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Posts Tagged ‘white chantecler’

I found some reasonably priced (aka cheap, although not quite free) laying hens on Craigs last week, so I brought home 10 to increase my egg production.  I’ve only got 4 chantecler hens and 2 banty hens, and only two (possibly 3?) of the Chanteclers are laying anything for me so far.  I also have reason to believe some of these new girls will be broody hens to hatch eggs for me next spring since some have done it before.  They’re all black, some are a bit smaller, likely a banty cross with a standard size chicken.  The only black chickens I know the name of are black Australorps, Jersey giants, and black broilers- I definitely don’t have giants or broilers.  I don’t know what these chickens are, so any guesses are welcome!  These girls just stopped laying so I won’t be getting any eggs until probably after the new year, but I guess I can be patient.  Eggs are pricy at the store right now!  Here’s one of the new girls:

Since I brought home more chickens, John reminded me that I REALLY need to get rid of a few roosters now.  Last week he stopped in at the Amish place we’ve heard about that will butcher for a reasonable price.  They told him I should bring them Monday (yesterday).

I brought four- three Chanteclers and a banty Ameraucana.  One had too large of a comb, one had crooked legs, one was not nice to my kiddos, and one (the banty) was leaning that way.  (If he’d been a nice rooster, he would’ve stayed and the other banty would’ve been processed because he has the wrong comb type, although better color.)  I still really have one too many Chanty roosters, but I’d like to grow three out a little further and see how they develop before I narrow it down to two.  I neglected to take a picture of the actual chickens I took, so here’s a picture of some I have left.  The first picture is a Chantecler hen, rooster, and the remaining banty rooster behind.  The second picture is a rooster and a hen (another hen behind).  They’re about 6 months old.

  

The weather was horrible (pelting rain and a thunderstorm), but they fortunately do most of the processing inside.  I waited for the school children to get home, since they were the ones who were to butcher the roos for me.  I wanted to learn how, so they let me help.  Two little boys took them out to the cones at the fence and dispatched them.  They let me hold the feet until the worst of the twitching was over.  Fortunately, there was a clearing in the rain and we didn’t get drenched outside!

An older sister was overseeing the project in the basement.  There the roos were dunked in a pail of boiled water (with soap added) for 15-30 seconds until the feathers would come off easily.  (The sister said they usually use soda in the water instead, but soap works, too.  It’s supposed to help the feathers come out more easily.)  We plucked on a table- WAY easier than I had imagined it would be.  And I didn’t notice any particularly strong or nasty smell, either.  Then we cleaned the birds off in a pan of water and took legs off at the knee joint.  Last was gutting.  I did the last one, and definitely took longer and made a bigger mess (yup- I busted a gut) and I missed the lungs.  I still have to find them… they offered to get them out for me, but I’d like to see them when I cut the chicken apart, so I can find them in the future.  Once the cut was made in the bottom and the fat from that area removed, It wasn’t much worse than having to get that little baggie of giblets out of the frozen turkey.

They told me I didn’t have to pay full price since I helped a lot.  But they were very helpful in teaching me/answering my questions, so I felt that more than worth a couple of dollars.  (Sorry no pics of processing.  Besides having my hands yucky, the amish don’t do photos).

So here’s the end product.  They’re for sure not CornishX, but a 6 month old dual purpose bird.  (Sorry, the pics are a bit odd- they’re sitting on the canner lid on the basement floor- that’s where the extra fridge is.  And necks are still attached since the amish family had broken the knife they use to cut off the necks.)  I’ll try to weigh them sometime and add that here for reference.  ETA:  Weights of my roos without giblets/feet, but with necks.  The banty was 1lb 12 oz, Chanteclers were  5lb 2 oz, 5lb 3 1/2 oz, and 4 lb.  The 4 lb was the roo with the crooked legs that got picked on.  They were all a few days shy of 30 weeks old.  

        

Based on that experience, I would have no hesitations in doing one myself.  I don’t know that I’d want to do a bunch (unless I had help), and I still wouldn’t be crazy about the dispatching part, but I think I could do it.

What did you do yesterday?

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I put the chicks outside for a bit the other day- until it started to rain.  It was their first time out.  Some hid in the weeds, some tried to fluff themselves in a little dirt, but it was damp dirt so they couldn’t get in much of a dust bath.  They mostly huddled in a corner and didn’t know what to do.

   

The White Chanteclers are just under a month in these pics, the banties are less than a week younger.  The size difference is pretty big right now.  Here’s my biggest Chantecler and my smallest banty:

Here’s their little colored heads so I can try to tell them apart.  Not natural, but effective.

I gave them worms this morning.  The Chanteclers watch them, but won’t eat them or pick them up yet.  The banties will pick them up, cause a chase, and eat them.  I think they’re probably teaching the Chanties how it’s done!

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I took a long trip on Friday to pick up my dexter cows.  Saturday I had another long drive to pick up my white chantecler chicks.  They cheeped at me all the way home, and have been doing wonderfully!  Thanks to Kerryann at Tukswitt Farm for making a livestock delivery this direction!  I got a bonus chick and ended up with 10 little peepers.

   

I have put a dab of color on each head with a magic marker to try to keep track of who is who.  That way I can record any observations and look back to know the history of the chicks better.  (Like any indicators that might help me tell males from females when they’re little.)

Now to build the coop and fence the garden/run space…

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Excitement at my house!  At least for me.  John’s just tolerating 😉  We’ve finally worked out our “deals” on what chickens I can get and how many.

We’re getting 9 White Chantecler chicks from Kerryann at Tukswitt farms– we’ll be meeting her near Pittsburgh on April 23 to pick them up.  I’d also planned to do an order from Ideal hatchery to get some assorted Chanteclers for a little color- they allow smaller orders and send “warming chicks” to fill the box.  John wanted me to find someone to split an order with so that we wouldn’t have to find something to do with the little packing peanuts.  Unfortunately, over the course of the past week, everything went from available to sold out 😦  Guess I’ll have to remember to order VERY early from them if I ever want to try again!

Enter the new option- “Ameraucanas.” I use the term loosely, as from what I’ve read, it’s hard to find true Ameraucana’s from the hatcheries.  They’re mostly “Easter Eggers.”  We’ll see how they compare to the standards, I guess.  They are cold hardy, colorful, friendly, and have fun blue/green eggs (at least supposed to be) I decided to go bantam sized on these guys for a variety of reasons- less feed, maybe I can get a good broody hen to raise some more Chanty chicks under, and the kids may like them more since they’re smaller.  I talked to the local feed store and will plan to order 6 with them sometime in April.  I believe they’ll be coming from Stromberg’s hatchery.

We also ordered the chicken wire that will go around the garden/chicken run.  AND I found someone locally who thinks he can make the locust split rail fence for a reasonable price. I’ll be sure to take pics when we get it/get it put up.  The fence will support the chicken wire and make it look a little nicer than just posts.

Progress is being made…

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So John is somewhat hesitantly letting me start with some chickens this year.  The agreement that he could get a handgun if I got chickens apparently made it a workable deal.  I’ve been researching my options for a while and decided I’d like to keep Chanteclers.  They’re a dual purpose (Eggs and meat), cold hardy (actually developed in Canada), good foraging (less feed to buy!), calmer disposition (not as flighty or prone to be aggressive), and heritage breed (listed at “critical” by the ALBC).  So why not promote a little genetic variety with a bird that fits all my other wants?  Okay- one problem- since they’re “critical” it means they’re a little difficult to find.  I’m most interested in the White variety, although plan to get a few partridge, buff, and/or red to supply a little color to my homestead.

I’d planned to go with Ideal hatchery and start with the colored ones, as the only hatchery that sells whites (Sandhill) requires a 25 chick order, and only 10 (now 15?) can be the white chants, which as of yesterday were sold out through mid-July.  However, I ran across a Craigs list add and connected with a lady near Philadelphia who is breeding some.  I wouldn’t make a 6-hour one way drive to get chicks, but she fortunately is coming to the Pittsburg area this spring with some other livestock and can deliver them there to meet me.  Three hours one way for the bird I most want is worth it, especially since John and I can make it a date day and justify the trip a little more readily.

This has all just developed over the past week, so I’m excited!  I was originally planning to wait until June to get chicks, but since some circumstances have changed, we should be starting with chicks the day before Easter.  With that change, I think I’ll try to order my color chicks to arrive shortly after that so I can brood them together better.

Another piece I’m hoping to add is a couple Khaki campbell ducks.  They’re supposed to be small, good layers (rivaling the best laying chickens), good foragers, and good in the cold (and for what it’s worth, campbell ducks also make the list of animals in need of population support on the ALBC).  I don’t necessarily need more eggs, but I’ve never had duck eggs and would like to try them.  Ducks are also supposed to be a little easier on your garden spaces, as they don’t scratch up the ground.  So I’d feel a little better about letting them loose in the garden side of my enclosed area to deal with some bugs.  I’d thought about waiting and trying them some other year, but I’m thinking it will be best for poultry relations if I start my ducks and chicks together.  Most of what I’ve come across in researching if they can be kept together says one of two things.  One, they get along fine, but have been raised together.  Two they don’t get along and had to be separated, but usually because one was added to the other.  Dominance seemed to belong to whoever was there first, and the added one (duck or chicken) lost out.

However, John’s not so hip on the idea of ducks, TOO.  Yet to be determined…

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