Monday, 18 April 2011

Poultry catch up

So much has happened over the last few weeks ... not all good.

Today I candled the eggs under the broody Indian Game, nine eggs from heavy breed hens using the Indian Game cockerel.

After all the eggs from the first setting were infertile, in the hope of improving fertility I penned the cockerel and four hens in the stable for two weeks before setting this clutch. Today candling showed only one of the nine viable.

I made the very hard decision of calling a halt to the sitting. I have removed all the eggs and shut the broody hen out into the run part of the ark... she is not, understandably, very happy.

Another hard desicion will be 'what next?' re. the cockerel.

I also have another rather angry broody maran, who for the life of her can't understand why I will not let her spend all day in the nestbox terrorizing any hen that dares to enter the house, but see fit to place her in a small run with nowhere comfy to snuggle down.

Talking of broodies I have two more but I am offering these for sale. They are crossbred, very freindly birds who will make excellent sitters and mothers. When not broody they lay almost/if not daily.

The chicks are growing fast and are now 4 1/2 weeks old. Many of the Welsummers are cockerels, the Leghorns appeared to be more evenly divided.

All the hens are laying well, the Welsummers especially and their fertility is high.

It is a good time of year for all the poultry.

The goose has finally come into lay. I will leave her eggs in her nest in the hope she decides to sit, although due to their age goslings are not likely.


  1. It was lovely to see your beautiful Welsummer chicks recently. I'm sorry your fortunes are mixed at the moment. With your skill, patience and experience the good things will outweigh the rest but it's irritating meanwhile. We're down to one hen now. I blame the weather.

  2. Thank you. There are no problems really, just humans trying to impose their will on nature and realising it's not to be.

    All the chicks are thriving and I now, also have 5 beautiful,healthy lambs to occupy my time.

    I read about your hen, she does appear very happy and I'm sure the other two are equally happy in their new home.

  3. Hi Sandra, poultry extraordinaire...
    We have started our first broilers or table birds, as I think is a much nicer name. They are Cornish Rock X from the local feed store. These are the common commercial bird in the US and though I am certain they accomplish their purpose, I am saddened by how heavy they are and how their legs can barely hold them up. We've also had 2 of 15 die and another is very small and not looking well. Can you suggest a breed that would provide us with meat for the table, but in a more natural, healthy way for the birds? I am not in the rush to have them done in 8 weeks as they do with the commercial birds. We can order different breeds from the hatchery over the internet.
    Thanks in advance...

  4. To be honest I don't know. I've been floundering in the dark. I wasn't happy with the idea or reports of commerical breeds such as the cobb but haven't quite found a more traditional breed I am completely happy with. Traditonal breeds tend to take at least 24 weeks to reach a decent weight and their composition is completely different.They will never reach a great weight, but I have found although they have much less breast meat overall you get a lot more meat from a carcass and the taste is great.

    So far the most popular in this house has been Indian Game cross Ixworth and Indian Game cross Australorp.

    I am still trying different crosses.

    As far as commerical breeds go I've heard that the 'red' birds eg. Freedom rangers are a little slower than Cobbs in growing and therefore present less problems, but it is not an area of poultry I am experienced in....sorry not a lot of help.

  5. Thanks, Sandra. I am going to try the Freedom Rangers. I talked with a gal who raises poultry with her husband following the Joel Salatin rotational grazing way. They are still using the Cornish X but are investigating other breeds and have started to look at the Freedom Rangers. There is a hatchery out of Pennsylvania that I will order from. We'll see how it goes.