Better Put A Ring On It!

We have lots of chickens and thank goodness because we eat a lot of eggs! Having said that, having chickens doesn’t guarantee eggs. 6 of our 16 aren’t laying at the moment and haven’t done so for months.

In the last couple of years, I have been working on increasing the flock through incubation. Incubation guarantees chicks each year however you have to accept that it is a science and that temperature and humidity are important. In other words, it doesn’t always go to plan. I don’t even attempt incubation before October as it’s too cold and regulating the temperature is near impossible.

Not so long ago, Mr D and I discovered the Barnevelder breed of chicken. They are an attractive, hardy and reliable breed that start laying at around 21 weeks of age. We have a good Barnevelder rooster, purchased by B1 as my birthday gift last year, who is placid and does a very good job of looking after his girls, all 16 of them.

In order to keep the family line clean (no inbreeding), we have to be careful not to incubate eggs that have come from the Rooster’s children. How you ask? We put a coloured ring on their legs. When it’s warm enough to start incubating, we will separate the Rooster from his children. Sounds easy enough however I will let you know in October if the plan has been a successful one.

Here’s a fun fact about chickens. There is a question I get asked often and it’s a good one if you have never been exposed to the world of poultry. Do chickens lay eggs if you don’t have a rooster? The answer is yes and that’s a good thing. A lot of local councils (Cooma being one of them) will not permit the keeping of a Rooster in a suburban backyard due to the noise.

Do you have chickens? How much do you enjoy the antics? How much do enjoy fresh eggs?

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