Thursday, July 16, 2009

Farm Report: Hybrids, Freezer Burn, Egg Count

In a previous post about our new Hybrid Cochin/Bantam chicks, who I called the Three Heathers, I speculated that some of the Heathers might be Heathcliffs. Well as it turns out, two of them are. Here is all of the Hybrid birds together:

In the center foreground is Heather the hen. Behind her are her two brothers, Heathcliff and Heathcliff Too. Peaking in on the right, is our white-faced hen, "Freezerburn". You may recall that she was hatched later than the other three, from an egg I had accidentally put in the refrigerator for two or three weeks.

Andy bet me that it wouldn't hatch after being refrigerated, so I tried it as an experiment, and well, it hatched! She was raised by a Bantam hen who hatched the egg. She turned out smaller than the others, with a white face. I called her "Sputnick", but Andy and Pat call her "Freezerburn" because of her white face and her, uh, history of pre-hatching refrigeration. I've relented and gone with their name for her, because, well, if the shoe fits...

Freezerburn was not accepted by her siblings at first, because she was born later and hatched by a different hen. I had to keep her and her surrogate mom in a separate cage at night, let them loose in the daytime, and put them back each evening. Because of that she was handled a lot and became very tame. When her mother weaned her, Freezerburn imprinted on me for a while, because she had no siblings to hang out with. But slowly, gradually, her other hybrid siblings accepted her as one of the gang.

They hang out together pretty regular now. They all have feathery feet like their mom, so I call them the Feathery Foot Club. They can all fly, almost as well as the Bantam's can, and better than their Cochin mother (who can't really fly at all). The Orange-brown rooster seems to be growing a bit bigger than any of the Bantam roosters, but it remains to be seen if he will grow big enough to cross breed with the Pullets.

The Egg Count for June was as follows:

Pullets had 74 eggs, Bantams had 129, for a monthly total of 203. That's 15 more eggs than the prior month.

Hopefully we will have two more Pullet hens coming on-line soon, as our three new Buff Orpington's are maturing. Here they are with Pat:

One of them is a rooster, so if the Hybrid Rooster doesn't get big enough to cross breed, this rooster may be able to fulfill that role for the bigger birds. The three Orpingtons are living in the nursery section of the coop right now, to get used to being with the flock. They will probably get their first venture outside, free-range, this weekend.

End of Farm Report!

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