A Few of our Happy Hens

Every now and again the girls stand still for the camera, this morning was one of those rare times! Meet Lucy, Lorraine & Dottie.  All three girls were hatched in 2016.

Lorraine & Lucy’s breed: Australorpe, and Dottie is a LeghornX.

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Disabled Dottie

Meet Dottie, Miss Injury Queen. Her comb has gotten so big and heavy it has flopped over to one side limiting her vision primarily to one eye. Floppy combs are somewhat common for Leghorns, and it’s not usually a problem. But to some extent, this condition has turned into a disability for Dottie. She bumps into things, and her big fleshy appendage atop her head bleeds, which of course causes havoc in the chicken yard.

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My docile members of the flock are anything but when there’s an injured bird present, so Dottie has been moved to the chicken hospital.  She can still see the flock, and quite honestly, seems quite happy in the safety of solitude. Oddly enough, being confined hasn’t effected her egg production at all. Every morning there’s a pearly white egg in her nest, and in my opinion, a happy bird is one that’s laying! I haven’t decided yet if she will be returned to the flock at some point, or if this 4×6 coop will be a permanent home.

 

 

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Planning for Fall Chicks

Summer is almost over and that means it time to plan for fall chicks. Unlike most parts around the country, Phoenix’s springtime doesn’t always give us the 8 weeks we need to get chicks from the brooders to grow pens before it’s too hot.  I like my pullets to be at least 12-16 weeks old before the 90 degree temps hit, and that could be as early as March.

We all have our preferences, and I’m sure chicken keepers in Phoenix all raise chicks their own way. But personally, I find it a lot easier to keep chicks warm, rather than trying to keep them cool.

What will TBN Ranch be hatching this year? Silkies of course… but we’ve also expanded to accommodate laying hens. After pondering over which breeds to buy, I finally decided on the Leghorn, Dominique, and Ameraucana. Not a big fan of the Ameraucana and their rather aloof personality, but I do appreciate the splash of color they contribute to the egg basket.

As you can see I’ve been busy painting coop signage too! Here’s a few pics of the breeds that will join our flock in the near future. Gosh, if I order them get the chicks in October they won’t be joining the flock until February or March of 2017…  sure does take a long time doesn’t it?

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Best and Worst Heat Tolerant Chickens

Most chicken keepers are more concerned about cold tolerant breeds. But if you live in the Sonoran desert, the scorching heat is by far a bigger problem.  Before you order your Spring chicks keep in mind these three breeds for heat hardiness. They’ve proved to me over and over to be the real survivors of the flock.

Best
• Ameraucana
• Dominique  (Best of heavy breeds)
• Polish

Heavy birds are harder to keep in hot weather, especially if they are confined. They may survive, but heat stress does effect egg production. However, it’s not always just heavy breeds I find intolerant. These are the breeds I’ve had the least success with in extreme temperatures of 110 – 117.

Worst
• Orpington
• Leghorn
• Rhode Island

I’ve eliminated the Rhode Islands from my flock not because they don’t survive the heat… they absolutely do. However, they become extremely agitated in brutal heat and all the other members of the flock pay the price. This breed may lay all summer without interruption, but they can sure disrupt the harmony of a flock when they are uncomfortable in high temperatures.

In my opinion, the real trooper in the worst weather conditions is the Ameraucana, and they’re good layers too! But don’t pick this breed if your looking for a pal, this is the loser breed as far as I’m concerned! The perfect word describing this breed is ALOOF.

The Ameraucana, or often called the Easter Egger lays blue/green eggs, and you can expect approximately four medium-large eggs per week.