I popped 97 Celadon Quail eggs in the incubator yesterday, and I’m done hatching for quail the season. We will be filling our first orders of hatching eggs by mail in well over a year. I couldn’t be more excited to pack up our first order. We finally have Celadon Quail eggs ready to ship and renewed our NPIP testing last weekend.
It’s been a long, long road to get the farm back on track after losing our birds last fall. I’m incredibly happy with our progress here and with the birds as they grow out.
Our chickens have yet to lay, they are coming up on four months old so have a month or two left to go—especially given the shorter days and cooler temps.
We have decided to scrap the autosexing olive eggers, and will be offering standard olive egger crosses instead, like we have in the past. I found their ability to autosex upon hatch wasn’t as good as all the hype. So instead of Bielefelder x legbar crosses we will have the Lavender Ameraucana x Black Copper Marans olive eggers.
An update on the 55 Flowery Hens
The 55 Flowery Hens will be Legbar crossed this year given the tiny gene pool available in the US, then bred back to SOP next year. We purchased two dozen hatching eggs in early summer in order to provide a secondary line for long term breeding here on the farm, and none hatched. So we only have one line at this time, and I’m just not comfortable with breeding such a small group from an already rare breed that has proven difficult to source quality stock from in the US.
The 55’s and the Legbar both originate from Leghorn breedings, therefore make an excellent match for improving on the genetics without straying too far from the breed in order to cross back to true.
We purchased a 55 Flowery Hen pullet at the beginning of the summer, along with three big fat Bielefelder hens. They live on a second property up the road as a quarantine provision, as I purchased them as adults. They are nearly a year old now and all laying daily for quite some time, in fact, near the summer solstice the Bielefelder hens laid two eggs in a day twice! They are happy, healthy, and will be joining the barn when the weather turns.
A couple weeks ago they were given a roommate—mush to their distain. I brought one of our young Bielefelder roosters up to stay with them. He is nearly the size of the biggest hen, and towers over the 55 girl. They were pretty mean to him at first, but he’s able to eat mealworm treats with them now without be too henpecked.
One one the other Bielefelder cockerels, which was hatched the same day as all the other chickens this spring, is by far the largest bird here on the farm. I have no doubt he will be the largest rooster we have ever kept when he is fully matured in another month or so.
The little bantams are so sweet! I wrote about them in-depth recently so will spare you the gushing this time around. You’re welcome to read my post on them HERE. I caught Oscar mid-blink—kinda creepy!
A naughty Black Ameraucana rooster foiled breeding plans
We were unable to keep a Black Ameraucana rooster as planned, he was a rude dude and went to the stewpot. Hilariously, the only time I have ever wanted roosters to hatch instead of hens, we only got ONE black rooster this year from a dozen eggs we hatched in June.
Unfortunately, there’s no place for rude roosters on our farm. I can’t risk any sneak attacks with my youngest chicken keeper in the barn. All our Ameraucana will be Lavender over Lavender, no splits for 2023.
Chocolate eggs are SO hard to wait for!
Our Marans are just gorgeous. They have finally all lost the white juvenile wingtip feathers this week and an iridescent green and purple sheen is beginning to coat over the solid black. The handsome cocks all have their coppery saddle feathers half-in now. We have four Black Copper Marans roosters all from the same farm, over hens from six farms we picked eggs up from on our ridiculous East Coast hatching egg collection road trip in May.
Yesterday I built higher roosts for the Marans and finished the in-wall gravity feeder system that delivers feed to two stalls through a chute between the studs. It seems to be working well, saves a ton of floorspace, and can’t get pooped in. Well, I’m sure they will still invent a special way to fling a turd in there. I’m currently using square buckets hooked to the wall with drinker cups for water, another great innovation for the new barn. I have installed an anti-perch flap over where it hooks to the wall so they can’t poop on or into that either—or kick shavings into it. Soon it will be time to pull the heated water bases out of storage.