We headed to town today for a couple appointments. I sold all of our chicks from this weeks hatch (less the ones we chose to keep), and Beagan went off to his new home today.
We checked out the options for pre-made chicken coops and went with the one we were looking at yesterday. They did have the cheaper one in stock but Tony thinks this slightly more expensive one is a better design.
Here we have our newly assembled Precision Hen House II.
Now we have to wait 21 days (tomorrow is day 1) to make sure the eggs the hens are laying are from Doodle and not from Sherlock. That means as of June 10 we will have purebred French Black Copper Marans hatching eggs available in very limited quantity (up to two per day). Any eggs not sold within one week of being laid will be put in the incubator to hatch out purebred FBCM chicks!
If I can manage to pay off the investment in the coop within a reasonable time frame, we can consider getting another coop or building another one and separating out another set of birds to start offering more purebred hatching eggs and chicks.
I got shipping confirmation from the company I bought the heat plate from. It shipped today and should be here soon. Well ahead of the arrival date for the hatchery chicks.
The other day I got shipping confirmation from a company I bought plants from last year. At first I was confused but then I figured it out. Last year we bought plants from two or three different companies that sent us junk. Sticks with no roots, roots that never grew any green (just rotted in the ground), and a couple rooted cuttings that were not dormant but flat out dead. We had 100% failure on everything we ordered from a catalog last year except Baker Creek. One company sent me an email with a gift certificate for the cost of the order (which I had trouble using and ended up buying the same items to replace the ones I asked them to just replace anyway). The other company had a bunch of hoops to jump through - write a letter, send the original mailing label, etc. Then I never heard back from them. Well, apparently they got my complaint and label (which was never confirmed), and have sent off the replacement order. I'm crossing my fingers that they actually send me real live plants this time. I was so disappointed last year. They're supposed to be sending me a dwarf north star cherry tree, a weeping willow tree, two dwarf American hazelnut bushes, and 25 strawberry plants. I spent so much time and effort planting each of these things last year - preparing the area, planting each, and then carefully landscaping around them with mulch (and landscape cloth for the trees). Now I have to go back, dig it all up, and re-do it all again. What a waste of effort for twigs that never grew and roots that rotted in the expensive raised bed I built for the strawberries. I'm happy they're replacing the stuff, but I'm not very hopeful for any different results this year.
While catching the second marans hen, #3 found a Columbian Wyandotte hen up in the loft of the barn, hunkered down on an egg. The hen had been out and about during the day so I figured she's not actually broody. We took the egg inside and just out of curiosity, I candled it. Yup, sure enough, veins and a little spot bumping around in there. I'm going to guess it's around 3-4 days in, so I added it to the incubator. This little one should hatch with the 5/5 eggs. I have labeled it as a Columbian Wyandotte cross.
While wrangling the marans' into the new coop, we caught this hen... She's marked like a Black Copper Marans, but her legs are yellow and have no feathers. Her comb is mostly flat with just a single longer piece at the top. I tried looking at photos of the birds from Cackle Hatchery (where we got her from in a surprise box last year), and I can't figure out what she is. I thought maybe a Black Sex Link, but all the photos I found of them have dark legs. Can anyone identify this pretty lady? She's mostly black, bright yellow featherless legs, and brown around her neck, fading into her shoulders and breast.
On Sunday (Easter) I want to do mostly brown eggs (the majority of our flock lays brown eggs). This should give us a better chance at getting more colorful chicks.
We will be coloring eggs tomorrow for Easter. What fun!
While out and about today I picked up four new plants - Pixwell Pink Gooseberry, Blue Crop Blueberry, Hinnomaki Red Gooseberry, and Niagara Grape.