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Author Topic: Chicken Chatter  (Read 9765 times)
JP
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« Reply #20 on: December 13, 2009, 11:10:56 AM »

I believe I would have had two this morning if it were not for all the rain we've had the last few days and the fact that I just purchased the SLWs Friday night. I don't think stressed chickens lay as much so everyone is settled in now and the rain has let up. Should be good from here on.

My other chickens are pushing 21 weeks old and need more aging before they start laying, is what I've been told. Should be knee deep in eggs before I know it!


...JP
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Natalie
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« Reply #21 on: December 13, 2009, 12:21:48 PM »

Nice looking birds Jp, I had 2 SLW myself but they were prone to being eggbound.
 They were the most daring hens I have ever had as well, I named them Thelma and Louise. They were nuts from the get go always trying to fly out of the brooder and when they were older they were always the ones that flew to the highest point in the yard or hopped the fence every chance they could.
We really enjoyed them but as I said they both had health problems at only a year old and are the only ones that we ever lost due to any type of health issue, I don't know if it was from the breeding line I got them from or what.
You are correct hens will not lay when they are stressed, once they settle in the are fine.
Your other girls should be laying by now or any minute now though at 21 weeks, especially for orpingtons.
Easter Eggers can start laying later some of mine were 28 weeks but my orpingtons and other hens started laying between 16 and 20 weeks.
Because its dark and gloomy and they need 14 hours of daylight to lay they may start even later, as in spring.
I have had pullets that would go into lay during winter but then I have had some that were thrown off by reaching maturity during the shorter daylight months and waited until spring.
The thing of it is you just never know. Hens do their thing and you can never tell.
Half of mine just got over a moult and they did not lay for the entire summer and I have only been getting a few eggs a day but this morning when we went out to open the coop there were 8 eggs already and the others will lay throughout day.
So just when you give up they decide to give you more eggs, its like the watched pot will never boil.
It sure is getting cold here, I had an egg crack the other day from being cold.
I usually check several times during the day for eggs but must have missed this one because when I got it it was frozen, swollen and cracked open.
I made them some hot mash the last couple of mornings because of this weather.
I know this sounds weird but I like the sound of when the ground crunches beneath my feet when I walk out to the coop.
Its dead quiet in the early morning and all you can hear is the crunch of the ice when you walk.
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JP
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« Reply #22 on: December 13, 2009, 01:30:21 PM »

I just did the math and now believe my first batch is pushing 19-20 weeks and not 21 weeks of age.

Natalie see my SLWs, under their chins they have a flap as well as their combs, both very red and large. Will my other hens get the flap under their chins?

Hey Nat, I love that crunchy sound too, don't get to hear it very often though down here in the south.


...JP
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Natalie
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« Reply #23 on: December 13, 2009, 02:36:30 PM »

Yup, those are wattles and the other hens will get them too.
Roosters have much larger ones and they get them earlier so you can usually tell them apart from pullets at a younger age.
I checked out your pictures again and you can see that you wyandottes are more mature than the others and that is why they are laying, they have their wattles in and they are bright red.
You will be able to tell when your other girls are ready to lay, their combs and wattles will get a very bright red and they will crouch down to the ground when you go to pat them on the back, as in as soon as they see your hand coming they squat.
Its a sign of submission and something they do for their rooster, its a sign of maturity and they usually lay withing a week or two of doing that.
If your hens get a pale comb or wattles someday you can assume they are either going to moult or need more protein or they are just getting plain old.
Your wyandottes are a good hearty breed, they do well in the cold and they have those rosecombs instead of the cockscomb which do not get frostbite as easily as other breeds, although you probably don't have to worry about that down there.
When it gets cold enough here I put vaseline on the roosters combs to keep them from getting damaged by frostbite.
They don't particulary like it though and you should see me running around the yard after them trying to rub vaseline on their combs. grin
Your girls are coming up on the laying age soon, although the shorter daylight hours may affect some of them it won't affect all of them.
I had some that went into lay in the dead of winter.
Wait until you get those colored eggs, its so exciting.
You will be giving away eggs to all your friends and then you will need even more hens to keep up!
Pretty soon you will be like me, you will want some of each kind.
Hey you know what is really pretty? The blue laced red wyandottes, I bought a pair at a poultry show that are just gorgeous.
Check them out here.


http://www.bluelacedred.com/gallery1.html
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JP
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« Reply #24 on: December 13, 2009, 03:10:33 PM »

Wow Natalie, those are cool looking. I like this one: http://bluelacedred.com/birds/08pullet.htm

So, in the next few weeks or so my hens will grow waddles?


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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Natalie
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« Reply #25 on: December 13, 2009, 03:22:31 PM »

She is gorgeous. Looks like my girl.
I was with Greg and Ann the day I bought my pair and we were trying to pick out the ones with the best markings.
Its an amazing difference between the quality you get from hatcheries and breeders, did you see the comparison chart on that site?
It really doesn't matter if you aren't going to breed them but I like to have nice looking birds so I am always looking for some good breeders.
Your girls will grow wattles.Their chests and necks will fill out more too as they get more feathers in.
 I would say by the time they are 6 months they all have some wattles.
You will also see them fill out more like your wyandottes, they get what I call the pantaloons aka fluffy butts. I love to watch hens with pantaloons run around, they hop from one foot to the other and look like old women that are trying to hold up their dress and run. Okay maybe thats just me being a weirdo grin
Sometimes I throw scratch out just to watch them come running across the yard at full speed, it makes me laugh, okay maybe that weird too but I am easy to entertain.
 
I never use to give them any thought and then I decided to look them up and found that wattles and their combs actually help to cool chickens down.
Check out this link, it describes the functions of the chickens anatomy, pretty interesting.

http://library.thinkquest.org/05aug/00044/id16.htm
« Last Edit: December 13, 2009, 03:34:01 PM by Natalie » Logged
JP
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« Reply #26 on: December 13, 2009, 03:41:29 PM »

Interesting about the combs Nat. I have noticed that Cindy's (one of my BOs) feathers behind her legs and below her cloaca have filled out significantly in the last week or so. I love those feathers!


...JP
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« Reply #27 on: December 13, 2009, 10:42:23 PM »

Man, I need to get back here, to spend more time, so much to say about what I have been up to with the chicken species of critters.....

I have a friend, she is raising the Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, they are in extremely high demand in Canada.  The problem is for many people wanting to raise this breed is that we are across the border and it is difficult to get different strains of these birds.  There are so many hatcheries/breeders in the U.S., but the health papers to import hatching eggs or day old chicks is just so out of reach that there are great difficulties, hence so limited supply of BLRW.

Personally, I don't like the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte colouring, very unimpressive to me, but others are just raving about it and  are wanting it deeply.  That will happen for them, eventually.  My preference is the Gold and Silver Laced and White Wyandotte breed.  I have breeding stock of the Gold and Silver Laced. The Silver Laced Wyandotte that I am currently incubating come from a friend that has shown this breed in some very current poultry shows.  They have won the first prize in their class.  This strain of SLW is large, and I mean large, perhaps again half the size of my SLW hen that I have raised from a hatchery order.  The typical SLW have been bred these days more for egg production, and the size has diminished.  Through selective breeding, this line of birds that I have hatching eggs from, has been restored back to the original bred of the Silver Laced Wyandotte, which is substantially larger than the current "hatchery" bird.  This strain originates from Ontario, there is a very powerful breeder of this breed there, and still breeds the large strain, more like the original  breed of the SLW.  In the forthcoming spring I will be obtaining the hatching eggs of the White Wyandotte. These birds are extremely winter hardy with their rose comb.  The White Wyandotte is on the critical "watch".  This is a breed that I must endeavour to cultivate (sounds like a plant I know), as our imminent move to a very cold climate is soon approaching.   I am ramblin', hope it all makes sense, and yes, as I said, I need to get back. But as things are, chickens are far more interesting in the wintertime than the bees that are dormant, oops, yes, I still love my bees, but they are just so, on that back burner until the beginning of February.  Beautiful days, to love, live, share, and Old Man Winter, will soon be on his way out....health.  Cindi
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« Reply #28 on: December 14, 2009, 10:37:03 PM »

Interesting about the combs Nat. I have noticed that Cindy's (one of my BOs) feathers behind her legs and below her cloaca have filled out significantly in the last week or so. I love those feathers!


...JP

As poults mature and start to lay their combs will grow larger and turn from a pink to a bright red, their cheek wattles will also grow in size and color just as the comb.  One way to differentiate between laying and non-laying birds in a flock is to pay attention to the combs and wattles those with little color, smaller size, etc, are poor or non-laying.  A hen that is laying daily or every 2nd day has a bright red comb and wattle and a bright eye.  I've repeatedly watch poults go from laying a single small egg once a week with only a bright strip of comb and wattle to laying almost daily with the large and bright comb for their breed. 

Moulting birds will also be poor lays as the birds will loose color in comb and wattles as the old feathers fall out and new ones grow in.  By the time the moult is over, however, the color and size of the comb should be large and bright red for that breed of chicken. 

I rotate my birds on a 3 year rotation as most breeds of chickens will lay fairly well for three years, after that they lay very eradicately and the eggs will vary greatly in size and shape.  By the 4th year their egg production is no longer adequate to justify their food costs.


Cindi:  My younger brother has a few White Wyandottes that he's thinking of butchering, if you like I could get them, a rooster and 3 hens, and give you some eggs.  The catch is you have to come for a visit, just like last time.  They are 5.5 months right now so just beginning to lay.
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JP
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« Reply #29 on: December 20, 2009, 08:07:14 PM »

 I've had my Silver laced Wyandottes 9 days now and have gotten 7 eggs from them. They are a little more than seven months old. My other six are around five months old is what I was told. I have had them almost a month now.

As Brian pointed out hen's combs will redden as will their wattles when they are about to lay. My Easter Eggers (Of which I have 4) have lots of feathers (I believe referred to as beards) under their chins, so its hard to see if they even have a wattle.

Strange things have been going on in the coop this past week. My EEs & my two Buff Orpingtons have really been checking out the nest boxes, even sitting a little, with others in a line or side by side in the nest box.

Today, one of the EEs was really checking the nest box out. From observing the two SLWs I am beginning to understand their habits & rituals before & after laying an egg.

So this one EE, I really forgot which one it was, either Bertha or Ms. Purdy goes in and sits awhile. I thought something might be up & sure enough she layed her very first egg today! A beauty! Olive colored.

Easter eggers are a mutt chicken derived from the Americana breed (I may not have spelled that right) and I've read that they can lay eggs with quite a variance in color, blue, blue/green, olive & even on rare occasion pink.

So here it is next to some SLW eggs: http://picasaweb.google.com/pyxicephalus/FirstEEEgg#


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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« Reply #30 on: December 20, 2009, 08:44:52 PM »

Oh, that is a beauty, JP, I miss my greenish blue eggs, the EEs were the first to shut down for the season.  Maybe that means they'll be the first to restart?  I did get three today, that's the first time in a long time I've got more than two - but no one laid for the past two days.
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JP
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« Reply #31 on: December 20, 2009, 09:04:03 PM »

I've been working on the coop the last two days Ann. Yesterday I had to take an hour & a half break because Speckles wanted to lay an egg! Dare I disturb her.

Today, Vera wanted to get in but I was in her way workin' away. I'm very excited over that olive egg Ann!


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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« Reply #32 on: December 20, 2009, 09:54:13 PM »

Hey thats awesome! Your first colored egg! Its a good size too for a new layer.
I just had two start new layers start, believe it or not in this blizzard today, one was a sky blue and the other was turquoise and my older easter egger just kicked back into laying after her moult and I got my first egg in months from her today, it was green.
My husband just found a secret nest today as well.
There was a dozen or so eggs under a pallet in the carriage house, there were two different kinds, white and brown so there were at least two hens sharing a secret nest under there little super secret hideout.
How on earth they can even fit those big behinds under that pallet I'll never know but at least now I'm on to them.
If someone goes out of the house to the backyard through the carriage house and leaves the door open I usually find a hen roaming around in there that I have to kick out, they know I keep the food there so the more brazen ones will go in and poke around if they get the chance.
This happened to me before, Sadie my speckled hen was hiding them in a shrub and I had to toss more than a dozen eggs.
My girls were not happy about the weather today, the snow has kept them in their run.
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JP
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« Reply #33 on: December 20, 2009, 10:16:38 PM »

So no way of telling how old those eggs are huh Nat? Think its safe to eat them, or you gonna ditch them?

We ate four of our very first seven eggs today. We have been buying free range eggs from whole foods for $4.88. I told my wife, "You know how much these eggs are worth?"

She says, "Yeah, these eggs cost $400.00!"  lau

That's the way she sees it cause that's at least what the coop cost to build. So if that's accurate our seven eggs are valued at $57.14 a pop! We consumed $228.56 worth of eggs this morning. lau

Boy were they good!


...JP
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"Good friends are as sweet as honey" Winne the Pooh

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« Reply #34 on: December 20, 2009, 10:43:37 PM »


Wow those are some expensive eggs grin

Yeah, I tossed the eggs I found. Its always a bummer when you have to do that but I am still getting between 12-16 eggs a day right now so I guess I can go cry in my eggnog.
I got a new brown egg layer today too, forgot about that, it was a small pullet egg.
This is what happens alot of the time when you get spring chickens, some will start laying in the dead of winter and others will wait until spring.
This is why I like to hatch my eggs in the fall or no later than December/January.
Then I have them all laying in the spring with the older hens.
Its not a popular concept because they have to be in the brooder longer but it doesn't bother me, I only have them in the house for a couple of weeks and then the brooder moves to the carriage house and they have always done fine.
I sell all the eggs that we don't use or share with family, friends, neighbors etc. and the farm where I sell them starts their season in April so I want to take advantage of that.
I sell them for $5.00 per dozen and it pays for all of their chicken feed and supplies plus the extra money goes toward what I spent on the coop.
I do well and it solves the problem with the extra eggs.
I am actually all set with my flock right now, I like what I have and will keep it at that.
The town science director gets fertile eggs from me to hatch for the kids in the various classes and when he is done he returns the chicks to me.
I have one group of chicks coming back to me tomorrow and he is picking up more hatching eggs from me at that point but anything that hatches after this I will just bring to the monthly poultry swap I go to.
It works for both of us, he needs alot of eggs during the year and he said it was getting cost prohibitive for him to be purchasing hundreds of eggs and then he was left with the problem of finding homes for all the chicks.
I offered to give him the eggs for free but he still had the problem of finding homes for all the chicks and I couldn't keep them all(could you imgagine) so I hit on bringing them to the swap, I can sell them for a couple of bucks apiece and the people that buy them are all chicken fanatics so they go to good homes.
The best part is he doesn't have to do away with the hatching program for the kids, its an amazing thing for the kids to watch, heck I get all excited too watching my chicks hatch out.
Maybe you will get a brood hen this spring and you will have to go out and find some fertile eggs for her, then you can have baby chicks all over the place too.
Hey that reminds me whatever happened to Jerrymac? He was always good for some chicken chat.
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JP
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« Reply #35 on: December 20, 2009, 11:51:10 PM »

I pmed Jerry about a month ago. He's ok, knee deep in chickens I presume. He said his bees never really produced all that much for him, that he was taking a break for a while. Yeah, Jerry had some good chatter to share, I miss him.

Sounds like you really enjoying your set up, that's great!


...JP
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« Reply #36 on: December 21, 2009, 11:51:49 AM »

When I had chicken's and found a mess of egg's hid away some where I put them in a bucket and filled it with water and the ones that floated were bad and the ones that stood up needed to ate first and the ones that laid flat were new.
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« Reply #37 on: December 21, 2009, 07:26:15 PM »

When you gonna get some again Irwin?


...JP
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« Reply #38 on: December 21, 2009, 08:32:43 PM »

When I had chicken's and found a mess of egg's hid away some where I put them in a bucket and filled it with water and the ones that floated were bad and the ones that stood up needed to ate first and the ones that laid flat were new.

That's a good trick to use when you find that hideout nest now and then and you don't have a candler to check with.  I found one nest last year and put all the layed flat eggs in the incubator and had all but one hatch--it wasn't fertile.
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« Reply #39 on: December 21, 2009, 10:08:59 PM »

I have heard of people doing that test too but these eggs look like some of them had been there a while and it was so cold this weekend that a couple of them were cracked open so I just chucked them all.
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