Friday, August 31, 2012

Our Chickens

A mother hen brooding eight chicks given to us by kind friends a month of two ago. She took them to nest somewhere outside the coop one night and only five came back in the morning. And then later on two got sick and died. We didn't feed these chicks any store starter feed, but actual food instead. I don't know if that had anything to do with it. It's amazing all the losses you have when you start raising your own food.
Again we were blessed by a neighbour who had been raising LOTS of chicks to sell. This was the last batch and at this point he was tired of raising all summer and just gave us about 30 chicks...they are hard to count and we have lost a few.
 One of the girls LOVES to look for eggs. "I go look for b'any eggs", she'll say as she marches off to the chicken coop. Unfortunately we only have one chicken right now who is the right age to be laying eggs...and she seems to be hiding them somewhere we haven't discovered yet. I'm looking forward to having many more laying hens around. It's such a blessing to have eggs produced right in our back yard.
A lot of the free chicks we are raising appear to be roosters, so much of the flock will be in the freezer before long. Hopefully we'll have one alert, but not too mean, rooster in the batch. We've been having some hawk problems, and one of the best solutions is good rooster to warn and protect the hens.
We were blessed to be given two female Silkies mixed in with the many breeds of free chicks we were given, but they are the only breeds we can clearly identify in the whole mess. We're excited for them to grow up so we can try to figure out what we have. I've wanted some Silkies for a while because they are downy and cute, and also because they are reported to be very broody and good mothers. We hope to use chickens to hatch out all our future chicks, because then the mother will take care of a lot of the work for us, and save time and resources, like heat lamps. The mothers teach them how to find food and even bring bits to them and I have often seen in neighbour's yards a rooster escorting a little family of hen and chicks all around the yard like a body guard. We'll see how all these plans work out in the end.


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