Early Egg Celebration

Chickens start laying eggs when they become adults.   Backyard production egg breeds like the red star and the black star  can lay as early as 15 weeks, though most lay a little later than that.   Heritage breeds, which are the type I raise, can take up to 26 weeks to start laying.   I have had some in the past that have taken all of 26 weeks and even a couple more weeks than that.    This year I got lucky and one of my gold laced Wyandotte’s started laying this weekend.   She is 17 weeks old.  It is cause for celebration.   Of the original ten I got this spring, I have four left.   The buff Orpington is starting  to look like she is maturing and could be laying in a couple of weeks.    The other two, a silver laced and a gold laced Wyandotte, are still a ways off before I will be looking for eggs.   It was nice that it happened while I was home, though I must say RangerSir has certainly stepped in a fill the role of lead chicken wrangler quite well this summer.  I missed seeing the stages as they grew, but they likely did not know I was gone.

We call these two the sisters.   The one on the left is the one who has started laying eggs already.

We call these two the sisters. The one on the left is the one who has started laying eggs already.

Its a Boy

Gold Laced Wyandotte, male at 4 weeks.

Gold Laced Wyandotte, male at 4 weeks.

I buy sexxed chicks.   This means I buy chicks that someone has decided their gender on the same day they are born, before shipping them to me.   Sexxing chicks is done by one of three methods.

  • Some chicks are color sex linked.   This means that when they are born they have a color trait that is specific to one gender or another.    Easy as pie
  • Some chicks are feather sexxed.   This means someone looks at their emerging wing feathers and a pro can tell by what they see if they are male or not.   Not so easy
  • Lastly it is just like you think.   A pro takes a look at the little parts.  Pretty amazing they can sex chicks at all. Beyond hard and gross.

As you can imagine sexxing is an inexact science.    Though my hatchery has done  a pretty darn good job over the years.  This year I have one who slipped by and tricked the sexxers.  My gold laced wyandotte is a boy!

Some baby chicks will not reveal their sex for a many weeks, but most of them start to shows some sign of gender between four and six weeks.    This boy is already showing deep red in his comb and his waddles (that part that hangs below the beak) is already starting to develop.)   I must admit I am disappointed this breed has always been sold out, or when I have bought it the local farm  supply it has not survived.   I finally get one and it lives and it is MALE!

Male Gold Laced Wyandottes can be very handsome roosters.   I am hoping he might be a rooster with a good disposition and he can stay around for the summer.   A good rooster will keep watch on the flock while they are out free ranging.   I will keep you posted on this developing matter.

My New Favorite Chicken Breed

My Wayndotte Sisters fighting over a next box. There are two perfectly good empty ones right next to this one.

Wyandottes are my new favorite breed of chickens.  I have had an assortment of chicken breeds over the years, looking for that right mix of traits for me; hearty, pretty, nice,  and good egg layers.  It appears that that these wyandottes may fit the bill.

Winter has settled in Montana with snow, cold weather and shortening days.  All of these conditions make chickens want to go on an egg laying hiatus. Many chickens will take the shortening days as a que it is perfect time to moult, which in Montana is pure idiocy as it the coldest time to be loosing all their feathers.   My Easter-Egger, Barred Rock, and Partridge Rock are all in various states of  re-feathering and not laying any eggs.   My three wyandottes are still laying without any artificial light or heat.  Many days we get three eggs and so far we haven’t had any days where we get skunked.   We will see how the rest of the winter goes, but we may be looking at other colored wyandottes to add to the flock this spring.