August 8, 2017

Ceaberry's Homesteading: Chickens -- Getting the Chickens

Our now 12 chickens came in two waves. My husband, ever the gossiper, was saying how he has wanted chickens to our neighbor. She said she had a few to off load if we wanted them. Well, that set into motion a bunch of events, including building the coop and run; creating a new egg gathering apron, and researching everything about chickens... and yes, that includes having to cull them.

To "cull" means to kill a diseased or malformed or injured animal for the sake and welfare of the animal. Homesteading has its not-so-pleasant moments and culling is an unfortunate side effect of owning livestock (which is how chickens are classified). If you do not know, I came across the "C" word with bunnies and thankfully they never needed that but it was a possibility. I live on a beef farm so you can see, culling is sometimes necessary.

We gather up the girls and get them in muck boots and farming clothes, ready for anything. We are all in farm clothes and shoes. Their house is high on a hill and beautiful, and pretty muck free so we looked a bit over dressed, but you never know. We saw the pullets in a coop/run area and there were 8 of them, but one she thought was a rooster. There were 6 rooster pullets in the run next to the pullet hens. We were there for 5 (at most) hens only. We left with 7 hens and a rooster... I am still not sure but I believe my husband said something like "well if we are going to take that many why not just take them all." Enabler. These were all pullets, that means they aren't mature yet.

You can see what I consider "farm wear" for my kids and my husband. Yup, a bit more frilly then normal clothes (we were going to someone else's house) but washable shoes. 

Now we got: 1. Rooster-- half silver-laced sebright and half australorp; 2. Hens -- 2 sebright bantams, 2 golden laced wyandottes, and 3 australorps (they have some polish in them due to white tipped wings).

These are our first pullet hens, that is a cat/small dog carrier that my mom used to carry  7 pullets in coincidentally. She let us borrow it for transporting.

This is our rooster: Diamond Joe.

Our pullets were happy, she told me they may peck at the rooster over night. Worried like well... a mother hen, I went to see him the next morning. I opened the coop to find all the girls in a circle and our rooster, now named Diamond Joe?? In the middle. I think he will be fine.
Our pullets enjoying their run.
Some chicken action.

Showing off their feathers.

About a week later I got a message that something got a rooster that was guarding her favorite chickens and she was really worried (since they roosted in the trees) that something would get them as well. So we got 4 more chickens, proper egg laying ones. Two sebrights purebred, and 2 brown leghorns, I would say they are purebred but one lays a tinted egg which leghorns don't do. They melded into the flock beautifully and now we have 11 hens and 1 rooster (a bit more then the 5 hens I wanted to start with originally).
These are the sebrights, a bit shy at first hanging out in the coop. 

Our Brown Leghorns, they are the "twins" as we call them. Very fiesty.
Yes, our kittens absolutely love birdwatching. Especially, my Scottish kitty Simba.

Here are the sebrights plus a leghorn. Funny enough the pullet in the picture is one of the chicks of the sebrights and a wyandotte (I believe because of the feather lacing).

Now I am getting teased about chicks... like getting teased about my children and me having more, I think its because they are beautiful. My rooster is downright gorgeous. People want to see them have babies, and they are all very pretty but chicks is not in my future. We are hoping to get an Easter egger in the spring (a friend is hatching chicks and he put one in there for me).

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