Our backyard flock had some new additions this week! I’d been telling my husband I was having chicken withdrawal symptoms and needed to buy new birds. 🙂 It’s so addicting! So many kinds, just not enough space! Last April we got our first birds at a poultry swap. We ended up getting about 15 birds total originally between the swap, Craigslist, and Tractor Supply. However, we sold some and experienced some losses as well. We also bought a few more birds. But now we were down to five birds total, having even given away our beautiful Polish rooster. He had become overly aggressive and was attacking us, and terrorizing my youngest children.
Anyway, I’ve kinda been checking any and all places I could think of online for new chickens. So that’s how we ended up with these gorgeous—guinea keets.
Um, ok, so gorgeous might be an exaggeration by some people’s standards. Unless you are just looking at the feathers. However, my five year old daughter said they were cute, so there. 🙂 They were definitely my idea. My husband was still saying he wasn’t sure about it on the way home with them in the back of the van! Guinea keets are known for being able to raise some seriously noisey racket. One of the reasons I proposed getting them was for their supposed watchdog ability. (And because I possibly have an animal collecting problem.)
We have lost a number of chickens to predators. Maybe the guineas will be able to alert them in advance and/or raise some noise to get our attention too. They also have a reputation to be good for getting rid of bugs, particularly ticks. These two are a male/female pair. Which isn’t so easy to tell them apart. The key difference being in the sounds they make from the research I did online. While we were there to pick them out, the owner nicely fed them so we could catch them. But then they were eating and not making any sounds! So we went with her husband’s advice and started checking the size of their wattles. The female’s are smaller.
These two are very skittish, so we may keep them locked up for awhile before letting them free-range with the chickens. Maybe we will even get guinea babies later this year!
I also found myself some baby chicks on a local Facebook farmer’s exchange page. My husband agreed to me getting them. He’s either giving up to the inevitable, or I’m pretty certain he likes the animals too. He even may be building me another coop. I bought six chicks total, two of each kind. I’m trying out some new breeds. These chicks are Welsummer, Silver-laced Wyandottes, and Delaware. The Welsummer I’ve been interested in getting for awhile. Here’s a pic of them under a heat lamp for warmth. They are two weeks old, and supposed to all be girls. Don’t you want some?
The Welsummer’s are supposed to lay a dark speckled egg, comparable to the Black Copper Maran. Here’s what a baby Welsummer looks like.
The Silver-laced Wyandottes are a breed I just became aware of and interested in recently from my online browsing of birds for sale. They are black with a pretty white-lacey pattern on their feathers. They are supposed to lay large brown eggs, according to various sources. This is one of the chicks.
The Delaware chicks were kind of a last minute decision. I had originally intended to get Black Marans from the seller, but then he told me one of them had Angel wing, which when I looked up is a potentially genetic abnormality. So my husband and I talked it over and decided to try the Delaware instead. I wasn’t really attracted to the adult bird’s looks, but the fact that they can lay jumbo eggs appealed to me. We are thinking it would be nice to get better producing layer breeds, since we sell some eggs to co-workers. The babies are little yellow chicks.
Right now we are keeping the chicks in the shed where we can keep them warm under a heat lamp. We may get/build a small coop or hutch to put them into in a few weeks. I can’t put them into the regular coop too soon. For one thing, my adult birds will be mean to them. We are also talking about building a nicer/bigger coop since my husband has agreed to feed my addiction. 🙂 It’s the chicken math, people. Do you really think I won’t still go to the poultry swap?
But of course I can’t let my big girls be left out of the limelight. I still have my two Red-sex links. They are my best egg layers. I also have the Black Maran, an Easter-egger, and a Cochin/Orphington cross (I think).
I think we will eventually be getting a rooster again. Hopefully one who is non-aggressive, and fairly good egg-laying genes too. Any breed recommendations? A Welsummer or Maran is what I had been considering, although a true Ameracauna is tempting. Guess I’ll keep my eyes open and looking online.
It will be interesting to see how our new chicks turn out, and the kinds of eggs they produce. I will probably have to wait at least until July to see eggs from these babies though. Let me know in the comments any chicken breed recommendations you might have!