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Friday, August 19, 2011


HELLO & Welcome to Garden Daddy here at the urban farm! As I said in the title...I KNOW, I KNOW...I have just this morning ordered MORE chicks from IDEAL POULTRY in Texas, set to hatch on August 31 and arrive here at the urban farm on Friday morning, September 2nd. But guess what? My little Buff Orpington hen is still faithfully sitting on her little clutch of 8 fertile Cuckoo Marans eggs and her 2-golf balls and they are due to hatch either late on September 2nd or early on Saturday, September 3. If they hatch on Friday afternoon I will give her the new chicks I have ordered or hold them under some heat until Saturday after her hatch is complete and then slip them in as well. And remember, I am not keeping any of those 8 chicks she is trying to hatch..."not counting my chicks before they hatch" by any means!
What I decided to do is go ahead and order 6-Black Sex Link pullets and 6-Rhode Island Red pullets, again due to hatch on August 31st. That way, when the Welsummer pullets are really laying over the winter and into spring, these new fall chicks will just be starting to lay in January or so 2012. I plan to move the 3-Cuckoo Marans hens I currently have off to the West TN Poultry Club sale on Saturday, August 27th @ TSC here in Jackson and make at least some room for getting these chicks in later on. If they do not sell I might just put them in the freezer! They lay a very nice large dark brown egg, really about the color of milk chocolate or a lighter brown with dark spots on them, either of which is really pretty but their laying to feed ratio is really terrible.
Why you ask have I done this? After thinking I would get some meat birds all along and after talking with some family and neighbors, and after getting no good response to anyone going in on halves with me on around 25 chicks to brood off for freezing, I decided to add more efficient layers to the mix and just stick with eggs till spring. I will order some meat birds, as many or few as I want, from my local feed store that has been so helpful with this urban farm obtaining all its' birds.
I would like to explain to those novice keepers out there exactly what a "sex link" chicken is. I will use these Black Sex Link chickens as an example here: You take a Barred Rock hen and cross it with a Rhode Island Red rooster and you ONLY GET these Black Sex Links. But the best part about these crosses, whether they be Black, Red or White crosses, the males and females are distinguishable at hatch. The Black Sex Links are all black but ONLY THE MALES have a white spot on the top of their heads, otherwise both males and females are all black. When the Black Sex Links grow to maturity, the females are black with SOME red on the hackles (feathers around the neck) and the males take on the appearance of the original Barred Rock hen with lighter colored hackles. But if you breed these hybrids you will NOT get another sex link offspring. They will revert to some kind of other cross or back to the original, more or less.
These Black Sex Link pullets are very vigorous and rugged brown egg layers and are often the layer of choice for commercial production. They do well in confinement as well as free range and are a dual purpose bird, in that once egg production is over for them, they can be harvested for meat. I have added below a link from YOUTUBE that was loaded from CACKLE HATCHERY with information about this Black Sex Link bird for your convenience:! In this video, you will notice what I mentioned about telling the males, or roosters, from the pullets, or hens, by the males having the white or yellowish spot on top of their head.
That will give this urban farm a total of 6-Welsummers, 6-Rhode Island Reds, 6-Black Sex Links, 2-Standard Cochins, 1-Blue Wheaten Ameraucana & of course, Dorothy, the pet Buff Orpington setting mother hen.
So, I leave you today not only on day 8 of "hatch watch" but also on chick delivery count down with our ongoing urban farming affirmation in mind: "URBAN FARMING: ONE EGG (really 8-fertile eggs & 2-golf balls) AT A TIME!"

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