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Time to count your chicks before they are hatched.

March 31, 2011

When the kids were little we had chickens.   We ordered the chicks, Hampshire Reds and built  a coop with a fenced in area around it and a nesting box.  There was a lot of fun to be had  with watching the kids learn about eggs and chickens until two things happened.  We were first time chicken farmers and really didn’t know anything about it.  

One night,  a critter of some sort came and took out more then half of the flock, leaving only mean old Nelly Peckhen and about 7 or 8 juvenile roosters.  Which we discovered a few weeks later, when you could see changes in behavior in the birds.  Roosters wanting to be roosters and getting all fightsy.   After that  Mean Old Nelly Peckhen would routinely fly the coop and nest in a tree at night  to get away.   She  was a favorite of the 4 year old and so for a few weeks she would cry at night because she was afraid for her favorite bird and felt that the hed should be allowed  to come and sleep with her at night.

 Then  later  in the fall  a second situation,  butchering.  The kids had lost their affection for most of the birds by the time school started up again.  Some roosters can be a bit dangerous around kids, chasing them and flying up in their faces.  By this point we had gone to the library and gotten a bunch of back yard chicken raising books and learned that we had probably overshot the time frame for butchering , but faced with an over population of roosters going into the winter, we pushed forward. 

The children became very dramatic  as we prepared the area to process the birds and the 4 year old shouted to the the rest of the siblings, ” Hey you guys, Mom  is  givin’  them the ax!”   We decided to keep one rooster,  Little Jerry Seinfeld just so Mean Old Nelly Peckhen  would not be lonely and would come back to the coop.  And she did, and we were able to get a few more eggs.    All and all it was a worth while venture. 

Now is the time to think about getting ordering your poultry.   It is also time to think about housing, feed, and processing before the chicks or pullets or ducklings or goslings come home.  And if you have children, you might want to think about how you are going to handle the issues that raising your own meat  and eggs will bring.

Here is a ton of information that I wish I had back then.   Our extension expert on poultry is Dr. Michael Darre down at the University of Connecticut.  This is his information, and if anything is lacking, please give him a shout out.

bumblefoot

canniibalism

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mareks

newcastle-1

smallflockbroodchicks

(Pullorum Disesase and Fowl Typhoid)PD_FT-1

smflock

Good luck with your poultry this season and send me some photos of your good times.

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