Tag Archives: Golden Cuckoo Marans

Summertime and the livin’s easy?

It was a long hot summer here in Vegas. Back in June I took an excursion to Reno to meet my Granddaughter

Avery

Avery

and come back to find a fried Pluot Tree and my favorite Golden Cockoo Marans rooster keeled over. Friday morning everything was dandy, when I got back Sunday POOF! It got to 117 degrees that Saturday and just knocked the bejeezus straight outta that tree and roo.

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble?

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble?

The ferment buckets really got going strong by August. 24 hours and there would be a good strong ferment going on, by September the amount of hooch being produced was remarkable. Ferment2

It got to where every Saturday I would empty all of the hooch out of one of the two ferment buckets and they both still stayed nice and sour. All of that Lacto-Baccilus inoculated highly acidic fluid went straight into my greywater collection tank to be distributed throughout the orchard. One bucketful did go into the latest compost pile and boy did it heat up fast!  Glop

 

Ferment4

This lovely looking Glop had collected in the bottom of the buckets, it is very viscous sorta like a sourdough sponge, Mother? I win sure. The chickens gobbled it up though.

 

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2013′s First Chicks

3 weeks ago I set 6 eggs in the incubator, they r second row up from the bottom in the picture below.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

Two dozen eggs in the incubator.

They started hatching last night and as of now I have 5 cute little fluffy-butts.

Newbs

Newbs

The 5 newest members of The Fruity Chicken flock

The 5 newest members of The Fruity Chicken flock

One egg still hasn’t pipped but I’ll give it a couple more days just to be sure. So far it appears that I have two Golden Cuckoo Marans (the light colored ones) one Black Copper Marans (on the left in the upper picture) one F1 Olive Egger (came out of the one green egg) and a mutt (BCM daddy and Red Sex Link momma).

These next 6 are due Friday

These next 6 are due Friday

Pictured above are the next batch of eggs that went in the hatcher tonite and should Friday. From left to right is a Golden Cuckoo Marans, then Two Easter Egger X BCM crosses (should yield F1 Olive Eggers). Bottom row is Olive Egger X BCM( should yield F2 Olive Egger) on either end with another EE x BCM in the middle.

That leaves the outer two rows in the incubator that go into the hatcher on Sunday. Maybe next week my sweety Karen will make a run to Utah to pick up those Cream Legbars and Basque hatching eggs she’s been promising me.

Check out the latest Critter to be caught in the act of egg thievery!

Check out the latest Critter to be caught in the act of egg thievery!

 

It's Lexi!

It’s Lexi!

 

 

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Egg Sucking Bastard

All summer long I was on the hunt for which of my chickens was eatin eggs. In fact I got just a tad obsessive about it here on my blog, first in July with my pie in the sky hopes of “Caught the Bastard” continued with “Update Schmupdate” culminating in a little self examination in “Focus” . Well I’m off my meds and back on the trail of them damn Alien Inspired Evil Egg Eatin Bastards! This time I decided to go high tech and called up my BFF Hoss for advice.

Top of the line Game Cam

Top of the line Game Cam

Isn't Hoss one hell of a handsome fella? That's his Daughter Sidney with her Awesome Buck

Isn’t Hoss one hell of a handsome fella? That’s his Daughter Sidney with her Awesome Buck

Good ole Hoss knew just what was needed, a Moutrie MFH-DGS-D55IRxt is just the ticket he says. For a small consideration he hooked me up and man-o-man what a story that sweet little machine painted! It was a snap to set up and was I ever amazed when I uploaded those pictures.

 

 

 

 

Coop in the Daytime

Coop in the Daytime

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Coming up empty again!

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Dusk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Golden Cuckoo Marans rooster Checkin things out

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So far everything is normal, no eggs, but normal…..Then:

I think I may have found the problem

I think I may have found the problem

Is there anything in there?

Is there anything in there?

 

Could be

Could be

 

Chomp Chomp

Chomp Chomp

 

Oh the Arrogance!

Oh the Arrogance!

So I think maybe technology may have won out again, I had been fooled for months by this evil critter blaming everyone and everything that came to mind. Is this the end of my quest in pursuit of those Damn Alien Inspired Evil Egg Eatin Bastards? Probably not, I’ve thought I had them whupped before but they just came back at me from another direction.

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100% !!!!

This is my second year of incubating eggs. Last year I was using a Little Giant Styrofoam incubator and had gotten to where I was getting about 80% hatch rate. Then events beyond my control (see Chickenshit) led to me getting a Brinsea Incubator and my hatch rates plummeting to less than 50%. In fact my first hatch of the Fall season was a dismal 33% hatch rate.

Eggs

I set these 12 eggs on September 25th

Eggs

These 4 Fluffy Butts were hatched on October 16th

Finally I think things may be coming together between the Brinsea and me.

Eggs

These 6 Eggs were set September 30th

Chicks

These are the first 4 along with 6 that hatched October 21st

Those 6 new Fluffy Butts made for my first 100% hatch rate in my new Incubator. Now all I got to do is figure out what to do with all these Chickens!

 

 

 

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The Fall Hatching Season has Arrived!!

My girls are finally starting to lay at a decent pace again. They are averaging a half dozen a day with some days getting as many as 11! This passed Tuesday, September 25th, I put my first batch of hatching eggs for the fall season in the incubator.

20120930-132249.jpg These eggs came from the juvenile/lockdown pen which is currently occupied by one big Black Copper Marans rooster; 2 Black Copper Marans, 2 Golden Cuckoo Marans, 1 White Cochin, 1 Buff Cochin, 1 Light Brahma, 1 Silver Lakenvelder, and 2 Easter Egger Hens. It’s hard to tell but the top row in the Brinsea tray are all EE eggs, the pic washes the color out a bit but they are definitely all green tinted. In the second row the middle two are definitely BCM eggs, I believe the far right is a GCM and the remaining three are anybody’s guess.

20120930-134450.jpg These six eggs were collected over the last 4 days and were added to the incubator today.

20120930-134656.jpg I’m pretty sure this batch has two BCM’s (3rd & 6th) and four GCM’s. I’m really looking forward to seeing the outcome of the GCM x BCM eggs. Heather on her blog, Scratchcradle, had a very interesting series on chicken genetics and in response to a question I asked on this post Heather speculated that I should get sex-linked chicks. The cockerels should come out with a white white spot on their heads!

20120930-141829.jpg If all goes according to plan I will be putting the first batch in to lockdown October 12th and should have babies by the 16th. Batch 2 will be locking down October 17th and should hatch the 21st. Those dates should work out just right to open up room in the incubator for a batch of Basque hatching eggs I’ve been promised will arrive in mid October!

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Does this look like a Cock to you?

The flock at the FruityChicken has really expanded but my ID skills, whether related to breed or sex, hasn’t improved much. So I am forced to rely on the kindness of strangers.1.  I know this one is a Golden Cuckoo Marans and am pretty sure it is a Pullet

 

2. This one is a Backyard Bastard and has very cute white earlobes and a blue tail

 

3. My Sweety, Karen, got this one down in Escondido. It was listed as a “fancy” pullet.

 

4. Another one of those “fancy” pullets from Escondido

 

5. Ignoring the EE in the middle I think the two black ones are Black Copper Marans pullets

 

6. A closeup of one of the suspected Black Copper Marans pullets.

 

7. This is another Golden Cuckoo Marans that I believe is a Cockerel

 

8. In this group shot I think I have starting at 12 o’clock a BCM pullet, 2 GCM pullets at 1, a White Cochin pullet at 5, GCM roo at 6, and finally a Buff Cochin pullet at the 9 o’clock position.

If there’s any chicken experts reading this please let me know what you think, If your not an expert your comments are welcome also!

P.S. Ain’t I got a pretty bunch of chooks?

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Sweaty Guerrilla

It is back to yuck again today! The monsoon is on its way, humidity over 30% and 116′ at 9:30 am. Yeah I know the weather channel says it’s only 90′ in Vegas, Hooey on that! That’s my shirt after half an hour and my shorts were soaked through (how’s that for a visual?)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The girls are really diggin the fermented feed, especially on those days that I have cooked rice mixed into it. My basic mix is 50% high protein, no corn, whole grain pigeon feed and 50% scratch. When I have it I combine my basic mix 50/50 with cooked rice. After being allowed to ferment overnight the resulting “mash” is fluffed up and not quite as sour smelling as the basic mix is. The sour smell I am talking about is not a bad thing, more like a very strong sourdough starter. Which makes sense because that is basically the goal of fermenting livestock feed, a cooperative effort between yeast and bacteria to partially digest the raw feed and create compounds more digestible to the animals. With or without the rice my chickens absolutely love fermented feed though, as to the claims of firmer less smelly poo? I never really had a problem with that.

Look at all those purdy birds goin after my homemade slop! The one right in the middle along with the 2 on either side are 3 of my 5 Golden Cuckoo Marans, in fact the little white one in the center is a GCM also. Why is she white? I don’t have a clue, but when I get a chance I’m going to ask Heather over on her excellent blog Scratch Cradle. Heather’s series on Chicken Genetics has been not only highly informative but easy to understand and enjoyable to read. Her post on Fermented Feed helped me better understand what I was really doing in those smelly buckets. I don’t think she will be able to explain though why out of 10 Black Copper Marans I have successfully hatched out I only have 1 hen! Anybody around Vegas looking for a nice BCM roo? I can hook you up! Maybe I’ll get lucky and all 5 of my GCM’s will be pullets, yeah I know, wishful thinking.

About a month ago I took some culm cuttings from a clump of Oldham Bamboo and tried to propagate them. My goal is to get enough plants to create a screen for my chicken/orchard area that will not only block the view from the street but also provide afternoon shade. Of the dozen cuttings I potted up only 1 put out shoots ( those two teeny little green wisps coming out of the node) Today I prepared another dozen or so cuttings. After cutting them to the proper size, 2″-3″ above the node and 4″-5″ below the node, they were soaked for 15 minutes in a 5 gallon bucket full of water with B1 and rooting hormone mixed in. Finally they were put in pots with fresh potting soil buried to the point where the node was halfway covered. Hopefully I will get a few more viable plants from this batch.

That covers the Sweaty part of my morning now lets talk about Guerrillas! My greywater system has been working fairly well, though there have been a few problems. The main problem has been one of balance, while I don’t believe this would be an issue for established trees I do believe it cost me several newly planted trees do to saturated soil. My orchard plot has a slight fall from N-S consequently the southern end of the orchard stays wetter. Additionally I have a bit of a valley right down the middle, guess where I lost trees? Yup those in the valley and on the SW corner which is also a low spot. There are a combination of factors that caused this and I believe I have some solutions. But for today I wanted to show my short term fixes.

In the top of this picture is the main 3/4″ distribution pipe for my greywater system, you can just make out where I tapped into it with standard 5/8″ poly line.

This line travels down the center of my orchard and branches out into the sunken beds I have blogged about previously. Traditional flag drippers are used in these beds and now the greyawater is routed to here 5 days a week and only into the orchard mulch beds twice a week. The results have been dramatic.

The Squash, Comfrey, Melons, and Pumpkins in these beds have gone crazy, and the mulch beds in the Orchard have gone from soggy and a bit slimy underneath to pleasantly moist. The earthworms are still working their butts off and the remaining trees are looking very healthy. This revisiting and discussion of grey water was inspired by another Greywater Guerrilla over at Grasshopper Sense. Blog Posts tagged about greywater, grey water, or gray water are few and far between  and it’s encouraging to see someone else starting down the same path you find yourself on.

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A Goodun

Looking back yesterday was a goodun. I don’t particularly like fictitious holidays, it’s one of the things that my sweety Karen and I see eye to eye on. I remember wondering what was expected of me our first valentines day together, Karen removed all doubt by letting it be known that she would kick my butt if she got roses or candy on February 14th. Her position was “You shouldn’t need a special day to prove you Love me”, that reaffirmed what I already knew….This is the girl for me!

We have always done things for each other because we wanted to, not because the calendar said it was time to. Karen always understood that to me Mothers Day and Fathers Day were literal, and I wanted my sons to understand that to. While always being willing to help them do what they wanted for their Mommy, it was them doing it. This philosophy has helped our sons to appreciate the little things instead of being a slave to societies pressure towards more.

Karen loves 6 cheese bagels from Einstein Bagels so I got up early and went and got a dozen, while I say this was for her it was really a little self serving. By getting Bagels I made Karen happy, avoiding going out to breakfast like we usually do on Sundays and was able to get an early start up at the Orchard. My goal at the Orchard was to put in a another 4′x4′ raised bed, modify the greywater drip system, work on my feeding setup, move the 2&3 month old chickens out of the Juvenile pen and move the newest chicks into the Juvenile Pen.

This is my latest modification to my high tech foraging/stimulation table ( really its just 4 old logs with half a sheet of old warped plywood on top). I drilled a 1″ hole in the middle of the plywood then screwed my self feeder bucket down over the hole so that the trigger thingy hung down underneath. I have to admit that I ordered my fancy self feeding trigger off of E-bay for 4 or 5 bucks then paid $7.50 to have it shipped from England. Since then I have read that a teaspoon works just as well. The bucket is kept full of 19% all-purpose pellets. While my fancy Treadle Feeder is kept full of Lay Pellets. Each feeder holds about half a sack of pellets and usually the Treadle Feeder needs to be refilled every 3 weeks and it appears the bucket will need it about every 2 weeks.

The Pullets (I hope) that I booted out of the Juvenile Pen mixed right in with the big girls, in the foreground above you can see my GCM that I hatched out earlier this year. They really go nuts for the rice mixed with fermented scratch that I give them. My newest batch of mutts moved right into the Juvenile pen and booted the quail outta their little hidey-hole. BCM genes must be really strong cause all of these little fluffy butts look just like every BCM I have hatched out but not a one of their mamas is any kind of Marans. Their Daddy is but their mommas are outta that gaggle in the picture above.

Now that I have spent so much time talking about my Chickens I realize I didn’t take any pictures of the other projects from yesterday, I did accomplish all I set out to do and will blog about it when I have pics. Having the guilt free 5 hours to spend puttering with things that I wanted to get done was wonderful, the sunburn on my back from 5 hours spent shirtless in the 113 degree sun not so wonderful! And sorry I don’t have any pics of me shirtless, I’m self conscious since the Dance Network incident.

Obviously my day up to that point had been pretty nice, but towards the end of my time up at The Fruity Chicken my son Thomas came home and we had one of those conversations that make me proud of the boys I’ve raised. It wasn’t the subject in particular but more the fact that he brought up a topic that his older brother Michael and I had been discussing earlier in the week. He had some thought provoking takes on my thoughts and we had a pleasant 30 minute dialogue. The key factor being that not only do my sons listen to what I have say they care enough to think about it and have strong enough character to tell me if they disagree with my point of view. What more can a man ask for out of his sons? This scenario repeated itself later that evening when Michael called to wish me a happy Father’s Day and discuss Thomas and I’s earlier conversation. Truly I am blessed, my three sons Brian, Michael, and Thomas are all three intelligent, hard working, thoughtful young men that even though they may not recognize it are developing strong characters with a social conscience I don’t believe I had at that age.

So Fathers Day 2012; while being just another mass marketing, consumer driven, fictitious holiday was actually a day full of gooduns. Three boys to make a man proud, butt load a tasks done well, an honestly earned sunburn, a drool covered pillow kinda nap, all topped off with a eat enough crab & hushpuppies to make you sick kinda dinner with the woman you love? Yup them are all Gooduns!

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