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Hatchery Blog
Listing all posts with label Free Ranging. Show all posts.

  1. Spotlight Breed Of The Week French Guineas
    French Guineas
    Guineas originated from West Africa and were introduced to the United States right before the Civil War era.

    The young hatchlings are a little larger but can look very similar to quail and are known as keets, they are very active and easy to raise.  The day old keets should be kept in a brooder as you would any other birds until about 5-to 6 weeks of age, then at that time they will require very little attention and will take care of themselves by hustling for their food. Once matured the birds are a purplish grey color with small white spots.

    Guineas are considered watchdogs and generally will not attack people but will follow you around the yard at times. However, they are known for their alert behavior and vocal nature they will sound an alarm anytime anything unusual occurs.
    They are known to be effective at warding off hawks, rats, foxes, and snakes with their cry, helping to protect not only themselves but other birds on the farm that are prone to attack by predators.

    Also, as Lyme disease a tick born illness has become more and more prevalent, many farm owners with livestock and family have turned to Guinea fowl to help eradicate the danger. Guineas are especially known to immensely enjoy snapping up ticks out of tall grass where they tend to thrive and pose threats to dogs, children, and livestock nearby.

    Once raised from the young, Guineas will pretty much live wild and roam free, but since they are territorial, they will stay in close proximity to where they have been raised. Guineas also are an excellent bird to harvest for its meat, tasting almost identical to pheasant and their meat is known to be extremely tender and lean. The birds prefer to be free- ranged instead of being cooped up. If the birds must reside in a coop, ensure that each bird has 2 to 3 feet of living space and when fed a high energy, high protein ration similar to broiler feed, they will weigh in excess of 4 pounds at 12 weeks of age. The guinea hens will lay triangular shaped small brown speckled eggs from approximately March through August.

    Guinea Fowl are truly one of the most useful and hardy domesticated land fowl in the country and are a great addition to any flock whether it be small or large.

     French Guineas
    Adult  French Guineas Fowl 
    Day Old Keet
    Egg Color: Small brown speckled
    Production: Approximately 135 eggs /yr
    Weight : Cocks 4.5 lbs
    Hens 4 lbs

    Other Facts: Guinea Fowl eggs are a creamy color with light brown spots. The small end are more pointed than the chicken egg. They have a higher yolk to white ratio than normal chicken eggs. Guinea fowl eggs are smaller than chickens' - the general rule is that 2 guinea fowl eggs equals 1 large chicken egg.

                             We Hatch Guinea Keets March thru May click here to order now!

  2.  Spotlight Breed Of The Week Dark Brahmas
    Dark Brahmas Chickens

    There has been considerable controversy over the origin of the majestic Brahma Breed. It is believed that the Brahma Breed was developed around 1840 in the United States from large birds imported from China and were referred to as the "Shanghai" birds. It also appears clearly that Chittagong fowls were used to a very small degree, which stamped head and comb characteristics onto this breed differentiating it from the Shanghai birds (now known as the Cochin). In 1850 an American businessman sent Queen Victoria of England a much publicize gift of some of his light Brahma chickens. Soon after these birds were in much demand and his stock was the basis for the Dark Brahma variety which was developed in England and later shipped back to America. However, the Dark Brahma was not Recognized by the American Standard of Perfection until 1874.

    Brahmas are one of the largest breeds of chickens. These birds are mellow gentle giants with fluffy feathered legs and feet. They have a warm, medium grey appearance with black hackles shading to silver and white at the head. The Brahma will stand around 30 inches tall. It has a long, deep and wide body. It stands tall giving it a narrow ‘V’ shape when viewed from the side. The roosters weigh in around 12lb and hens around 10lb. They lay a fair amount of light brown eggs and due to their gentle nature make good mothers. Brahmas are very cold-hardy and do well in confinement as well as free-range environments.  

    The Brahmas breed is still considered rare and is in high demand.  The American Livestock Conservancy currently has the Brahma breed status listed as recovering. We only hatch Brahmas February through May and they sell out quickly so place your order early before were sold out! Click here to order now!
    Dark Barahma chickens

    Adult description: Massive bodies, Pea combs, fully feathered shanks and toes. They have a silver penciled plumage pattern with the male’s plumage color very different from the female's plumage. The male head is a silvery white. The web of the hackle feathers is luxurious, greenish black with silvery white narrow lacing. The main tail feather is black with the sickles being a luxurious greenish black. The females head is a silvery gray each feather of the back-breast body, wing bows and thighs should have 3 or more penciling patterns. The body, breast, back and shanks and toe feathers are steel grey with distinct black penciling. The hackle is black slightly penciled with steel grey in laced with silvery white.

    Dark Brahma chicks

    Baby chick description: Pea combs, Brown backs and heads with light gray wing tips, chest, and feathers on legs and toes. Their beak, legs, and toes are yellow.


    Classification Type: Asiatic Class
    Temperament: Friendly, pet-like demeanor adaptable to confinement or free range
    Purpose: Dual purpose eggs laying and meat production
    Broodiness: Exceptionally  make good mothers
    Hardiness:  Cold hardy
    Maturing:  20-22 weeks                              Mating ratio: 8 females to 1 male
    Egg color:  Brown                                       Egg size:   Large
    Rate Of Lay: good                                       Eggs per year: 250-275

    Weight: Hen   9.5 lbs     Rooster:   12+ lbs       
                  Pullet  8 lbs      Cockerel   10 lbs

    Spacing:  Confined at all times at least 10 square feet per bird. Confined at night only at least 4 square feet of space per bird.
    Roost height:  2Ft -4FT

    Life Span: Of the Dark Brahmas, depends on how well they are cared for, and the quality of life that they enjoy. A standard Dark Brahma will generally live for approximately 6-8 years but have been known to reach 10-12 years. However, egg production will decrease every year.
    Varieties:   Black, Buff, and White. More often the white variety is referred to as a Light Brahma chicken.
    Other facts:  Brahmas were first exported from the US to England in December 1852, when George Burnham sent nine "Gray Shanghaes" now known as Light Brahmas to Queen Victoria of England – making sure the gift was much publicized. Prices jumped from $12-15 per pair to $100-150. Burnham’s stock proved of quality and formed the basis for the Dark Brahma variety – which was developed in England and later shipped back to America. 

    We hatch Dark Brahmas February thru May. 

  3.    Stoplight Breed Of The Week Speckled Sussex
     Speckled Sussex Chickens
    The Speckled Sussex chicken It's one of the oldest known breeds that originated in Sussex County, England and there's evidence that the Romans found a similar breed when they invaded England over two thousand years ago. However, the Speckled Sussex breed didn’t reach America until about 1912 and was recognized by the American Poultry Association in 1914.
    The Speckled Sussex bird became a famous table chicken breed because of its pleasantly pleasing flavor, pinkish white skin and their finesse at fattening up. The Speckled Sussex is considered a medium-sized bird in the heavy breeds class. The rooster will dress out between 8-10 pounds on average and hens at about 6-8 pounds. Their main coloring is a deep rich mahogany with cream color speckles and they have innumerable differences in the speckling patterns. With each yearly molt more, speckles appear so they become even more colorful the older they get.

    The Speckled Sussex Breed is one of the best backyard chickens for being adaptable. They are friendly docile birds that are heat and cold tolerant. They do well in confinement and are an exceptional bird for a free-ranging environment. This is due to their speckled coloring which makes them blend in with the background and camouflages them from predators such as coyotes and foxes. They are also great layers of tinted or light brown eggs, and they lay right through the coldest weather. These hens are very likely to set and become broody as soon as the weather warms in the spring and are excellent mothers.
    Speckled Sussex Chikens

     Adult description-Their main color is mahogany with each feather tipped with a small cream speckle and a narrow black bar divides the cream color from the remainder of their feathers. The females main tail feathers are black mottled with brown, and each feather is tipped with a cream color. The males tail feathers are luxurious greenish black and are also tipped with a cream color. Their beaks color is horn while their legs and toes are a pinkish white.
     Speckled Sussex Cicks
    Baby chick description- Chicks are dark brown with 2 light brown streaks lengthwise down there back and have white wing tips, chest, and abdomens. They have a single comb, beaks are a brown color and feet and legs are a pinkish white.
    The Speckled Sussex breed Is very popular with our customers and is always in demand. The  American Livestock Conservancy list the Speckled Sussex breed status as recovering. We only hatch this breed seasonal February through May, and we sell out quickly. So, make sure to place your order early!

    Origin: England                                                              
    Classification Type:  English Class
    Temperament: Calm and curious, adaptable to confinement or free range.
    Purpose: Dual purpose eggs and meat  
    Broodiness: Yes good mothers
    Hardiness:  Very hardy
    Maturing20- 22 weeks                                  Mating ratio: 10 females to 1 male
    Egg color:  Brown                                           Egg size:  Large
    Rate Of Lay: Good                                         Eggs per year: 180 to 240  
    Weight:     Hen    7 lbs                                        Rooster:     9 lbs       
                      Pullet  6 lbs                                        Cockerel    7 lbs
    Spacing:  Confined at all times 10 square feet per bird. Confined at night only at least 4 square feet of space per bird. 
    Roost height:  4Ft - 8FT  
    Life Span:  Of the Speckled Sussex chickens will depend on how well they are cared for, and the quality of life that they enjoy. A standard Speckled Sussex chicken will generally live for approximately 6-8 years but have been known to reach 10-12 years. However, egg production will decrease each year.

    Varieties:  Speckled, Red and Light.
    Other facts:  In England, another variety is recognized, the Brown (a very dark red color). Some breeders have created additional colors, such as Coronation, Buff, White, and Silver.

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