After last year's devastating losses the flock at Jordan's Croft at last has some good news. There are 22 new chicks from the incubator and 6 Buff Brahamas. Brahamas are known for their feathered feet and round bodies. I think of them as hobbit chickens.
I was looking for a pretty chicken to paint.
I'd like to start painting again – so I wanted a pretty bird that wasn't zebra striped.
Another 24 eggs are due to hatch in 15 days. Since the last hatch was successful – it is likely this one will be as well. Only there'll be some cross-bred chicks – Rhode Island Red hens crossed with Mickey Finn – a cross-bred himself.
As soon as those eggs hatch I'm going to refill the incubator again. I haven't gone chicken crazy – I'm going to sell the youngsters at the farmer's market, keeping the largest hens for myself – and the prettiest for painting. Believe it or not – there is a huge market for chickens. People are looking for pretty hens for the back yard. I'm going to enjoy raising a slew of chicks.
These chicks are very tame; they come to me, perch on my hands and nip my fingers. I'm handling them daily, to keep them friendly. The balance of the chick-flock has already been transferred to Chicken World. They run and scratch inside all day and night. During the day they venture outside a bit – but the mud isn't any fun to scratch in. They like the thick bedding inside.
Things I wonder about –
I know very little about chicken genetics. I wanted to stick to one breed – but the Dominique breed didn't do very well here. The hens laid a nice amount of eggs – but didn't go broody until Smudge was 3 years old. The Barred Rocks I bought as Dominiques thrived – until the varmint killed them. The remnant of the flock could be called Dominiker as they are crossed between the Rocks and the Dominiques. These are what I'm going to stay with – at least until I get a better idea.
Mickey Finn is a Dominiker – a cross bred – the last two hens are also cross-bred. There is something called 'hybrid vigor' that occurs during cross-breeding. The offspring are more vigorous than either purebred parent. That's why there are so many cross-bred chickens – so what do you get when you cross two cross-bred chicken parents?
I'm going to try to get some more pictures and maybe some video of the chicks.