Tuesday, April 12, 2011


As of September 2011 the pullets are becoming hens and have been merged with the adults.  There are some promising individuals and we are very pleased with health and temperament.

July 31, 2011- Six pullets from 3 hatch dates to add to our flock.

We  have decided that the breed that most suits us is the Australorp.  This breed was originally developed in Australia and is a dual-purpose bird with characteristics suited to tolerance during a Canadian winter.  Obtaining good stock is a priority for us, and a unique opportunity has presented, thanks to Hidden Meadow Farm.

Adelaide on Apr. 30, 2011, at Hidden Meadow Farm, now our first Australorp hen

Darwin, first hour in the coop

I'm thrilled to be involved in a heritage project like this, and hope to develop good layers as well as correct hens with excellent maternal instincts.

April 23, 2011

Darwin the Australorp arrived from Hidden Meadow Farm with superb manners but not knowing how to negotiate a pop door.  I gave him 24 hours to try it on his own, but all he did was peek through and crow pitifully to the nearby hens.  I tried treats and a bright waterer outside to no avail.  Even Chilean grapes did not work.

In an aha! moment I grabbed a hen from the nearby run and placed her strategically.  She seemed quite keen.

So did he.

By then she thought better of it and asked to be confined in her own run.
Astounded at his abilities, Darwin went in and out of the pop door ten or twelve times. 

That's just showing off. (Update- Darwin is now in the bigger coop with a rooster-sized door.)

Finding pullets for a layer flock has proved to be daunting.  We had not wanted to buy straight run, and even that was hard to find.  Everyone seems to be cutting back in 2011, the most frequent word I heard in the poultry sector was 'downsize'.  Feed is expensive and with bad weather in the Prairies, it's likely to become challenging to keep larger flocks. 

I saw a glimmer of hope at the Windsor show in May when I vecame smitten with a spectactular hen from the line of Warren Simm.  Alas, she was spoken for, and Warren's brother had told me that it could be as much as a year before they could promise me anything.  I cling to the hope that I can find another hen or two of good quality.  At this time I have the divine Adelaide, a natural broody, though I will not allow her to collect eggs for hatch this late in the season, though she is much persuaded to brood in July of 2011. 

Then we found some pullets from Active Life Farm.  We have decided that these pullets will eventually form the core of our laying group.  If a couple seem true to type and display good maternl instincts we may try a cross with Darwin.

I contine to search for Australorp owners in Nova Scotia and the other Maritime Provinces, especially those with fertilized eggs or pullets in small quantities for 2011 and 2012.  I think the breed matters and I would love to open discussions with those who know Australorps better than I!

At the start of September 2011 the pullets are growing rapidly.  I am hearing deepening of their voices, new calls, enlarging wattles and reddening faces.  New fathers have a beetle-green sheen and the legs are black and solid. They flirt with the rooster through the barrier and i would like to merge the flocks, but I sense it is early.  Still, the signs are showing.


  1. I had to comment about how delightful it was to see someone with Astralorps. Mine arrived as a trade for Bantam Rhodies.. I thought the young black hens I received were a mix of crow or something.LOL! But I looked up their black legs and yellow toenails. I had 3 but one was killed by raccoons and it has been a battle ever since. I have one who should have died but she is like a dinosaur. Raccoons tore open her whole neck along the back- no skin there..but she somehow lived and managed to regenerate all the skin. Now has feathers and is laying again. I call her our Miracle chicken. Still working to fortify a run for these girls for winter as I live in Massachusetts. Thanks for posting your information

  2. Wee have to be wary of predators too. We recently evicted some young raccoons from the barn and my husband has done a terrific job of setting up protection for the Australorps. I fend the eggs very good, nice shell with good albumen and an orange yolk. Glad your girl recovered!