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Re: Brooding hens that won't let me near the eggs

Subject: Re: Brooding hens that won't let me near the eggs
From: "Farm1"
Date: Mon, 4 Sep 2006 15:40:33 +1000
Newsgroups: sci.agriculture.poultry
"a_l_p" <hay_hell_pea@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote in message
> Farm1 wrote:

> > I didn't form my opinions without a basis of fact.  I've had lots
of
> > pure breds and I wrote a very comprehensive post about pure breeds
> > I've owned or know about and how they may or may not fit into my
> > enviroment
>
> Well, just so you don't feel lonely(!) here's someone in support of
your
> viewpoint.  I adore Araucanas.  Big Bum Biddies like Orpingtons
delight me.

Yes, me too :-))  I can't help smiling when I see a full arsed view of
fluffy drawers.  That is one of the reasons why I wouldn't want to
have chooks with hardfeathering, no fluffy drawers.

But
> after repeated failures with Araucana eggs a few seasons ago I gave
up, then I
> had a chook who refused to give up being broody so I got a day's
laying of eggs
> from a friend who used to have her pure-breds neatly segregated but
then gave up
> and let them all mingle and enjoy themselves on the little farmlet.

That is one of the real problems of pure breeds I think.  To do it
properly it really requires a lot of financial input in terms of
housing and run building.  My husband gets cross enough every time I
steal more bird wire from his fencing supplies as it is.  Makes
typical male comments like "It'be cheaper to buy eggs".  He's right of
course but I simply reply that running a few chooks is the price he
must be prepared to pay if he wants to live on a farm.  If not,
divorce would be a much more expensive option.

The other thing about pure breeds is that one doesn't want all of them
going broody at once or otherwise wishing that at least one of them
would go broody.  Mongrels give that mix of at least one or two doing
exactly what you want at any one time rather than the whole lot not
doing what you want.  That's not well expressed but I'm sure it will
make sense to another mongrel lover.

The
> chickens that hatched were a joy... all 11 of them ... and it's not
the
> mongrel-bred factor that made 9 of them turn out to be male :-(

You could have been as unlucky in the maleness with purebreds too
though.:-))  I have heard (although I think it may be an old wive's
tale) that by selecting rounder eggs as opposed to longer eggs, then
there is more chance of getting females.  I've always done this and
the ratio of female to male has always been OK but then that could be
random just as easily as egg shape.

> So I've just had another bunch of chicks hatch, this time from my
own mongrel
> eggs.  I'm not reliant on them for eggs nor for meat - that's only a
sad fact of
> chook keeping for me - so the delight of seeing the mixture that
results and the
> pleasure of knowing one from t'other when they are out in the garden
make my
> mixed chix a good choice for me.

I just realised this morning as I let the chooks out that this is one
factor that I had not mentioned so it is serendipitous that you
mention it.  I was looking at the girls and thinking how lovely the
bloom on their feathers is at this time of year (all ready for
Spring - looking lush and healthy) and then I relaised that there was
only one that I could tell from any of the others.  These are a bunch
of commercials that I bought after the last fox attack and they are as
dull as dish water.  I really should knock them on the head as they
are now getting quite old, but the eggs are nice and big and still
more than we can eat.

> One day I'm going to get more Araucanas for the delightfulness of
the eggs.

Yes, truly beautiful.

> Meantime, odd-bod chooks lay delicious eggs with yolks that look
artificial,
> compared with shop-bought ones, and flavour that dances on the
plate.

I grew up on a poultry farm and although my father wanted to be modern
and have caged birds my mother wouldn't have a bar of it so we had
only a few cages where poorly chooks could be kept.  We were running
free range chooks before the word was even coined I suspect.  My Mum
once sold some eggs to a city dweller who was visiting a friend in the
country.  Mum heard back from the city dweller by way of the friend.
The city dweller was furious as she told the friend that they had
thrown out all "those eggs, they were off!  The yolks were bright
yellow!"  Mum and the friend still laughed about it even 30 years
after the event.

> BTW I think the problem with the Araucana eggs was the little house
for brooding
> and the first few weeks of chick-hood.  It was on the ground (with a
netting
> floor) and despite the straw I think the hen decided it was too cold
so after a
> couple of weeks she would give up.  I lifted it up onto an old door
on top of a
> tractor tyre so it is well insulated from the ground temperature,
and it is
> since then that I have had the 2 successful sittings.

Sounds like you've solved it.  Do you use the sort of lawn mowers in
NZ that have all plastic grass catchers on the back?  About 2 ft long
and about 18 inches wide and made of black plastic?  I have found that
these make great laying boxes with some straw or hay in the base of
them.  They can usually be found at the tip for nothing (if you are
allowed to furkle or if you have a tip attendant who believes in
recycling) and thay can be cleaned up with disinfectant or hosing very
easily.



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