A New Beginning!

Announcing the long anticipated delivery of – 16 uber chicken eggs! Those would be Beilefelder eggs to the rest of us. I also learned Beilefelder has an extra e squashed in there I hadn’t noticed before so I apologize for my continuous spelling error in referring to them!

I have heard a lot about these birds… They’re huge! They lay big brown eggs! You can separate the roosters from the hens at hatching! They’re egg laying machines! They go on popping out eggs all winter! Well, I don’t know yet if they will live up to the hype… there’s a nay saying voice in the back of my head saying maybe not. The woman I bought these eggs off of had to collect them for over a week because a freak snow storm threw her hens off and when I received the eggs… well they’re not huge by any means. We had Plymouth rocks, Brahmas, and Orpingtons before and those eggs…. well! Some days I thought Godzilla must have been out there. Huge. Absolutely enormous. And they also laid for me all winter (with lighting.) These Beilefelder eggs are… well… medium? They’re not much bigger than a large bantam egg and although they’re all various shades of brown they’re rather inconsistent. I am hoping the size may be in relation to the hens’ ages but we’ll see. I think this breed might need some work yet (which is fine… either I work with them to get bigger eggs or I decide feeding an enormous bird that lays tiny eggs isn’t worth my time. Either way doesn’t make that much of a difference.)

With all that being said I am hopeful for the future. I would actually like them to live up to their hype. That would be great!  And if they don’t I will still be using them for another auto-sexing project I have in mind so it’s all good.

In the meantime I am left to contemplate what to do about the Brabanters. They’re also “a work in progress” according to all the American breeders I can find. All the ones here in the states originate from Ideal Poultry, a rather large hatchery who seems more concerned about churning out large quantities of chicks, than providing quality. Here’s where it gets weird. I could pay an average of $60-80 for a dozen eggs from Brabanters who may or may not have been worked on by these breeders or I could go directly to Ideal and buy chicks for $3 (or less) a head. I’m told if I do the latter I will have to buy a lot and cull hard until I get the quality I want. I think I am OK with that. I mean I didn’t want to bring chicks or adult birds onto the property. For disease control I really wanted to only work with hatching eggs but Ideal does offer vaccinations…. And if I do that do I want to get just a large lot of one color of Brabanter or both colors? Or both colors and something else? They do have two colors of Twentse (Kraienkoppes) which are so new to the US I don’t think there’s a demand for them but being a Dutch breed they sort of captured my attention. They look like little game birds but apparently all their game has been bred out of them as roosters can share pastures without incidence. They do really well in the cold and lay a lot of eggs for being so little. Plus they have the big breasts of a game bird making for a decent carcass for eating.  What concerns me is the fact they are capable of flight and apparently can and will fly whenever they so feel like it making my fences not appropriate for such a breed. It’s a flying shame. Maybe next year… in any event if I do get chicks I should get them when these uber eggs hatch, that way I can raise them all together. The more warm bodies the better when dealing with growing up in winter! But how many would I need to buy in order to cull for quality?? I mean when I got my original chickens from a hatchery not a single one of them looked close to what they should… and I had 35 of them! HMMM. Decisions decisions…