Of the original chicks, twelve remain. Three were killed by a rat, and one was lost due to an accident. Of those twelve, we appear to have two roosters.
|The two on the right have the reddest and most developed combs.|
Of those two, one is larger and can always be found with the pullets.
|This one is attempting to crow!|
The smaller one is more of a loner, usually to be found on the periphery of the other Australorps.
Choosing a rooster has always been a much deliberated task on the homestead (see "Rules With an Iron Claw"), but this time, the choice appears to have been made for me. The chickens themselves made the choice.
What do my older hens think? For the most part they go about their own business, while the young 'Lorps all stick together.
|The Buffs and Speckled Sussex have pretty much left the chicks|
alone. The Wyandottes, on the other hand, chase everybody.
The hen who had been trying to crow is no longer doing that, although none of them seem to care one way or another about the presence of roosters once again. These are all older gals, some of them in their fourth summer of laying. I'm only getting about four eggs a day now, so their production is not impressive.
The pullets will be five months old in October, so we can expect our first pullet eggs then. After that we'll get down to a core group of chickens for the winter. The rest will be canned for chicken stew.
It's a lot of fun to try out different breeds of chickens, but we've pretty much decided that we're through experimenting. For better or for worse, we'll stick with the Black Australorps, assuming some will go broody. I've had mixed reports on that, so we'll see. The plan is to let them raise half a dozen or so of their own chicks every year, and replace the oldest hens from those numbers. As long as we can have a fairly steady supply of eggs, I'll be happy.