The Baby Fowl April Update 2019

The call was placed to the feed store and the Chicks and Turkey Pullets are now ordered and will arrive on the farm the first week of May.

We ordered in 12 dual purpose large brown egg layers. I love so many thinks that my Icelandic J line land race rooster has added into the main mixed breed flock but the reduction of egg size is the one thing I need to correct in the coming gens. These are sex linked and are all hens.

He reduced egg size from a large to a med in weight on most of his offspring and then I had a weasel attack late winter and sadly lost four of my bigger brown egg layers. I had five years ago added in a some green egg layers but while they were stunning, great temperaments, they did not really lay well.. .. no let me change that.. they really did not lay well.. they were from show lines and produced 3 to 4 eggs a week.

However breed down to the Icelandic line, I was able to increase the laying rates back up to normal rates but the Icelandic helped bring down the egg size.. giving up one thing for another.. I would take regular steady layers that really produce well even if It means I lost some size..

Now that I have the colors I want added in, the smaller combs and that great forage built-in, I want to use the coming laying hens to be to bring in the genes to bring back up the size on the eggs in the next generations.

I ordered in 50 white rock meat birds. I had only planned on 40 of them but it cost me 4 dollars less if I ordered 50 then if I ordered in 40.. as the price really went down at the 50 mark.. so be it.

While I have raised chicks for many years now, I have never raised white rock’s.. I have also gone with the slower growth rates of the heavy dual breed chickens.. but this year, the simple fact is that I had to take a very hard look at the growth rates, the return rates and the feed costs.

I heard from a friend who raises her birds very much like I do and she said they did them last year for the first time and had very good luck with them. I am hoping I will find the same thing.  We will see how it goes and if it saves us money in the long run. They are mixed run unsexed.

It will have to really prove themselves because if I was not buying them, I would be hatching my own chicks, so right off the top, we have earn back the money that it took to buy these chicks from the hatchery.

While I will run the chicks as a group of 50 at the start, as soon as I can, I will be splitting out the bigger chicks (males I assume) into their own group of ideally around 25 and keeping the smaller (female’s I assume ) into their own group.   I have heard they can be quite lazy and I want to make sure that the bigger are not pushing the smaller off the feeder or water or prime shade etc.

I also ordered in 10 turkey pullets, I had planned on buying the smaller white but again it turns out that you have to pay extra to get the mini-classic so I went with the more cost-friendly choice and got the great big White Broad Breasted Turkeys. These are mixed run and unsexed so we will get a mix of smaller females and bigger males.

I am very hopeful that my female turkey will be laying an trying to sit eggs and I will be encouraging her to do so at the right time and I will be able to slip the pullets under her and that she will raise them for me.. It will make things so much easier if I can make this happen..

The plan at the moment is to butcher at smaller sizes for at least some of them, I have no need for 50 pound turkeys, well other then one or two for when I hope to have some family come a nice meal around thanksgiving etc.

I still plan to do all the ducks inhouse as they say.. all my own eggs, my own hatching or the hen hatching and raising them for our own use. I am still wanting ideally a min of 48 ducks but more would be better.

I am excited to see the plans come together here on the farm.

How about you? Have you got eggs in your incubator? Do you have chicks ordered? Do you live in ones those places that brings in chicks of all kinds to the feed stores and you can just go and pick what you want? Do you get your chicks delivered by mail?

Is feed costs effecting your own plans for what you are choosing to raise this year?

So unless something else changes, that is the April update for you, somehow.. somehow I made it though spring and did not make it to a single spring bird sale! O my gosh.. you have no idea how hard it was to not go to a sale lol..

I adore my spring bird sales! So SO much.. but I stayed with the plan! I am working the plan..

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16 Responses to The Baby Fowl April Update 2019

  1. valbjerke says:

    We have 25 Cornish rock cockerels on the floor right now….not sure if yours are the same. We have found over the years it’s very worthwhile to mix oyster shell in with their feed when the graduate off the starter. They grow so fast that their bone density can’t keep up – we were finding the wings would dislocate in the plucker. We grow ours to twelve weeks – ending up with a six to nine pound bird which is my preference. Yes definitely split the males from the females. We seldom see it – but sometimes the have leg problems – preventing them from getting to the feed – and then they will get picked on. Our best solution for feeding – we screwed a large rain gutter along one wall – room for everybody that way.

    • Thank you so much for the tips, I will do the oyster shell boost when they move to grower.. Do you think crush egg shell would work just as well.. hmmm I wonder. My friend said they grew theirs to ten to twelve weeks as well and did not have issues. Good to hear that you do 12 weeks as well.. Glad to hear I am on track on splitting the sex’s out.. Interesting on the rain gutter.. hmmm.

      • valbjerke says:

        Egg she’ll would work fine I’m sure. When we started doing meat birds years ago we had no issues with the dislocated wing thing – I sometimes think because they keep genetically messing with these birds (more breast than legs and wings) they’ve sacrificed hardiness for the fast growth.
        A home made wooden trough would work too – we just found that as they grow – the regular round chicken feeder doesn’t allow enough room for everybody – though it works fine the first few weeks.

      • good to know for sure long feeder then..

  2. valbjerke says:

    Also – you probably know this, but if not – raise your turkeys with a few meat birds until they are eating and drinking well – turkeys are incredibly stupid – and can die within inches of water and food. The meat birds show them how it’s done.

    • I tend to keep them close for a few days and I use their desire for shiny things to give them a helping hand.. shiny stones in water, food everywhere and lots of teaching going on.. but yes, it helps to have a shower for sure..

  3. We are doing almost all of our own hatching this year.
    We did order 7 roos to bring in new breeding genetics. They were delivered to the feed store (an hour drive away) and when we went to pick them up we ended up putting 3 pullet chicks in the box too – cuz you know ten is a nice round number ;-).
    Besides those we are hatching all our own. I did one big incubation and ended up with 34 from that, plus a hen abandoned her eggs at 2 weeks so I finished them off in the incubator and got 6 hatched out of that. I am hopefully done with incubating and the hens can do the rest this year.
    We are contemplating trying out turkeys this summer/fall for meat. We say that every year and have yet to get to it. We just need to see how life goes with our little guy before we make that decision.

    • Good for you on doing most of the hatching yourself, I have done that the last couple years as well.. like you time to bring in some new blood for the laying flock.

      I understand totally, its not helpful to take on to much.. hope it goes so much smoother this year.. I am so glad you found that new doctor.

  4. Jess says:

    I am desperate for a broody hen, as I am not yet at the point of paying for an incubator. I got some year old hens last year, and the lady said two of them had gone broody on her, so she was selling them to make room for better layers. There’s been no sign of either of them going broody for me yet, so I went ahead and ordered a bunch of straight-run heritage birds, just in case. Now I’m thinking I should have gotten some sex-linked pullets, too, just in case…

    • Have hope yet Jess, its to soon in the season for your broody hens to want to sit yet. . I have a good amount of broody girls but they are all doing the its cold yet, the grass is not green.. must have a few weeks of hunting and eating bugs to get the fertility up on the eggs and then they will start.. Also if they showed signs of Broody at the younger age of one year, you really should see them go broody again this year.. I find my girls really hit the broody mark at 3 years and are the best sitting/hatching momma’s from 3 to 6.. Just remember to slip younger hens eggs under that older momma.

    • ps, what type of breed are the two of them?

      • Jess says:

        Those two were Copper Marans. I don’t have a huge amount of hope for a broody, to be honest – 8 years of having between 30-60 hens, of a whole variety of breeds, and have never had a single broody hen, if you can believe that. Half my flock has always been ‘real’ layers – sex links of one type or another – but the other half has always been heritage breeds, and still no luck. Blech.

      • I have never had any luck with Copper Marans either.. nor have other girlfriends.. hmm well, I have found that out of sex linked hatchery hens that are the most steady to go broody are Columbian Rock X Can you get those out there? if so.. maybe you should add a few of them to that order as sex linked hens.. and see if they would be so kind as to go broody for you.. I have found that by age of two, 20 to 40 percent of them will go for me.. like so many birds, only about 20 percent will stay and prove to be hatcher’s.. its so frustrating when they sit for almost long enough and then quit on ya. the second thing I would look at if you have never had any happen is maybe you need to look at the coop and placing a couple new “darker quiet” ideally broody type nests in there.. I block off my prime broody nest spots until I am ready for them to start which helps a little.. I have breed for a lot of broodiness in my lines.

  5. I’m still at the stage of coveting other’s chickens. One day when I figure out how to deal with all the predators. In the meantime, I will live vicariously through your posts. I look forwards to learning more!

    • Sounds like a plan Crafty, I intend to put up a slightly unseemly amount of photo’s this year lol.. but really those little fuffy butt raptors are so adorable.. would eat you in a minute if they were big enough.. but so adorable.. lol

      • Yes, cute but fierce. I have watched my mom’s chickens hunt down mice. I am always amused when I think about birds being the descendants of dinosaurs. I enjoys a good chicken dinner and I imagine I would have enjoyed tucking into a Velociraptor burger just as well. 🙂

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