Wilbur’s Kids

A while back, someone had asked if different breeds of chickens will “do what boys and girls do” and create weird offspring. Yes . . any hen in the chicken yard is fair game, according to how the roosters think.

We have big old Wilbur and he was our only full size rooster til recently.

WIlbur

WIlbur

Wilbur, a Dominique rooster, has been molting so he’s been a bit “fluffy” with all his loose feathers. The hens love to stand around and pull out all his loose feathers and he seems to love the attention. There are four hens with him, two Dominique hens and two red hens. All five of these chickens are about the same age – 2-1/2 years old.

From what I’ve read, heritage type roosters can live 10 – 15 years, though they will get slower and less “frisky” as they get older. Heritage type hens will continue to lay for about 5 years though their egg production will tape off as they get older. Hybrid chickens vary . . these red hens we have are supposed to lay an egg just about every day for 2 – 3 years and then stop laying completely. Our two remaining older red hens are still laying an egg just about every day. Of course, none of that is written in stone. I think the general feeling is that roosters live to be about 5 – 8 years old and I’ve heard of some, on rare occasions that lived to be 20+ years old.

But, Wilbur has his way with all four hens in his area.  Every time we’ve had eggs in the incubator, I’ve added a couple of eggs from Wilbur’s girls  as “test” eggs because I know how old the eggs are and I know how they’ve been kept/handled.

At first, I would just use eggs from the Dominique hens so I had full bred Dominique babies but the last time, I decided to put in eggs from Wilbur and the red hens too. Our red sex links, which is what the red laying hens are, supposedly came from a New Hampshire Red rooster and a Delaware hen.

The Dominiques have rose combs (kinda scrunched up and flattish) and barred feathering (the black and white almost stripes). The red hens have single combs and the chickens are red.

We call all the offspring from this coop “Wilbur’s Kids”.

Wilbur's Kids

Wilbur’s Kids

See the two black/white barred (striped – not the spotted one) chicken above? Notice how one of them is obviously black and white and the one closer to the front is more black and tan? She’s from the red hen.

Wilbur's Kids

Wilbur’s Kids

See the almost solid black one above? He’s also one of Wilbur’s kids with the red hen. He’s almost all black with some tinges of red. He totally lost the barring.

Now you see what happens behind closed doors in the chicken coop . . we’re going to be getting all kinds of weird babies from all the different breeds. When we want purebred babies, we’ll separate those hens and roosters and keep them separate from the other breeds til we get all the eggs we want to hatch.

In one coop, I have a few Black Copper Marans, a couple of full bred Dominiques and two Speckled Sussex. Eventually, when I’m feeling brave, I’m going to put the two Dominiques in with Wilbur. One of the youngers ones is a rooster so we may have to decide if it’s time for Wilbur to go or if we want to keep the younger rooster. I can’t have 5 hens and 2 roosters in the same coop.

I’ll pull out the 2 Speckled Sussex and put them in a separate pen in order to get full bred Speckled Sussex eggs, and that will leave only the Black Copper Marans in their coop so I’ll be able to get purebred eggs from them. Then the fun will begin when it’s time to combine them all again, and then put the babies back in with them. We’re not going to hatch any more eggs any time soon so I’m not even thinking about that right now.

Did you know  . .  hens have a “sperm sack” so when they mate with a rooster, the sperm go into the sack and can survive in there maybe longer than 30 days!  They say that the breeds should be isolated for at least 30 days if you want to be 100% sure you’re getting purebred offspring. They also say (whoever “they” is) that the newest sperm are the most active so after about two weeks, chances are, you’re going to get the most recent sperm that are fertilizing the eggs. Since we’re not selling fertile eggs and only hatching them for our own use, we’ll probably just wait the two weeks. The longer the chickens are away from the others, the hard it’s going to be to put them back together again.

There . . more than you ever wanted to know about breeding chickens!  :)

Weekend Plans

My plan for the weekend . . try to survive!  :)

The kidney stone news:  The plan was to fix the right side first because of the blockage but the left side is about to get the best of me. I called the doctor yesterday and he had me have a different scan (KUB) so he could assess the blockage on the right side and see if he thinks it’s ok to fix the left side first. Honestly, I’ll be surprised if I make it through the weekend without having to have something done on that left side. They have to do it one side first, let that side recover and then do the other side. They can’t do them both at the same time. I wish they could.

The lady doing the x-ray said “Honey, you don’t have a kidney stone in that left kidney . . you have a rock garden!”

Yesterday afternoon a friend had mercy on me and came over and helped put the tomatoes up. Ten quarts and I was amazed at how quickly it went with a helper. I resisted her help but I’m so glad she came.

Dinner

Dinner

We had our antelope tacos and borracho beans last night, along with homemade pico from the garden. There’s plenty of taco meat, taco shells and everything else left over for lunches/dinner, along with 2 quarts of borracho beans. I think I’ll freeze one quart and keep one quart out.

Vince is building the last fenced area for the chickens so I’ll help him with that this morning. Hopefully I’ll get in a bit of knitting time but you can bet it will be a whole lot of sleeping going on. The pain pills are pretty effective with the pain but they knock me out.

So . . I hope you’re all having a better weekend than I’m having!  :)  I’ll be good as new soon . . I hope!

 

 

Garden Update

I’m almost afraid to see what happens in the garden over the next week or so after all this rain? Besides mosquitoes . . I’m betting there’s going to be lots of stuff growing out there. I’m not complaining about the garden . . but I could be grumbling about the timing of kidney stones!

Veggies

Veggies

There’s a bit of squash in the bottom, quite a few tomatoes, a few eggplants and lots of peppers.

Last year I dehydrated a mix of banana peppers, bell peppers and pimento peppers, then put them through the blender. I called this “sweet pepper mix”. I did the same with jalapeno, poblano, tabasco, cayenne and chili peppers and called it “hot pepper mix”.

Yesterday while talking to Chad, he said “You know what I want you to make? More of that sweet pepper mix!” He said he had used a whole lot of that so I told him I’d get right on it. I love it when I make something and he enjoys it and wants more. 

I had planned to get peppers in the dehydrator today but since it sits on the porch and since it’s so damp out there today, I’ll wait til tomorrow to get that going. From the looks of the blooms on the pepper plants, and now with the rain, we’re not going to run out of peppers.