Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Keeping Track

As we started thinking about introducing Emma and her three pullets to the rest of the flock, I started wondering how in the world I was going to be able to tell Emma apart from all of her sister hens. This really bothered me. It didn't bother Jamey. It bothered me because I wanted to know if Emma liked doing the whole setting and hatching chicks thing or if once was enough for her. If one of the hens started setting, I would wonder if it was Emma again.

Then, we have this new hen who is setting (sorry, we still haven't chosen a name for her) and I know I will wonder the same about her once she's back in the mix. What about their chicks? I will want to know whose chicks are whose. I just like to know these things.

Plastic Spiral Poultry Legbands from Cutler's Supply, Inc.

On line I went and came across these poultry leg bands. Problem solved. The other night, Jamey crawled into the chicken tractor and banded Emma and her pullets. Emma's band is red and her pullets' are pink. The other momma hen and her chicks will sport different colors. (The bands are more like bangle bracelets- they are not tight around their legs.)

How glad we were (even Jamey was glad) that we had banded them. Emma had started getting a little nasty toward her offspring. We weren't sure if it was an attempt to toughen them up or if it was her way of saying, "Get me out of this blasted tractor- I've been stuck in here with my kids for two straight months!"


The night we tagged them, we moved them into the roost with the others. Emma and the pullets stayed on the ground that night. The next day, they didn't come out of the roost (or weren't let out) until evening and when they did, the other hens chased the pullets through the fence into our non-chicken yard and were mean to Emma. We let the pullets back into the tractor to grow up a bit more and left Emma to find her place amongst the hens again. Since she has a red band on her leg, we always know where she is, or if she goes missing, can go look for her. Jamey found her the other afternoon quarantined in the roost by herself and felt sorry for her. He let her out into the non-chicken yard to free range for the rest of the day.

The hens found something yummy. See Marv coming up from the top left of the photo? "What are you ladies peckin' at?"

He just had to come see for himself.

So, that's where we are. The pullets are back in the tractor donning pretty pink bracelets. Emma is trying to fit in with the flock under our watchful eyes. Our second broody is still setting on 12 eggs- serious business that it is. Oh, and we may have another hen going broody.

This reproductive bug is catchy around here. Pin It

1 comment:

  1. 12 eggs?!! WOW! Like they say...it must be something in the water!

    ReplyDelete

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