The Rains of Summer

Finally our drought has been broken, the summer rains have arrived. The high heat has kept the spring chores from being done so now it is time to play catch up. Things are getting done on the farm. The fences are getting finished or repaired, overcrowded trees are being cut out or heavily trimmed and new trees and bushes are being added. The wood debris can finally be burned. And the teenager chicks are being transitioned to the roosting house.

The few chicks that we allowed to be hatched this year, the oldest of which are now about 12 weeks old, are now big enough to fend for themselves amongst the flock that free range. Their grow out pen has been opened for the last couple of weeks so they can get used to running the yard with the older girls. Naturally there is a bit of learning that goes along with it but they are doing fine.

Along with being able to run the yard, they also have to learn where and what the roosting house is. The last couple of evenings it has been a matter of carrying the teenagers over to the roosting house and placing them on an empty roost. This gives them the notion that “Hey we can roost with more space and the bigger birds wont try to kill us after all.” About half the youngsters should go in on their own tonight as they had a 2 day jump start on the rest. This will open a grow out pen for the next batch but also allow me to determine who stays and who goes. Looking to get a couple of good quality breeder boys out of this first round. The second round are mainly project birds and by then their new coops and runs should be complete.

It’s only 3 months before we start thinking about the fall hatch. That is one distinct advantage of living in the south is that our hatching season starts a lot sooner and so by the time spring rolls around our birds are just starting to lay instead of just being hatched. Naturally the fertility rates are not as good and girls go into molt and stop laying but there is always enough eggs to make it worth while.

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