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    January Ramblings.

    Indian Game Pullet.

    . Well thats January out of the way. Been a rough month what with all the snow and wet weather. Thoughts of the coming season are dulled by the weather and ground conditions. Mud everywhere you walk, made worse by the duck flock and the tractor coming and going through gateways and the hay barn. The land is saturated with water .

    The ewe flock are not looking to bad considering the rain we have had. I start lambing second week in April, when I hope to have some grass back.

    Took another Border Collie pup on to train. He has been here for just over 6 weeks. Dudley is now almost 4 months old and his yard training is coming along very well. He is a big strong pup and both his mum and dad are very good working dogs. Ben my best mate, is starting to go grey around the face. He’s 7 now, still very fit and active, but I need a back-up and Dudley will learn distance commands when working with Ben. He was taught within the first few days to leave the poultry alone. Being a pup he was interested in playing with the chickens and on the second day he chased and caught Psycho Duck.

    Dudley at 4 months old.

    Now this duck was hand reared from day 1, in the house in a cardboard box on the hearth and thought it wasn’t really a duck. By the time she was old enough to go outside in a coop she was allowed to run around freely.At full grown she ignored all the other ducks and attacked anything that came anywhere near her.

    Photo

    Ben and Psycho Duck.

    Dudley had a peck in the face off Psycho and the not a good idea command from me. I use a loud AHH! AHH! which always does the trick. Peace now reigns in the yard and the pup is totally trustworthy around the birds. I’m hoping this collie will be a good addition to the farm. He will never come up to what Ben is capable of. Ben is one of those special dogs that come along only once in a lifetime. Without him my life would be a great deal more difficult and he’s my mate and I love him to bits.

    The breeding season is coming closer and with the amount of snow we have had over this last week I’m not rushing to start hatching. I’m getting the eggs, but having to withstand the cold before they are collected drastically reduces the chances of a fertile egg. You see them already being sold on ebay and in my opinion your chucking your money away at this time of year buying them.

    It is very satisfying to see more and more poultry keepers getting into a dual purpose breed and by the number of emails I get every week backs up my assumpion that nearly all of the pure breed that at one time were kept for eggs and meat have been lost.

    Dark and Blue laced Indian Game pullets.

    I have often stated in here just how important the rooster is to the breed line/strain. If you have a hen that isn’t producing that near ideal offspring, you just have however many chicks/growers in the flock she managed to hatch from her eggs. Pick the wrong rooster and all the birds will carry problems.

    Australorp Pullet.

    Halfway through the month and I have 2 broodies, not what I need at the moment and I’ll need to break them. There are many ways to do this and most seem to be of a punishment, if you read through some of the poultry forums.

    The way that I have tried and tested over the years consists of a coop about 3ft long and 2 ft deep and 2 ft high.

    The front has 2in X 1in slats that are about 3in apart. The middle 3 are removeable (upwards) which gives you a door to get in.

    The floor is made the same. 2in X 1 in and they run longways, not from back to front. The gap is again about 3 inches and the front slat should be far enough away from the front to allow the bird to reach through to feed and drink. She has to perch and cannot sit and brood due to the gaps. She is fed in full view of the other birds and feed scattered near the front gives her competition from the others which drives her to feed. The coop is raised up on 4 bricks and this will not only break her but having kept her weight up she will return to lay a lot sooner than a bird just cooped on her own. The fast way is to put her in a run with a rooster, but be there to see he isn’t to heavy handed with her.

    I’m down to 6 Welsh Black roosters, 3 birds from last season and 3 from the year before.

    I need to reduce these down to 3 and then pick the very best 1 to head this years Welsh Black pen.

    The next best will go in with a couple of Australorp hens. and the 3rd one as a back up.

    The 3 from last season are all by the father of the other 3 and carry 3/4 of his make-up.

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