Now that it is January, all thoughts point to spring. There are projects to finish before all our energy is devoted to gardening, showing, breeding, raising babies, and always our number one priority, finishing the school year. Growing up in the north, the winters were spent as a break from outside projects, and worked hard through the summer and fall to get things done. But being in the south, it has flip-flopped somewhat. We work outside all winter, cleaning, clearing, finishing projects, before the heat hits hard in the summer. That is when our attention moves inside the house. I don't know whether it's just me, but the critters seem to be less interested in being outside at this time of year. Our horses, goats and chickens can come and go at will, but seem to like to hang out in their "houses" more. I guess they are also waiting for those pretty spring days.
One of the smartest things we did when we built the chicken coop, was that we built it around a leland cypress. The chickens absolutely love having this in their living space. Not only does it help cool the coop, but it provides a great sense of security. Some days there will be 15 or 20 hens huddled around the base, happily hanging out. They also love crawling around the lower branches.
These two Silver Laced Wyandotte pullets (6 Mos) are quite beautiful. They are definitely considered show quality in their conformation. Except the hen in the front has a single comb, which is a disqualifying feature. It does not mean she can't be used for breeding, since her body type is wonderful. Not all her babies would have a single comb. Compare to the pullet behind her, which has the desired rose comb. A great example of the difference between buying hatchery chickens or privately bred chickens; the top picture in the blog has two SLW hens purchased through Murray McMurray Hatchery (From Left: 1st and 3rd). They are healthy and lay well, but you can see the difference from the true conformation standard. The pullets above were purchased from a very reputable Wyandotte breeder in Kentucky, Foley's Waterfowl & Poultry. Just an FYI- When you purchase chicks from a private breeder, you are getting straight run, which means---you will get roosters! This SLW group - 4 girls 14 boys!!!!!!!!!
This Black Wyandotte Pullet (7 Mos) is also a beautiful example of the breed. We purchased Blue Laced Red and Black Wyandotte chicks from a breeder in Florida, Paul's Poultry. The chicks from Jesse Paul were fantastic! And a 50/50 boy/girl ratio! Katie will be showing a few of these chickens at a poultry show in Newnan, GA the end of February.
As a footnote, I still recommend ordering chicks from a commercial hatchery if you are looking for utility birds, ie: meat and/or eggs. The added benefit is you can order the sex of bird you would like and multiple varieties. That being said, I believe it is vital to the survival of any breed to keeping quality bred birds to carry on the true standard of breed. So we keep it balanced, everything in moderation! A little of this, a little of that!