Monday, July 20, 2009

Waiting to see the chickens

On Saturday Larry picked up our first 25 layer hens! They are a batch of 16 weeks old Golden Comet pullets. Vivian reported that they were in the pen "squawking and everything." The latest update is that she already has found an egg! It makes me want to drive over to see our birds! These ladies will be providing our winter eggs and hopefully some extra for sale.The

The Golden Comet is a hybrid red, sex-linked, brown egg layer. The red refers to the color of the adult female. Sex-linked means that the cross between two pure breeds produces an offspring whose color is genetically linked to color. This eliminates much trouble in separating day old hens from cockerels.

In the future we hope to breed our own sex linked layers. In preparation we have ordered to two parent stock breeds-female Barred Rocks and male Rhode Island Reds. These will produce a black sex link, brown egg layer. Interestingly, it matters which parent breed is male and female. The reason to breed a hybrid rather than two pure breeds is that they display a trait known as hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor is a phenomenon whereby the offspring of a cross between two pure breeds exhibits greater health, size, and overall vigor than either parent. In our case that means more eggs. The disadvantage of hybrids is that they will not breed true. There is no second generation of Golden Comets. One has to continue to breed the two parent breeds.

It is fun to know that we officially have animals! I only have to wait out about 6 more weeks until I get to start working with them.

(the photograph is not ours, although it is a Golden Comet)

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