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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2015 12:20 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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Joined: Fri Aug 08, 2008 9:31 pm
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Location: Canberra
Well, Autumn alas wasn't very kind to our flocks. With all the rain we had a rash of cocci and I have started adding coccidistat to the waterers prophylactically whenever we have more than a day of rain. I use unmedicated chick feed because I feed it to the quails as well. I just have to be on the ball. We lost a white pullet and a wheaten pullet to it, and one of the lavender wheaten pullets died of something else unidentified. We're also down two quail hens; the wry-necked one went downhill slowly and one of the others had a big growth on her foot and one near her eye that eventually obstructed her vision, so she was put down. :(

On the up side the main flocks are pretty healthy. I am selling off the lavender wheaten pullets that don't have the lavender in the hackle, and keeping the ones that do. That leaves Flash with six hens/pullets (plus dear old Forest of course) for next breeding season. Don't ask me which is which though as they're very hard to tell apart now. I guess that means that my colour consistency is good!

Red Rooster has nine girls in his flock at the moment and I am debating selling a couple once I see how the youngest grow out.. Goldie, Crumble and Cobbler are still going strong, and have been joined by Pie who was one of my wedding-present-chooks, and is a lovely wheaten hen who could be sister to the other two. She is now regrowing her feathers following a rather spectacular explosive moult, poor thing. You don't realise how little of these birds is actually bird, and how much is fluff, until they don't have the fluff! Pumpkin the cream wheaten has settled in well, she's about the same age too so they're a big possy of middle-aged girls now, all big, fluffy and bossy. This is the core flock and none of these will be sold.

The birds under question are Wendy and Apricot Tart, two Buff x Wheatens who are Goldie's daughters, and the two youngest pullets, a Clay Wheaten called Terracotta and a pullet who started feathering wheaten and then turned white, dubbed Sour Cream because she bites. I live in hope that a) she will grow out of the biting and b) she will develop a ginger hackle and turn into a cream wheaten. She has ginger eyebrows, so I am waiting for her adult moult. Wendy and Apricot Tart I would have sold, except that they are spectacularly fluffy girls with great Pekin shape, and a 50% chance of having wheaten offspring with Red. Although Mr Murphy seemed to be tipping the odds last season as I had buffs coming out of my ears and only two wheaten pullets. Plenty of wheaten cockerels mind you!

So I am close to sorting out the breeding flocks for next season, which I am looking forward to!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 09, 2016 7:18 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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Location: Canberra
Wow, seven months since I've posted. That's kind of crazy.

It's been a really odd season so far. With the fluctuating temperatures the chook fertility was zero all through spring, despite them laying like the clappers. The fertility came on with the start of summer but I only got two batches of chicks hatched before everyone went broody! There's one more lot in the incubator now, and then I have to hope that those who have been de-brooded decide to start laying again.

The Quail situation has been quite the reverse. We had a horrific winter with all the hens but one dying of various creative things (or in one case, of nothing obvious at all, just dropped dead) which left us with the handsome Bruce, the tibetan jumbo from Sydney, and a hen called slim, who is a yellow daughter of the previous cock, Old Yellow.

The two are completely unrelated and that has done wonderful things for our fertility. We have been up to the eyeballs in quail. Now we are deep in quail eggs. Bruce has six hens, his son Lucky (eleven cocks, wanted to keep one) also has six hens. Each hen lays an egg a day. I have also sold lots of hens and a few cocks, and we have quite a lot of fat little quail in the freezer. Mr Shairlyn is very partial to them. The birds seem to be very happy and healthy, and quite calm, being hand reared. There is even one hen in Bruce's pen known as Patting Quail because when you open the door she will come up to you for a pat. Bruce was pattable but he went a bit feral after discovering his purpose in life.

The lavender wheatens are doing well, I have three hens and three pullets as well as the indubitable Flash. There are quite a few chicks feathering out lavender wheaten so I will hopefully have some girls to sell as well as the boys. The boys are disgustingly pretty but come with the usual noise problems.

The wheaten side hasn't fared so well. Goldie passed away, at probably six years of age. I thought that she might be egg-bound as I could feel a lump in her abdomen, and for the first time I did an autopsy (as opposed to processing birds intended for the table). The lump proved to be a tumour, and I can only assume that she had others. It was sad as she was a lovely old chook and a great mum. A couple of months later Wendy passes away. She was sick as a pullet and never really pulled through properly, despite my trying everything. Failure to thrive I guess. They're survived by Apricot Tart who is Goldie's daughter and Wendy's sister, and mother of most of the wheaten-side chicks from the look of things, as there are a lot of buffs again. :roll:

Pie also passed away unexpectedly. She was always a heavy and slightly fat chook, though she lost weight after I got her; being chased around by a randy rooster will do that. She was a lovely bird and a very fine wheaten, as well as unrelated to the rest of my lot, so I had high hopes for her. Now both Crumble (cranky-bum ribbon winner) and Red Rooster himself are unwell, so the wheaten generally haven't had a good season, despite previously being very robust. I am nursing both of them along and treating them for everything I can think of, so I hold out hope for them. Crumble actually seems slightly better, Red unchanged.

The two young pullets from the end of last season, Terracotta and Sour Cream, are proving very interesting. Terracotta is very petite and a dark clay wheaten, but she's proving to be an excellent mother. She's got nine chicks about two weeks old and is taking excellent care of them. She's a vicious broody though!

Sour Cream is an intriguing little conundrum. She is the chick who started feathering wheaten and then turned white with ginger eyebrows. She's now grown out and has a white neck, white tail, and a dusting of ginger on her body. It's not really the classic wheat colour, more like very fine ginger speckling over a white base. Very odd. The closest thing to her looks is a Silver Wheaten, but I don't have Silver in my line. So I'm not quite sure what to make of her. Also a silver wheaten should still have black (or blue) in her tail and flights and she doesn't. That could change with the next moult of course. The other bird that bears some vague resemblance to her colouring is the Yokohama. I'm tempted to see whether I can find her a boyfriend with mahogany and then select a so to breed back to her. No room though. I shall have to take a picture of her.

And then there's Pumpkin the Cream Wheaten and Forest the old black hen, who just keep on keeping on. Lovely birds. :)

The first chicken chicks to hatch this season were a set of six (there have been uncountable numbers of quail chicks) and they are now about six weeks old. Three of them are feathering up lavender wheaten, with the details of their patterning yet to be determined. The other three are buff, or more accurately buff x wheaten. One of them actually has a lovely blue columbian necklace, but unfortunately is a large and bolshy boy. We'll see what he looks like when he gets a bit older.

Terracotta's nine chicks look to be a mixture of lavender and wheaten, with a couple of sneaky recessive whites in there. If poor old Red Rooster doesn't pull through his current illness I am going to hunt down a good, unrelated wheaten rooster. My flock is a little too inbred and throws all kinds of weird stuff.

There are fifteen more chicken eggs in one incubator, due to hatch on the 18th. The other is full of quail eggs. There are going to be lots of quail. Again.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 19, 2016 1:22 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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Location: Canberra
For those who are interested, I have started a thread for discussing the mystery of Sour Cream's colouring: viewtopic.php?f=23&t=8037958

This is her, with her confusing colouring:
ImageImageImage

Interestingly, one of Terracotta's nine chicks is looking to feather up the same colour! I will be intrigued to see what colour it ends up and whether it's a boy or a girl.

Crumble is looking much better. She's still very thin but she's much more lively now and even had a biff through the wire with one of my lavender wheaten girls. Red Rooster is about the same. He spends a lot of time sitting down and doesn't want to get out of bed in the morning. He is eating though and he is pooping normally where previously he had the runs so badly that I had to bath him despite his having a sanitary trim. I am still holding out hope for his recovery.

We candled again at two weeks and ended up with eight fertile eggs running to hatch. Five of those have popped and are now under a very broody Lavender Wheaten pullet who is doing an excellent job. Inspecting the remaining eggs with a torch, two look to have died a couple of days ago, and one has breached the air sack. I could hear it cheeping. Hopefully it will have pipped by this evening.

I set them to hatch on my birthday, which was yesterday, and most of them did! I got a big surprise however when the early bird hatched on Friday! The broody has been very good, accepting the chicks one at a time even though there's a few days age difference between them. She is keeping the younger ones warm whilst they get their act together, and the older ones are running laps around her and diving in and out of her feathers. Food and water are close so she doesn't need to move if she doesn't want to, and it's warm outside anyway.

The Quailsplosion is likely to start any time from now. There are forty-odd fertile eggs in the incubator.

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PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 5:03 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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Crumble and Red Rooster both passed away. Both seemed to have some sort of wasting illness. Red went quickly but I nursed Crumble for a couple of weeks, hand feeding her. It didn't change the outcome. And then Cobbler died of the same thing a couple of months later. So that's the last of that generation gone. :(

The lavender buff columbians are all doing well. There are now eight hens and pullets and I have until spring to work out which ones I want to sell. I also have three lavender wheaten pullets who have solid cream bodies without the lavender hackle, and I need to decide what I want to do with them. I'd like to introduce some outside blood as I'm having problems with the lavender-related dodgy feathers, a result of an allele of the k gene which produces poor feather development, and is closely associated with the lavender gene. Unfortunately the only other people who breed this colour seem to be in Queensland, so I am trying to work out what options I have to bring in outside genetics. A coronation hen put to Flash might also be an option.

The wheaten pen is a real dog's breakfast. There are no good wheaten hens left. Pumpkin is almost a cream wheaten, and she's the best coloured. Tart is a buff x wheaten, although her body colour is so pale now that she actually looks a lot like a cream wheaten. There is a pullet of the same colour that I'm going to grow out.

Sour Cream has exploded and shrunk, and I'm waiting for her feathers to grow back. The young bird like her is a pullet, currently white and just starting to get the gingery body flecking. The best guess on this colour is a Splash Wheaten, as apparently splash does funny things to some other colours, and there definitely was blue in the flock. Terracotta the clay wheaten is still going strong, having raised a batch of chicks, unfortunately her colour is dark and her shape not good but she's a fiesty little thing.

And there's a buff mottle pullet called Dottie, because my flocks throw crazy stuff. I've kept her, and both Tart and the unnamed buff x wheaten should also be carrying mottle.

I'd love to get a good quality wheaten cock and try to breed back to some good colours, but I haven't been able to get my hands on one. So in the meantime, and because of the buff mottle pullet, I've kept a cockerel of mine who is a pullet-breeding wheaten, with mottle. I'm thinking I might be able to produce some more buff mottles. And who knows what else?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:26 am 
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Junior Champion Bird
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So sad you lost Crumble & Red, but at least the Lav Wheatens look good.
I would let Flash be a dad - he's beautiful!

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:49 am 
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Deluxe Drake
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Thanks Bronze! Flash is already a dad, he is the rooster of the lavender wheaten/buff columbian flock. He is a father of many. Unfortunately he has the dodgy feather gene, so I'm thinking long term about who might replace him.

It's been a very poor season for hatching chickens unfortunately. We only hatched four clutches and they all had low fertility, though the birds that did hatch look good. On the flip side, it's been a bumper year for quail, we've hatched stupid quantities of Japanese Quail. We now have thirteen hens and two cocks, and have sold hens and cocks and eaten the remaining cocks, which are fat and tasty. Mr Shairlyn loves crispy-friend quail.

It was actually quite a shock a couple of weeks ago when we processed our first cockerels of the season; normally we would have done several by then but we realised it had been all quail this year!

I do have some very exciting news. We have purchased ten acres outside of Canberra! There is a 'garage' on it at the moment which is actually a studio, and we're using that as a holiday property until we can afford to build on it and move out there. So yay for the pending country lifestyle!

And of course, we all know that more space means more chook pens; right? ;)

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 12:31 pm 
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Shairlyn, so sorry to hear of your recent loss. I could organise some Pekin Partridge fertile eggs for you if you want to throw that into the mix :) :globe

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:55 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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congrats on your purchase shairlyn. Which part of "outside Canberra'"?


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 4:58 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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Thanks Sue! We're in the Burra valley. 40 mins from Civic, which is nice. How about you?

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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 8:28 pm 
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Old Mother Goose
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We're in Wamboin (rain shadow) Burra gets more rain, lovely area, great open gardens.


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2016 11:50 pm 
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Junior Champion Bird
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Weekender in the Country - So great
Living on 10 acres - Even better!

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 9:53 am 
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And the opportunity to plan pens from scratch - with the benefit of hindsight and lots of free advice (better than helping to plan a wedding) :yess :nuts :yess :nuts :yess


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 28, 2016 10:21 am 
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Deluxe Drake
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Yep, we're really excited about it, although I think that Mr Shairlyn is more excited about building our own house, whilst I'm more focused on the prospect of giant veggie beds, fruit trees, and chook pens. :)

Smallflock, thanks for the offer of eggs, I really appreciate it. I'll say no though because I don't run any colour that's based on Partridge and I've got enough weird colours sporting to keep me occupied for a while!

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 05, 2016 3:55 pm 
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Deluxe Drake
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Well, busy busy busy. Time flies when you have things to do!

We've decided to move sooner rather than later and are currently working on getting the weekender suitable to live in permanently. We'll then move out to the property, sell the current house and use that money to build the new on on the farm. Very exciting!

I have absolutely no idea how we're going to wrangle the logistics of moving the poultry. That one's going to be interesting. We may need to build some more pens out there to act as holding pens so that we can empty the ones at home, a couple at a time, and then deconstruct and move them. Which would mean at the end of the process I'd have a couple of extra pens, which is not something to be sniffed at!

Goodness knows I could generate enough projects to fill them. I have a lovely little mottled buff hen as a sport, and I'd love to get her a good buff boyfriend and breed buff mottle babies with her. I've also just got some posted eggs in to broaden the genetics of my lavender buff columbians, which were a mixed dozen and a very handsome cuckoo lad has also resulted. So tempting.

And we're now up to two large breeding flocks of Japanese Quail.

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