Thursday, August 11, 2011

I Love My Ameraucana Chickens!

A mix, one of the roosters top left, the pure white Ameraucana
is partially hidden bottom left.

The lacey gray top, one of the Ameraucana roosters on the
bottom; the other two are Black Sex Links.
As The Hens are getting older (an aged three years old), egg production is going down and will only continue to decrease.  We've got way more demand for our eggs than we can supply.  We decided it was time to get new chicks this Spring.  We wanted to try some different breeds and were looking for a hardy, brown egg layer.  From the Berg's Hatchery catalogue we chose Black Sex Links hens, a handsome black bird with rusty brown marking around the neck.  I have also been craving the blue egg laying Ameraucana and we order ten, which would come unsexed meaning we could possibly get all roosters.  Not sure why the Ameraucana's can't be sexed at birth, but what the heck!

From the beginning, early in June, the Ameraucana's were a mixed bunch.  There was one golden chick, a couple of dark beige, a couple of dark grey.  The Black Sex Links were almost identical black.  As the chicks have grown, the Blacks are all similar, with small differences in the amount of rusty brown on their necks.  The Ameraucanas are all completely and absolutely different!  They're quite gorgeous, too.  There's a gray lacy one, a cream with rust and black accents, a black with rust accents.  The little golden chick has turned out pure white!  Those that seem to be roosters, with a more pronounced comb (thanks to Linda Boys, my chicken mentor, for info on identifying the roosters), seem to be very fluffy around their heads and necks.  We're pretty sure we have four, maybe five, roosters; the amount of roosters is a bit of a disappointment, but we'll still get some pretty blue eggs!

The Chicks are getting out-and-about now; they are sort of on pasture around the greenhouse, which became their home as they got bigger.  We've been very careful to keep them separate from the other chickens (to avoid fights) and the barn cats and our doggies, until they were big enough to fend for themselves.  Farmer Man has just this week removed the fence between the two flocks, so they now are slowly mixing and becoming accustomed to each other.  The new Chicks will start laying at the end of September or early October and I am so looking forward to my first blue egg!  

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