Hello from west Texas

farmerjan

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Yes, I have made an occasional "allowance" for a favorite animal. That is only fair and shows that we are not looking at them as ONLY for our benefit.... But for the most part, they have to pay their way somehow. I buried my old cow Smokey... raised her from a calf, and she gave me 14 or more years of calves.... she got down and I decided then that she deserved to die in peace on the farm, not get her up and babied til she was well enough to go to the stockyard. I also buried the first guernsey cow that I bought. I was only her 2nd owner, the first owner raised her from a calf, then had a stroke and could not milk.... they sold all the cows but her and kept her for their personal use, but the grandchildren went off to college so couldn't continue to help out and milk, and then he had another stroke. Got her when she was 7 or 8 and had her for another 6-7 years. Buried her too. But that is only a very few out of the hundreds of cows we have had over the last 40 years... We have buried cows that have died, but we try hard to sell cattle before they get to the "last legs" stage.
I have kept chickens that laid very little in the spring because they have been exceptional birds, in the purebreds. The genetics they have contributed made it worth it to be able to get a few more eggs. The commercial layers would stay as long as they laid decent.
Like you, an egg eater is/was/won't be tolerated..... Mean roosters are not tolerated.
 

Hinotori

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My large fowl chickens lay, but there are some that are pets. The old hens are smart and have passed on their knowledge. The head hen was 9.5 when she died in her sleep last fall. She'd begun sharing her duties the year before with her protégé who followed her as a minion since she was a teenager. There was no strife between them and the head hen never allowed excessive bullying. Made for a calm flock when new members were introduced.

The silkie genes crossed with ameraucana and easter egger have made for smaller broodier birds, but they have become fantastic foragers and are good layers.

The half silkie rooster escaped the stew pot last year because he's the most paranoid bugger I've met. He takes his guard duty seriously and will actually stand off from where the hens are hiding and watch the hawks. He does not even hint at threatening people, but the cat has gotten a face full of claws. Stupid cat thinks it's funny to ambush the hens to see them freak out.
 

HornyToadAcres

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Down side of using predatory insects here is that it's so very cold that populations never get a chance to get established.
Yes, I agree it would be hard to do it naturally in northern zones.

Pretty sure what I am doing Is simply adding them to the environment once a month. I hate to explain this because it is the opposite of self-sufficiency not to mention we can barely afford it this year. But the thought of enduring the swarms of flies again puts it at the bottom of the "not quite necessities" list of things we can delete to make do.
 

HornyToadAcres

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My large fowl chickens lay, but there are some that are pets. The old hens are smart and have passed on their knowledge. The head hen was 9.5 when she died in her sleep last fall. She'd begun sharing her duties the year before with her protégé who followed her as a minion since she was a teenager. There was no strife between them and the head hen never allowed excessive bullying. Made for a calm flock when new members were introduced.

The silkie genes crossed with ameraucana and easter egger have made for smaller broodier birds, but they have become fantastic foragers and are good layers.

The half silkie rooster escaped the stew pot last year because he's the most paranoid bugger I've met. He takes his guard duty seriously and will actually stand off from where the hens are hiding and watch the hawks. He does not even hint at threatening people, but the cat has gotten a face full of claws. Stupid cat thinks it's funny to ambush the hens to see them freak out.
Please please please post some pics of your silkie/ameraucana/EE birds!!
One of my daughters briefly raised silkies for a 4-H project. We drove 2 hours to meet a lady who was on a cross country silkie delivery run. And I had my first experience with bathing and blow-drying a chicken.
 

Hinotori

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Please please please post some pics of your silkie/ameraucana/EE birds!!
One of my daughters briefly raised silkies for a 4-H project. We drove 2 hours to meet a lady who was on a cross country silkie delivery run. And I had my first experience with bathing and blow-drying a chicken.

Part of my large fowl flock. There are 2 wheaten ameraucana, 4 hatchery "americana" easter eggers. Seven 1/4 silkie hens. And the rooster is half partridge silkie half wheaten ameraucana.



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Some of the silkies

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Hinotori

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Most of my silkies don't have vaulted skulls. I've not found that it makes any difference on the crest size, which is what people select it for. Head feather length is genetic.

How to make a silkie happy? Put her crest in a ponytail. Pumice here likes to get in my face and beg for me to rub her earlobes.

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HornyToadAcres

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Oh my, your chickens are amazing!
I didn't know about vaulted skulls but I do understand what you mean about hatchery Ameraucana, that is what mine are. Took me a little while to learn they were just Easter eggers. I bought some from TSC last spring (an impulse buy which I normally do not do) and some were not even EEs! But do lay lovely brown eggs.

The "golden" hen in the front of the top picture, is she a Wheaten?
 

Hinotori

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No. She's a mutt. 1/4 silkie, 1/4 ameraucana, half EE.

The hen in front in the second picture is wheaten. She's a little sun bleached. I used to have a lot of ameraucana but her and her sister are the last.

Here's from when I gave them fresh wheat straw. Really shows why the color has the name.
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