Today I had a load of fodder beet delivered. Bought in mainly for the in lamb ewes, but the poultry get their share. As soon as it was tipped the birds were all over it. Most of the grass has now being taken, so a treat like beet goes down well.
I have started to pen up the different breeds and will select from them when I have caught them all up. I just finished netting the top of the runs and a net 22ft X 11 ft covers each pen nicely.(Ebay) The hen/pullets not being used in the pens go into the big shed as layers for eating eggs.
The males are starting to fight, as the testosterone rises for the coming season. Dudley (Border Collie) deals with any that start getting serious. I had to pen 1, as he was intent in getting the better of a larger bird and failing.
Penning the females causes a few problems in as much as getting them to use a new coop and making sure they use it. These last few nights have luckily been dry, so the ones that roost out survived the night. Rain during the daytime helps, as they seek shelter from it,
Frost forecast tonight, so an extra hour in the morning filling drinkers.
Minus 3 here last night, but thankfully dry. The birds will stand the cold, as long as their feathers are dry. They fluff up their feathers and trap air under and around them which is warmed by the heat of their bodies. 105-107 F. The birds that were put in the breeding runs have started seeking shelter in the coops, but a few slept out on the top. Looked fine this morning and had a warm up feed of Wheat, rolled barley and flaked maize soaked in hot water.
This pullet has very dark lacing. The melanistic genes from the Australorp brought that about. I have had a few like her before, be interesting to see of I could breed out all the lacing and produce a black Indian Game..And there lies my problem. So many projects and not enough time left to take them much farther. The pullet behind her is a blue x jubilee. Produced a lot of these last year. Totally frowned upon, as far as poultry club standards go, but I don’t breed to show, I breed for the freezer and once the feathers are off and a week or two goes by until to allow me to forget which one it was the jobs a good un
All the IIG ( Improved Indian Game ) Improved for egg numbers and fertility by outcrossing to Australorp 7 generations ago, mated back to pure IG. These lay a bigger egg and more of them.