The cockerels, which are immature roosters, have settled in nicely out at their outdoor abode. I let them out in the yard for the first time on the 11th. I wanted to be sure they were big enough, and that they associated their tractor with home. Being as they are heritage breeds, they don’t grow as fast as those broilers I had last summer, and certainly not remotely as fast as the Cornish Cross supermarket bird. They are 10 and 11 weeks old as of this posting. Within the same breeds (I have two of most of them) I can see the size difference one week still makes. If these had been Cornish Cross hybrids, they’d be already dying of heart failure in the heat, and would have bad, breaking legs by this point. They just grow too fast for their own good, and typically end up slaughtered anywhere from week 6 to week 8 of life.
There are 14 cockerels all told. I’m working on deciding which breed or two I truly want to focus on, because my goal is to breed them up and try to further those specific lines. (I’d still keep a coop for whomever wants to be in that space…)
Feed: MannaPro Organic Grower Crumbles. Plus kitchen scraps (not necessarily organic), dried mealworms, scrambled eggs. Free-range nibblies and grasses and (please, please) ticks. Eat ’em ALL! Lots of water.
Over at the hen house, Idril has gone broody again, as of early last week. I am allowing her six eggs to hatch and rear. Now, this could be way too many chickens for this coop and run (I’m counting them before they hatch….?) if they all survive, but we will cross that bridge later. I do know people in town who are interested in re-starting their own flocks after predator decimation, and that’s a possibility. We will see what develops. (Assuming anything develops. But it’s warm enough out now that if Idril leaves her nest too often, it shouldn’t really affect the eggs much.
Speaking of which, here’s little Chickpea, Yin’s sole fosterling. I’m still working out chicken genetics, but the mother has to be either a buff Orpington or possibly one of the buckeyes. I do know that other clutch members were either going to look like Chickpea or look like the black Australorpes. This chick is too devoid of color to be the result of my Wyandotte roo mating with another silver-laced Wyandotte – I remember what the pure heritage chicks looked like!
She (or he??) is thriving quite well in with the hens and roo in the coop and run. I don’t let her out yet, but the others do go and forage when I am home.
I wrote the above 4-5 days ago – as of two or three, Fimbrethil, another buff Orpington, is also now broody. I’m making them share eggs. Six max from both together, and one of them also gets the ceramic egg…
And now, we come to the vegetative section of this blog!
For some reason, my William’s Pride apple actually bore fruit. All the other mini-apple trees planted in his cohort died the first winter. However, there are elderly apple trees that semi-line the outskirts of my field – possible a good wind blew enough pollen over that this little guy now has three baby apples growing here.
Raised Bed Gardening
Nightshades. Way late in the season, so I had to purchase existing plants with regards to peppers and tomatoes. I picked some with fruits already forming. For the peppers, I’ve three varieties. Having had peppers decimated by wildlife in the past, I’ve decided to surround each plant with Milorganite. No idea if this will keep everything away – but when I tried that Irish Spring soap thing back a decade ago, that was an epic fail. At least, deer should be deterred with the Milorganite… Hopefully more critters. So far, so good.
The tomato is a red cherry tomato variety. I know I can grow the cherries. We’ll start the real things NEXT year!
The only potato I truly enjoy is the Yukon gold, although there are also other good gold varieties. I bought about half of the above, and the other half came from things that went to sprout in my root cellar.
Squash family veggies. Yes, I saved seeds from both my delicata squash, and a pumpkin a neighbor gave me last fall. I’m realizing, seeing what his pumpkin plants are already doing, that they’re gonna have fun taking over their bed! I think in future years those guys won’t be in a bed, but will have their own ground level patch elsewhere.
Watermelon. At a recent farmers’ market, I picked up two watermelon seedlings, each of a different variety. They didn’t have labels on them, so what I get will be what I get. I was subsequently told that watermelon is hard to grow, but we shall see.
Basil seedlings. Yes, I got a combo batch of several types of basil. The row to the far right is tulsi/holy basil, followed by purple basil, followed by Thai… and so forth. One row looks pretty anemic. I am letting them all grow a little bigger, to “microgreen” foodie size, and then I’ll thin quite a few into my salad…
Leafy greens. I can’t find my seeds! SO I just went and ordered more from Baker Creek.
I do hope I find them sometime soon, I had a lot of good things that will have time to grow and produce! But if I don’t… ordering is insurance. The items I ordered are all quick growing greens, or they are hardy into early winter vegetation.