to fill the incubator as I'm only getting two or three eggs a day and then I'd still be back to hatching out a barnyard mutt mix anyhow.

I remember getting a flyer from the "big" feed store in town that had "Chick Days" on the front cover about a while back, so I had Paul stop by on his way home from work to see if they still had any left.  Luckily they did.  So I had him buy twenty Rhode Island Red pullets (the only breed they had) and a bag of chick starter.

Our new recruits are about four weeks old now (we got them three weeks ago and I guesstimated they were already a week or more old) and they are already outgrowing the small pen.  Once I get my bum in gear and clean out the larger pen I'll put them in there for "Phase Two".
Twenty not-so-happy-to-see-me pullets.  Or what were supposed
to be all pullets.  I think I spy at least one rooster in that batch.


  1. My chickens have been a money pit this year least the past 3 months they aren't laying well at all and (GOD FORBID !!!) I have had to buy eggs. They are awful. lol And expensive. (When did eggs get so expensive ??) Husbandman said he saw some at Rural King a few weeks ago--weird time of year for them to have chicks...

  2. We incubated and got 18 to hatch split between roosters and little hens. We gave the hens to my husband's boss who was looking to increase his flock and we have plenty - too many eggs most times and end up throwing some away. Now I'm trading them for crocheting lessons at work. The roosters we will eat. The only one I purchased (free really) was Bird, my cross beaked blind chick.

  3. I almost hate to say it ('cause come late December I will be hoarding every single egg I can get my hands on) but we're getting way too many eggs now and have been all summer. (Gee, could it be we've got too many hens for the number of eggs we need? Duh . . . ) Then we let two banties set on clutches this summer. One hatched out an only child and the other had quadruplets. We've simply got to get a handle on our chicken situation. Chicken Noodle Soup anyone?

  4. If you ever want black Giant Cochin eggs to hatch just ask. I will send you some. My girl went broody recently so she's taking a break from laying but she will be back at it soon.
    I learned the hard way about light colored birds attracting predators. My only white hen was the first to go and then the yellow ones and the silver one. My flock is pretty dark now.
    Congrats on your new layers!!!!