Tuesday, April 7, 2015

The Rest of The Chickens

The older mixed girls- Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, unknown, red, and meat hens- are showing feather loss, frost bite damage, and are definitely stir crazy.  They continued to lay through the winter, so I will keep them for eating eggs.

Frost bite damage was not severe on the wattles and combs this year, but there are three hens with lost toes and lameness.  I'm not sure that there's anything I can do about that, as it probably happens over night on their perches.

I do believe I've achieved the right body count to room size for the hardier birds, so now it's just a matter of weeding out the less hardy birds.

This is one of the lame hens.  The other is a red.  I'll be butchering them before the others go outside.

There are a few younger reds and a black that I will keep for eating eggs this summer.  They seem to have made it through the winter unscathed, they just aren't what I want for breeding.

There are 8 roosters who need to go in the freezer.  Most of them are the same colour and weight as the Frey's special dual purpose roosters that I had last year, and should be good eating.  Three of them are red and lighter (two in the picture above).  They may need a bit more time to bulk up.  I'll move them outside with the eating egg hens once the snow melts.

My plan for now is to have 30 potential chantecler cross hens for next winter, and two roosters.  Of course I'll probably have chicks too small to butcher or sex yet in the fall, but I'll deal with them when the time comes.


  1. The way to prevent frostbite on feet is to put in a roost that is a 2x4 lying on its side so the hens sit on the 4' side to keep their feet warm. Having a lame chicken would make me sad. At least you can eat it. I have read that putting Vaseline on combs helps. Or get chickens with rose combs. You now have the depth of my knowledge on combs and feet that freeze.

    1. No, not unless that 2X4 is heated. My 3" diameter branches are wide enough to keep their toes from curling under the perches. It just gets too cold for some of the breeds to keep themselves warm.