Killing 6 stewing hens tomorrow and hope to get the other 10 done this week so as to free up that spare pen for leaf storage or other free or cheap meats~not likely this far into the year, but hope springs eternal.
Won't have much chicken meat going into the winter this year, which saddens me.
My landlord promised me some pallets (he can get them somewhere for free) so I can start building a small coop for my remaining 3 hens. I'm anxious to get that done, so I can clean out the shed and use that storage space for fuel for the fire. DS is asking for more chickens, but right now I don't want to take on more birds. Not least because of the lack of proper housing (that I don't mind sharing)
The cold weather and the leaf fall has finally accomplished my flock integration. All fall I've had pullets and cockerels roosting out in the peach tree and a few outsiders roosting wherever they can find a corner to sleep in, just not in the coop with the main flock.
Then I did my final butchering, removing a lot of that young flock and shaking things up to the degree that integration was initiated. The colder weather finally forced the final stragglers up on the coop roosts.
The beauty of free ranging....wherein the chickens integrate at their own pace and are able to establish their social standing out in the open where they can escape any pecking order issues until they are big enough to stand up to it.
Yesterday one of the pullets started to lay, so it feels like harmony has been reached within the flock. The new flock master, this year's cockerel, has taken his place as guardian and breeding male and watching how the hens changed in their attitudes towards him is always entertaining. Just three short weeks ago he was roosting out in the peach tree and not able to flock with the main group of hens at all. Now they jockey to see who gets to sleep next to him. It's all about survival of the flock.
Need to do fall inspection...I'm way behind. Looking forward to it this year due to the chicken hammock and how easy that it makes the whole process.
The new flock master...gangly and rangy, still filling out and won't be his mature size until spring. These WRs mature rather slowly compared to other more tampered with breeds.
Saw a hen on the wood pile on the front porch this morning...she was searching all over that wood pile. I knew exactly what she was looking for and what hen, white among all the white ones, she was.
Two years ago this same hen had laid a nest of eggs in this tiny space behind the wood pile and sat on them, hatching out 15 chicks. I had loaded up her nest a little after I found it, putting in some eggs I had wanted hatched along with her own.
Two years later she's looking for her old nest???? Remarkable!
I can't get the dogs to remember to stay inside of an electrified fence, their memory between each episode of getting lost for days out in the wilderness and coming home sore, stiff, hungry and tired just gone...poof! But a chicken can remember a nesting site from 2 yrs ago?
I'm hoping she's not planning on going broody at this time of year.
Took a few pics of a few birds out enjoying the green grass and sunshine today. They are loving the unseasonably warm weather and egg production is peaking out...soon they'll be wanting to start a family, so I spent the day getting the maternity ward cleared out in preparation for setting it up for brooding.
Took some pics of the WR male I have for breeding this season and have been trying to compare him with the silhouette of the Plymouth Rock breed standard conformation...his tail angle is closer than any of the WR males I've had before, so something is going right in that direction.
The hen's tail angle, not so much...need to be a bit higher for the breed standard. They've got the width right but a tad too much cushion on the back and that too straight tail angle. Could be this high tail cockerel will give me some pullets with a better tail angle.
This one's a WR mutt...mixed with BA. Sometimes they make GREAT layers and they tend to have a meatier carcass than the BAs, so I don't mind the mix at all. They can be my utility layers.
Here's a pallet thingy of sorts that I scrounged out of the free pallet stack down at the local feed store, Rural King. I want to make that into a brood nest box unit for my maternity ward...just need to tweak it a bit. That thing is HEAVY.
great find I can see how that would be prefect for a nesting boxes.. and after reading your post I have added a straight run of 15 White Rocks to my order to mix in to my planned Self supply meat bird line that I am trying to create.