Here we go. Introducing the second generation of Meadow hens (and I’m betting a few roosters too). After three years I’ve finally clued into how the chicken cycle works around here. Initially I thought you just called up the Farm Supply shop and ordered hens and picked them up. Hmmm … turns out there are seasons for that.
I learned that there is a BIG difference between breeds. The Red Sex Link hens (Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Deb) lay year round for about two years. And then their poor systems are kaput. Plus – they are bred in such large pens and have their beaks laser clipped at a day old to keep them from pecking each other.
After meeting Paddy (our current rooster) and one of his sidekicks (Lyndie) – and doing some reading about their breed – Orpingtons – I realized we’d be much better off investing in those. These girls will lay for four or five years – will live longer than that if they are healthy – and are winter hardy and quite tame. All good traits for our little hobby farm.
The Farm Supply store has a waiting list for Orpingtons … until NEXT spring! But I happened upon two local farms offering up some month old Orpingtons … and leaped!
We are now raising five Buff Orpingtons (cream coloured), two Black Orpingtons and I think you call the greyish ones Blue Orpingtons. We tried to identify which of the many chicks were hens … but I’m betting there will be at least three roosters in this little group.
They all look a little prehistoric … with feathers coming in willy nilly. I’m so glad I was able to find them. They can now spend the next month forming their own flock. When the new coop arrives they can move into the east-wing and will meet the veterans through the divider screen.
I’ve converted the goat’s winter bedroom to their coop. They have a pop door that lets them out into the woods area. We’ve fenced that to keep them separate from the rest of the flerd until they are ready to be integrated … likely in late August or September. It is lovely to have the sounds of chick peeps and whistles around the paddock again!
Rosie tries to convince me that she should clean out their coop. She’s more than willing to nibble up spilled food … and will even try out some chick poop. Yuck!
Instead she settled for some delicious fresh timothy hay. 😉
The goats couldn’t really care less about the newbies. They are just happy if I can find time to hang out with them – preferably sitting in a cool barn. (It is still wickedly hot and muggy here.)
I feel bad when they dutifully follow me down through the woods and the front paddock to our compost bin. Yesterday they got a treat … an old ironwood had come down in a storm. Fresh leaves!
They are loving the back pasture too. I leave the gate open all day long now. Dottie and MayMay will come and go. Often I will see them running for their shelter – rubbing against rocks and trees along the way – trying to lose clouds of deer flies!
Same goes for the jennies. Can you spot Rosie? Long ears in long grass.
It isn’t only the outdoor critters that are trying to beat the heat. We’ve never seen Ozzie do this before! He actually got right up there and sat with his face soooooo close to that fan!
Thank goodness the nights are cooling off as they are.
Stay cool and safe.