Our chicken and turkey flock is getting big!  As in growing up, that is.  We have actually scheduled a day to harvest next month.  The turkeys are obviously getting close to being ready, but I’m hoping the chicks pack on a few more pounds before then. 

I have definitely taken more of a liking to my bronze turkeys than the white ones.  I don’t know why.  There isn’t much pretty about a turkey–they have a face only a mother could love, after all, but I love the way the light hits the bronze feathers.  They shimmer in all sorts of metallic blues, greens, golds, and more!  They also seem more easy-going somehow, while the whites tend to be a bit more flighty and agressive.  Oh, and in case you were wondering, I think I can finally tell their sex.  It looks like both my whites and 1 bronze are toms, while the other bronze is a hen.  I think.

It absolutely amazes me that these 3 feet tall, roughly 15 lb. turkeys are just 2 weeks older than the little 2 pound chicks!  And man, can they pack a punch!  I had to pick one up the other day, and it got it’s wing loose and whacked me right in the face!  OUCH!  They have serious power behind those wings!  They are really too big to pick up much these days anyway.  

 My “assorted bargain” chicks have been full of surprises of their own!  Just when I think I have all the breeds figured out, they change and keep me guessing. 

Light Brahma pullet

 The Light Brahmas have always been a favorite, and I was so excited to receive quite a few in my box.  All the hens and at least one roo are assured a spot in my coop, in the hopes they will hatch out a clutch or two next year.  With roos reaching near 12 lbs., they could make a nice meat flock, too, in addition to being good layers!

A Light Brahma hen (front) and rooster (back)

 The majority of my flock is made of “everyday layers,” or Silver Spangled Hamburgs.  I have a few hens, but most are roosters, so, despite their small size, the roos are destined for harvest next month.  They are pretty, but too small and flighty for my liking. 

Silver Spangled Hamburg

Surprise!  Some of my SSH have turned out to be something else!  Though I have yet to figure out what!  Compare the above pic of the SSH to this pic of a mystery bird:

These birds have been identical from day 1, but now, as they grow, they are the same size, the same color for the most part, but notice that the SSH has a rose-comb, while the other has a single comb.  Any ideas? 

Then there are the more certain breeds, of which we have only 1 each, and the kids have named:

There’s “Tophat” the chronic-bad-hair-day Golden Polish.

Then there’s “Beaky”, the Barred Plymouth Rock.

Then we have a Golden Penciled Hamburg with no name.

I’m pretty sure the GPH is a pullet, but I’m not sure about the other two.  I THINK the Plymouth Rock might be a hen, as it is very docile and friendly, but her comb is much larger than the other chickens, so I don’t know.  I have no idea what the Golden Polish is. 

Then there are the other 2 surprises.  I would’ve sworn I had a brown leghorn and a silver leghorn.  But, as they grew, they got much bigger, much faster than I think leghorns would have, and both developed fluffy “muffs” on their cheeks.  They are as big, if not slightly bigger than, the Light Brahma roos we have.  By all descriptions, they almost seem to be Ameraucanas, but again, I don’t know.  What do you think?

We have desperately wanted some “Easter-eggers.”  Can God change a breed half way through?  LOL!  In any case, if they are, I REALLY hope they are hens.  They do have small combs still, and no wattles or spurs yet, but they are also some of the more agressive birds I have, and love to pick fights with the SSH roos.  What do you think?  Are green and blue eggs in our future?

While I’m on the chicken topic, our laying hens are doing well–well, most of them.  We got 6 when we first got them, and they were laying 3 eggs a day pretty consistently.  Then, a fox got the white leghorn hen, and, later that day, almost got one of my black sexlink hens.  S just happened to be looking outside, saw the fox run by, pick the black hen up in its mouth, and S took off, barefoot, sprinting after the fox.  Because the fox was weighted down by the hen, it couldn’t run very fast, and my dear hubby outran the thing, and just as he was about the catch up to the fox, the fox dropped the hen.  S scooped her up, took her back to the coop, placed her gently inside.  Other than a pretty good gash on her back (from fox teeth) and a few missing feathers, she was none the worse for wear.  S’s feet took about a week to recover from the prickly pine-needles and stick scrapes from running barefoot.  I wish I could’ve see that!  It had to be quite a show!  Nonetheless, once we moved the hens to the coop and really started free-ranging them, even with the loss of 1 hen, we now get 4-5 eggs a day!  We figured out the fox’s pattern ususally involves coming through around 7-7:30 every morning and every evening, so we wait until about 8:30 to let the hens out, and then round them up and put them away around 5 in the evening.  We haven’t had any trouble since, and our hens are obviously happy enough to reward us with beautifully rich eggs every day!  When we get back from our farm trip, I plan to add the selected pullets to the coop so they can begin to start free-ranging a bit. 

The amazing thing is, with our 5 hens, we are blessed with EXACTLY the number of eggs we NEED to get through each week.  We are usually able to have a good egg breakfast once a week, plus enough to bake what I need.  It will be great to have a surplus to share and splurge with in a couple more months!  And I haven’t eaten chicken in quite some time, so I am really looking forward to chicken in the freezer next month!

Advertisements