If you get chickens, do your homework; some breeds are better at foraging than others. My flock of 20 Speckled Sussex only require about 1 scoop of food a week- they get the rest of their food by free ranging our fenced half acre. Our LGD keeps most of the predators away during the day, and they are locked into the coop at night.
@Britesea please tell me about your Speckled Sussex! I love their color, are they good layers and do the cockerels make a good carcass? I have been thinking about the Jubilee Orpingtons, because Orps are a favorite chickens of many people and the Jubilees have the color I love. But they are expensive!
@Reice by the way, thread high-jacks happen. We veer off topic, the discussion goes in another direction, then we get back on track.
I have not found my "it" chicken. I currently have Easter Eggers, they are good layers, I love the blue and green eggs, but they lack a good carcass.
@baymule I've been pretty happy with my Speckled Sussex. They are amazing foragers, as I said, and I get a pretty good lay from them, even in the winter without extra lights. They took a little longer to ramp up to full production though, but this is their third year and they are still going strong. I've also noticed that the eggs have a strong membrane, so they hardly ever accidentally break an egg like I get with my Leghorns (I have no idea whether that would make it more difficult for a chick to hatch). They are a dual purpose breed, so the carcass is similar to what you get from a Barred Rock or a Rhode Island Red, and the skin is a nice appetizing white color. They are supposed to be good mothers, but I haven't had one go broody for me yet. I also like their calm temperament; the roosters are pretty docile also (the dog likes to play with them, which is hilarious to watch). This was the preferred chicken of most english farms for a long time.
@baymule is right @Reice , threads can veer off topic as we solve the world's problems and talk about "Food, Glorious Food"
Food, glorious food... And all things pertaining to it's production on the small (or not so small) homestead.
Chickens, and shell membranes: IMO, a good strong membrane will not interfere with hatch. If anything, it may enhance it. The membrane allows transpiration of oxygen into the egg, as well as (I think) some of the toxins out of the egg. Some of my eggs have membranes that are so tough I have a hard time breaking through them to get them into the frying pan! A weak membrane will most likely contribute to loss of moisture during incubation. All above statements are merely my opinion. I did an exhaustive search about shell membranes and their relation to hatch rate, and could find NADA!... Plenty regarding shell strength and porosity, but nothing re: membranes.
SS: very pretty birds. Would love to have some, if not for the single comb. IMO, no flock is complete w/o EE.
Apple trees: @Reice : I'm glad you have some! And that they are at a productive age! Now, if you want to add a different variety or two, grafting is extremely easy to do. You could easily cleft graft a scion or two to your existing trees to provide a few branches of different varieties. Don't be afraid to prune those trees. I'm a novice at both fruit tree culture, and grafting. But, have successfully grafted 2 trees with the most basic of equipment, and continue to work on my pruning skills. The more vigorous you are with your pruning, the better crops you will have. (up to a point!)
Late edit: I did find an article that did address hatch rates pertaining to shell permeability. Started a new "poultry geek" thread in the poultry section.
Not a whole lot going on lately. We did get a bad storm the other night with some major winds. TV was reporting 70mph, my brother-in-law said there were 125mph gusts. Lots of trees out at the new place, so it had me worried. Sure enough, one of the tall trees on the north side of the house kind of leaned over and was resting against the house. No damage, thank goodness, but it's been cut and wrestled off, and all is well.
Hubby is off tomorrow, yay, so we are getting to hook up some temporary power out there. That will sure help tons getting some things finished out there.
Oh yeah, and we may have a buyer lined up for current house. Neighbor a few houses down is really tired of dad living there, haha, and said he dad would sure pay what we are asking. (Not sure if 'dad' is in on this or not, haha) We'll see how it goes. It'd be fine by me, I'll move out tomorrow, thank you.
Too funny with the chicken-push. Yep, chickens are in the future plans. I'm a novice, so will be asking tons of questions, haha.