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Posts Tagged ‘Barred Rock’


Obsessed.

Strange.

Cuckoo.

Bizarre.

Insane.

Uncouth.

Demented.

Sick.

Nuts.

Happy. 😀

Euphoric. 😆

Bitten.

And those are just the single-word descriptions. I may have to make a new category. Because, you see, even though I *know* this happens every single time, whether I plan it or not, I continue to repeat the deed because I am, quite simply, addicted.

I am pretty sure if someone was mapping my brain at those times, the pleasure center would be lit up like a Christmas tree, and you could see those neurons firing the message to send out some oxytocin; maybe even some prolactin. {And it might be contagious, too, so watch out! 😀 }

Wednesday afternoon, I headed to Tractor Supply to get a stock tank and horse feed since they were out on Tuesday. They told me they were getting bantams on Friday, so on the off-chance that they got some silkies, I figured I’d get a stock tank since the brooder didn’t make the move. 😥

The stock tank would be fine, and we can reuse it for the horses when we’re done. It’s a good stop-gap measure.

So there I went, mostly to get food for the horses. You know you have to walk by the chickens, yes?  😆

I spent close to 2 hours there, talking to people about chickens. There was a very nice lady who had just gotten some, and she was taking pictures, trying to figure out which breeds she had gone home with. We started talking, and pretty soon, we had covered all kinds of things, particularly coop design and the space requirements per chicken. {A good rule of thumb is 4 sq ft per chicken; large fowl.}

I talked to some gentlemen, as well, and suggested they all go the Backyard Chicken website and forums. The forums have all kinds of sections, including starting chicks, breeds, predators, and coop design. Really. If you are thinking about chickens, start there. SO many people are willing to share their plans with you it’s not even funny. You won’t regret it!

I spent all that time jabbering and then realized Hunny was going to be coming home soon, so I needed to skeedaddle.

I was in the parking lot on the way out when I realized I had forgotten to get the stock tank. *sigh*.

So, Thursday, I headed back to get the stock tank. And, I wanted to check the time that the bantams for sure were going to be getting there. Turns out, they had literally just gotten there. They let me come back an hour later, after they had time to get warmed back up, and pick through them.

No silkies. 😥  😥

BUT. They did have other, four-toed, feather-legged bantams. Tractor Supply has a minimum of 6 chicks to take home……..

You can see where this is going, can’t you? 😆 You might think I would be thinking, “I just ordered 40 large fowl and 15 guineas the other day. I know I can order the 8 in the breeds that I want and get them here in June.”

Ok, I admit I was thinking that. 😆

Louder than that voice, though, was the one whispering, “You haven’t had these kinds of feather-footed chooks. Look, aren’t they cute? Look at how small they are! Awww, they’re so fuzzy! Aren’t they cute? And there’s only 6 of them…….”

Because we haven’t built anything yet, I thought, what they heck- let me text Hunny and see what he says. I explained to him that I would have to end up with 12 bantams total because I’d have to get 6 more; or if they didn’t end up getting any in, I’d have to order 12.

I could hear him rolling his eyes. 😀

I did mention, though, that bantams are so small that you really need 2 of them to make 1 large chicken, so you could get more with the same space.

Struck down again by chicken math! 😆

So we dug through and picked them out. 😆 There were exactly 6 feather-footed bantams.

I had no idea what they were. Naturally, when I got home, I got down to business, researching to see if I could identify them.

I think I might have a clue what these cuties are.

chick 1

chick1.2

chick1.3

I think {and certainly, I am no expert} that this is a Black Cochin chick. I think I have maybe two them. One I’m real iffy on, because he’s somewhere between this one and the other suspected Barred Cochin chick. I’ll show pictures of them last.

chick2

chick2.3

chick2.2

This little cutie I think is a Buff Brahma. If feather sexing works on this breed and is the same for others, this baby is a girl. I only have one of them, but she is pretty zippy and is very, very active and busily trying to fly and get into everything. Her tail feathers have grown since yesterday. What a riot!

chick3

chick3.2

Rounding out my set of 6 are these plumpers. You can see how they have a fuzzy yellow tush and more yellow on their bellies. They all have a similar wing pattern, tipped with yellow. These actually look a lot like our Barred Rock chicks did.

The one I question is not as yellow-y as this little bug, but is not quite as solid as the chick I suspect of being a Black Cochin.

At this point, it’s a waiting game until they start feathering out and we can really tell what they are. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am to have chicks again! There is just something about hearing their little cheeps that brings a smile to my face.

I’ve also continued to be amazed at how fast they grow! You can literally see them growing tail feathers and getting their other feathers. You can see their egg tooth when you first get them, and watch as it gets picked off or worn down and disappear. And I have to laugh at them digging and scratching; doing all the “big kid” behavior, when it’s not something that’s been learned by watching other chickens.

Already, we’ve had some races {where they race and try to fly but end up just zipping all over} and we’ve had some hockey, when they thought a piece of shaving was a bug. They are hilarious- it really IS ‘chick tv!’

It’s been another unexpectedly busy day. At this point, I’m just tired. 😀

So now you know. I’m _________. 😆

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Yesterday, we brought Cocoa into the house. She’s 20 weeks and 4 days old today. We brought her in for a few reasons- she was plucking others and screeching. Yep. Screeching. If you’ve ever had the power steering pump go dry or go out on your vehicle, you know this sound.

Ear. Piercing. 

Louder than my roo was. 

Funnier than heck.  😆

But very, very loud.

We let her out with the others as usual for the evening and let her spend the night outside. This morning, she wasn’t as noisy, but still pretty loud, and still thinking about plucking. So in she came again!

All of the girls are at the POL, or point of lay. Basically, this means they are technically old enough to start laying eggs. This is not a precise science, of course, and some don’t start laying until they are closer to 40 weeks.

Cocoa, you may recall, was one of the second batch of chickens, the result of chicken math (read Oops, I Did It Again to see how chicken math got me again!), and was a mystery chick. We had been told they thought she was a Dominiquer. However, we know for certain that she is NOT a Dominique; she is another Barred Rock.

This morning, she was still pretty screechy, which is good for lots of all-out laughing. She was also going in circles and squatting. Really, they are pretty much all practicing the squatting. Just for grins and giggles, I was going to try to find a shoe box for her (for a nesting box). Never got around to it.

Right as I was getting ready to head out this afternoon, I heard the news: there’s an egg!! Cocoa is the first to lay an egg!

One thing to know about new layers is that the egg may be thin shelled and quite small. Generally speaking, it can take a few months of consistent laying to get the larger eggs. I’m not picky.  😆

Here’s the surprised chicken with her new egg. 😆  Since I was on my way out, I took a picture with my phone. I had an appointment, so couldn’t linger to get my camera.

Interestingly (and a relief), she hasn’t screeched since. She quieted right down into her sweet, clucking self.

I wonder how she’ll be the next time she needs to lay…..

I have to say, I never thought I would be this excited- nay- giddy– over an egg. I mean, really, this is what they are supposed to do! Still, I can’t help myself! It was a perfect little egg; good shell and all. 

Hooray!

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Yes, it’s true.  There is such a thing as chicken math, and I have completely fallen victim to it.  😉

I can’t say enough how much we loooooooooooovvvvvvvvveeeeeeeeee  ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ our chicks!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  SQUEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Friday, Hunny had decided thy weren’t as dumb as he thought they would be, and was carrying them around the house. He also agreed that getting a few more wouldn’t be a big deal.  😆  Since I had only gotten 1 Barred Rock (BR) (Rocky) and 1 Buff Orpington (BO) (Butternut) and thought they were awesome, the initial plan was to get 1 more of each.

But then I got to thinking (and this is where the chicken math kicks in 😀 ), that K had gotten a Producing Red (which is an mix, as I understand it, between a Rhode Island Red and a New Hampshire Red) and it was cute and friendly. So now I want one, too.  😆 

Since the red lays brown eggs and is a higher egg producing hen than my Easter Eggers (EEs) (which lay blue/green varitey eggs), combined with my BR and BO, who will also both lay brown eggs and are higher producing egg laying birds, I figured I should also get another EE to balance things out.  😆  (EEs are the hatchery version of the Ameraucanas. When doing research, it seems that if it comes from a hatchery, it is an EE, but is wrongly tagged as the Ameraucanas.  While it carries the blue egg gene, it is not true to the breed.  Knowlegeable chicken folks will tell you that if you want *real* Ameraucanas, which are rare, you need to find an approved breeder.)

Down to the livestock store I went, getting there bright and early by 7 am, hoping they had some left. Well, shucks, they had sold out all 1,5000 chicks by 2 pm Friday, the first day the sale “officially” started.  “You can order them,” I was told.  Because there were others ordering as well, it was not a problem for me to have a total order of 4 chicks;  1 of each different breed.  Yippee!!

Now, if you have researched getting chicks, you will know that hatcheries have a minimum order (mostly because chicks need to stay warm during shipping, although there are some that will ship lower numbers but charge you significantly more).  Tractor Supply (TSC) has a minimum order of 25 chicks total, although you can mix breeds in increments of 5.

To bring them home from TSC, I would need to get 6. I had been to my local TSC on Thursday, and they had some chicks.  Problem was, they only had a straight run (which means boys and girls) and they had no idea what was in the tank.  Interestingly, both TSC and the livestock and feed store get their chicks from the same hatchery.  Why one place knows what they are getting and the other one doesn’t is a mystery to me.

But I digress.  🙂

So, ordering from the feed store made sense to me.  My question was, what kind of time frame are we looking at?  When I had gone online at the hatchery early in the season, everything I wanted wasn’t going to be available until May at the earliest, and since I hadn’t ordered then, it seemed to me (without checking, of course) that a new order would be even later in the season.

This would mean that I would have two set of chicks that were very different ages, which would necessitate a second brooder and worries about integrating “flocks.” After talking to the folks at the store, though, they seemed pretty certain that they would get all the other ordered chicks in about two weeks, based on years past. I couldn’t help myself, and took the plunge.  😆

Now that a few days have passed, I figure, even if it takes longer for them to get here, I would not be too worried about getting set up for another brooder.  Given the way this batch of chicks has grown, I am not too sure that it will last them until they are ready to be outside, so chances are good that we’ll need to make them something bigger anyhow.  And if that happens, I’ll have an empty smaller brooder, perfect for baby chicks.

See!  It all works out!  Chicken math is something that folks going into chickens need to be aware of. 😉 My hope is that I don’t end up with roos, because I’m pretty sure that would be a problem.

There is nothing like hearing the cheep cheep cheeping from my girlies.  I also think there is nothing quite as fascinating as chick tv, either.  On the second day, they were trying to fly, and it is crazy how fast their wings grow!! By the time I had them for a day, they were trying to perch.  Even though the perch wasn’t that high, there was much falling off, and limbo practice going on. As you can see in the pictures below, roosting has been conquered, although they don’t do this at night yet.  Lately, there has been much bickering and shoving to get the “sweet spot” on the perch.  😆

♥♥♥ my chicks!!!

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