Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Poultry Report

The Chicken tractor was finally finished enough to be used for its intended purpose.
It still needs nesting boxes, but they can be added later when the ladies start laying.  

The first challenge was to get the chicks in the chicken tractor.  They just really didn't think this was a good idea.  We called in the volunteers to assist us.  We set up a fence to funnel them to the ramp up into the coop.

They tried to exit the chicken tractor as fast as we chased them in.  They tried, and some succeeded going under or over our fence.  My sister in law was one of our assistants.  She held down the fence and chased down the escapees.

Paul was busy trying to keep them going the right direction.  It was quite the circus!!

There were plenty of escapees to chase down as we had the fence set up too loosely and the chicks were very determined.  It was in the process of moving them that we realized that we were missing a bunch (20) of chicks.  We were so sad to find them piled up dead in the coop, having been suffocated by a possum.

Elizabeth is a first class chicken catcher!  She runs them down and has no qualms about grabbing them and putting them where they need to go.

Paul caught the last of the chicks and they were loaded into the coop. We kept them in there with food and water so that they could get used to their new home.  They need to learn that this is where they should return too. There are 44 birds in there now.

The chicken tractor is built to be very light and strong.  We are able to pull it easily, fully loaded with chicks, with the ATV.  There are too many chicks in there to let them just free range in the yard.

The day the chicks got relocated on the farm, the next batch of poultry arrived.  We got 20 Bourbon Red turkey poults.  These are a heritage breed.

Turkey poults can be told apart from chicks by the little nob on their head. They are very cute,but VERY feisty.  Much more than our chicks have been.  They feel like they have to peck everything and everyone!

They claim first place at the waterer and at the feeder.  They definitely boss the chicks around!

Here is the chicken tractor out in the field with the electric fence in place.  I think we will have to move it only about once a week.  Not even that often, with the rapid rate grass growth we are experiencing right now.

Americauna chick.

The next day the new batch of chicks arrived.  We got some Americaunas,  Delawares,  and some Cuckoo Marans.  There are distinct differences between the chicks.  The Americaunas are the hardiest and easiest to care for.  All 25 I ordered are still alive.

Delaware and Cuckoo Maran chick

The Deleware chicks are smaller and seem pretty hardy.  They are an old meat bird, but really dual purpose ( good egg layers also)  They have the most issues with pasty butt.  I don't think it is because it is easier to spot on their white feathers.  The Cuckoo Marans are the least hardy.  We had an unfortunate incident where the waterer was allowed to be empty in our rather hot garage.  There were chicks laying in the dry waterer when I found it.  I quickly refilled it and they all drank their fill.  One of the cuckoos was dead already and three more died over the next two days.  We also had one of the turkey poults die in the first 24 hours.  That is still really a good result, but not as good as last time.  The chicks all seem to be thriving now.

I liked this picture of a poult that Elizabeth took.

They are starting to get their wing feathers.

Here are two of the poults jousting to see who is the top bird.  They are a lot of fun.  Keep reading for further updates.

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