Maria could be a Manuel

Hi there keepers, the more I look at Maria, our Minorca ‘hen’, the more I think she looks like a rooster, however I’ve not had this breed before and so it’s hard to tell, others have commented on her sexuality before from a photo I posted.

She has got rather long in the leg and doesn’t seem to have much weight about her, and they are a heavy bird, yet she is still young, so it could just be that she hasn’t put the weight on yet, she/he does tend to frame up alot to the other chicks, but then runs a mile if the bigger girls come any where near, not to mention the very entertaining butterfly incident, scared of a butterfly, not roosters surely.

The breeder reakoned it was a she, and she has been breeding for many many years so I guess she knows, also she did say if any turned out to be roosters she would happily swap it for a hen, which is nice of her, but what just dawned on me yesterday, is that if Maria is a Manuel, and we have to take it back, that means getting a new bird, which won’t be freinds with any of the birds, at least the 3 new ones have each other for company and protection from the shavers, but it will be a nightmare trying to introduce another new bird to the flock.

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Chicks Out

Hi there, yesterday we allowed the chicks out for a proper free range in the garden, they have been in the run before now, but never just let roam free in the garden, so ofcourse this was a bit scary for them, also mixed with excitment Í think because they reminded me of a bunch of school kids in Hamley’s toy shop,  ‘  and look what they have over here, wow,  oh oh look at this’  running around not stopping anywhere for more than a second, too many things to explore.

The entertainment value for us was great , but the highlight had to be when Maria the biggest of the chicks, she is probably as big as the shavers now, got frightened of a Monarch butterfly flying overhead, I know they are larger than some, but really, she hopped and skipped, ran, tried to fly away, ducked down as the buttterfly swooped overhead.

I keep saying she, as we are hoping that she is a she and not a he, as we’re not allowed roosters, however her comb is very large as is her tail and to top it off she has on occasion framed up to the bigger girls through the fence, time will tell. After loooking at pics of black Minorcan’s, the females do tend to have bigger features than some other breeds, fingers crossed.

Minorca hen

Minorca hen

Welcome One and All

dsc01819Hi there, and welcome to The Chicken Keeper, my name is Rob and this blog is devoted to the keeping of chickens, and the trials and tribulations that go with it.

We started keeping chickens in September 2008, the list of poultry we have at present,  one Minorca, and four Wyandotte Golden Laced .  At present we live on a 1/4 of an acre with a creek running through the back, in Waitakere City, which is part of the greater Auckland area in the North Island of New Zealand, although I’m originally  London/Irish from Hackney, and the other half  is from Waterford, in Ireland.  We are just keeping enough hens to provide eggs for the family, we also grow some herbs and vegetables.  I’ve built the coop and run from recycled materials, see DIY corner for more details.

Comments are very welcome, I hope you enjoy the site and maybe find some of it useful.             If reading is not for you then check out the pics in the Secret Layer ^.

Putting the new birds in the Run

Hi there reader,

Maria

Maria

Today I thought I would give Maria, our Minorca hen, a run with the big girls, as she is nearly the same size as them now, well feathers  wise, her body doesn’t have much weight about it at the moment, she will grow to be quite a bit larger than the shavers, so we’re hoping she’ll be able to cope with the aggressive nature of the shaver.

She didn’t cope to well today though, in hindsight it was a bad idea, as her first experience with the shavers has been, well , not ideal, as in they chased her around the run until they had her in a corner, then stood there looking menacing, frightening the poor wits out of Maria. She stood her ground with beak ajar in that defensive posture, but didn’t move for 5mins, so I thought it best to remove her back to the brooder.

Ofcourse the other angle which slipped my mind in my eagerness to mixed the birds in together, is that if Maria should pick up any little illness from the big girls, and then I put her back into the brooder with the young ones, she could past it on to them. As they are still very young their immune system isn’t quite ready for battle yet. Hopefully no damage done.

New Arrivals

Maria, Betty and Dorothy.

Maria, Betty and Dorothy.

Hello reader, i’m very excited, we have increased the number of varieties we have by 300%, that sounds like alot when you put it that way, but basically what we did, was go and buy 3 new chicks, all of different breeds, as we only had the one breed to begin with, (the brown shaver), it’s quadrupled our breeds instantly.

The new varieties are, Black Minorca, Light Sussex( sounds like a brigade of calvalry), and a Wyandotte Gold Lace, the Minorca is quite a large bird, and the chick is a few weeks old, and the two younger ones have adopted her as their surrogate mother. The Black Minorca is a fine bird, she has black/ blue eyes that look quiet demonic, the devils’ own hen. The breeder from whom we purchased the chicks, had so many breeds, with some amazing specimens, she is a member of the Auckland Poultry Society, and enters lots of shows.

Also, much to the delight of t.o.h., this poultry breeder also breeds pigs, and there was a litter of piglets running around in the neighbouring sty, that will be the next addition i feel to the urban farm, fortunately they were all pre-sold.