Sunday, January 22, 2012

It's that crazy chook lady again.....!

About time for a chooky update I think, it has been a loooong time!

So .... the cute little balls of fluff all grew up, made it outside to reside in the chook pen with our existing 5 girls, and after a little bit of chasing and pecking, everyone knows their place and is happy! We currently still have all of them with us. I did have 2 friends lined up to buy some around Christmas time,  but both fell through for different (and genuine) reasons. Really I didn't mind either, as I wanted to watch them all grow, and it took us quite a while to judge the girls from the boys.

Finding a comfy seat - age 9 weeks

Of the 13 chicks, 7 are Australorps and 6 are Rhode Island Reds.

Australorp pullet (hen) 15 weeks

RIR pullet - 15 weeks

Of the 7 Australorps - we have 3 hens and 4 roosters (average odds)
Of the 6 RIR's - we have 4 hens and just 2 roosters (better odds!)

It doesn't take a maths genius then to work out that we have a cockadoodle-doodly total of SIX ROOSTERS with us at present ..... OMG! Luckily they all seem to get along fine, with no macho fighting displays as yet.

And since we are talking crazy numbers, the grand total now in the pen- old and new, guys and dolls- is a whopping 18 chooks!!! I think I am a very strong candidate for crazy-chook-lady of the mountains :-)

....and quite a few out of shot.....!

The young ones are 15 weeks old today. Which means the cockerals will start probably start crowing in the next few weeks and officially become roosters. Obviously we can't keep 6 roosters, but I am glad we have kept them this long. We are planning on keeping one, and have a firm favourite of the Australorps. He is a very handsome young chook, the biggest of the bunch with stunning feathers and a lovely temperament. He will sit quite happily on our laps or in arms for a pat as long as we want, as the others will too. 

'No. 1' rooster guarding one of his ladies from the camera!

"and look, I can do comical feather stuff too!"

But the RIR boys are lovely too! They are very happy to be picked up and handled and I don't really want to say goodbye to them. I would like to keep one but 2 roosters is probably too many for the 12 hens we will have. It would mean that we could breed both Australorps and RIR's in future years though......

One of the 2 (identical) RIR roosters, getting his lovely feathers in

Clearly I am not good at culling (!) and we are still deciding exactly who to sell. The roosters will probably have to go soon, especially if they start crowing. I might sell 2 to3 of the hens, or perhaps a hen and rooster as a breeding pair. They are good stock lines so it may be an option.

Speaking of options, we are considering if we can't sell the roosters that we may 'dispatch and process' them ourselves. Not a option we like of course, and we haven't done this before, but if no-one wants to buy them for breeding and they are going to end up in a pot, it may as well be our pot! Hens will always find a home of course, seems a little unfair doesn't it?

POT??? Is that why we're lining up??!!

No 2 black roo - how could anyone not want this handsome creature?!!

You may have realised from the photo captions that we have NOT named this hatch lot yet. It has been a long time but it has worked to lessen our attachment to individual chooks, so when selling/culling time comes it should be less emotional.
In theory.

BTW - do you remember I had to splint one of our chicks legs? I am happy to report the band-aid splint worked perfectly and just a week afterwards I had lost track of which chick it was! So it is now one of our healthy happy chooks with no leg problems :-)

Anyway, I will leave you with a couple more photos from today.

Miss A feeding the hungry beaks

3 girls having a rest :-)


Anne said...

Wow look at all those chooks I just want to give them all a hug.

My next door neighbour in Sydney she use to eat her roosters.

It will a few months untill I can get some chooks. The back yard here needs more work. But I am very excited about it I miss having them walking around the backyard.

mountainwildlife said...

I'm sure you will love having them again Anne, I'd be lost without mine now! And knowing my inability to get rid of anything, I may well still have too many when you are ready for some, so watch this space!
Eating the roosters seems quite barbaric and still somehow wrong, but we do eat chicken so I guess we are only eating someone elses roosters. Thats modern life, being so removed from our food sources. I admire people who can raise their own meat as well as veggies, I'm just not sure whether we can be those kind of people!

Chris said...

Oh but they are beautiful. :)

You're very lucky to have raised them to 15 weeks without a crow. There are some in my 6 week old crew who have already started!!

Processing is not a favourite pass time here, but it does get easier with each dispatch. I guess it seems barbaric at first, because it's something you're not use to.

I was told you can pay someone to come and do it for you, although I guess that's area specific. If you know someone who has killed chickens before, and they're willing, ask them to show you how it's done. Pay them with chicken for dinner. :)

That aside though, they really are some beautiful chooks.

Jacqueline said...

LOL yes Lisa you are officially the craziest chooky woman in the mountains! I can't get over you having 18. The Australorp boys are just so beautiful...oh my Pippy would turn her head for these ones I bet! Might stop her crowing too...sigh..yes, she does make a go of it most days and it's quite pathetic really! I think we need a boy in the Summer Palace. But mostly when I look at your photos, all I see is how beautifully dry your straw is and no mud and I think the girls are going to be washed away if this rain keeps up. Am trying all sorts of things to keep them dry but clearly we need a redesign 'cause the poor things are hemmed in with mud on all sides!

mountainwildlife said...

Yes I sigh too at the lovely dry straw... because it certainly isn't anymore. Mud rules here too, so over this rain!
If you really want a rooster let me know soon, they aren't crowing yet but at 16 weeks it can't be long... I think all but 1 or possibly 2 are destined for the freezer :-( Too many girls really too, I will probably sell a few soon to get down to a reasonable number again.

mountainwildlife said...

Chris I can't believe you have crowers at 6 weeks !!! Do you 'process' the boys yourself? Or try to sell them on like me in the naive belief they will live a fabulous life on a huge country farm somewhere? LOL!

We have been looking into options and looking most likely is that we will keep them and do the deed ourselves. At least we know they have had happy and healthy lives.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe you have 18 chooks.

I don't think I could eat them. We get too attached to our animals.

They are all lovely!

Jacqueline said...

Hey Lisa Thanks so much for the tip about putting tree mulch in the girls enclosure. Oh my goodness it makes such a difference! I'm happy, they are happy and with a forecast of big storms for later in the week while I'm away, I'm very relieved to have this sorted out. You're a gem! xx

Jacqueline said...

You might be interested to know that the guy we got our bearded ladies from has a very quick and bloodless machine that breaks the neck and he's in the process of having it manufactured here (original from the UK) so he will be selling them soon. If you do find someone to show you how we'd be keen to join you for the lesson.

PS I officially hate the new word verification - I've turned it off my blog because I can't read them and get very frustrated! Just thought I'd share!

Unknown said...

My husband calls me the crazy chicken lady - looks like I might have some competition. Love the blog now I have found it. Keep it up :-)