Episode 16 – Don & Suzy talk about adding New Hampshire Reds to the farm.
The Dreaded Pox
Sadly, our Light Sussex chickens all came down with Fowl Pox. Fortunately, they have the dry version which is the less fatal of the two. The dry version creates black bumps on all non-feathered areas, like the face, comb, legs and feet. The wet version can be very serious, as the lesions form in the digestive tract of chickens and can close off their airway.
Left alone, Fowl Pox should resolve itself in two weeks, leaving the chickens immune to further outbreaks.
Rethinking the Reds [05:57]
This episode will be a little different than ones we have done previously. For one thing, we are not going to keep track of the time. We have had several people email and suggest they would like the episodes to be longer. We usually aim for less than 30 minutes, but today we are just going to record the show and whatever length it ends up being is what it will be.
Another difference is that rather than the normal structured learning program, today we are going to discuss some changes we are making and why we are making them. Hopefully you will enjoy the change and learn a few lessons along the way.
Rhode Island Reds [08:23]
One of the breeds we raise on our micr0-hatchery is the Rhode Island Red. This is a great breed for laying big brown eggs.
Rhode Island Red roosters are very useful for creating sex-linked hybrids. We can mate Cluck Norris, our RIR rooster with our Barred Rocks or with our Light Sussex to create chicks that can be sexed on hatch day.
Rhode Island Reds are also very tolerant of heat and cold.
They are a dual-purpose bird, which means you can raise them for both egg and meat production. Being a dual-purpose breed, however, does not guarantee that they will be great at both laying and meat production.
Our Rhodies are amazing egg layers, but they do not appear to be great meat birds. While they are big, they are not very thick.
New Hampshire Reds [12:18]
We have decided to start raising New Hampshire Reds in addition to our Rhode Islands. New Hampshires were developed Rhode Island Reds by selectively breeding the fastest growing and earliest maturing birds. After generations of this, the New Hampshire birds no longer resembled the Rhode Island Reds they came from, so they designated them as a new breed.
New Hampshire Reds do not lay quite as well as Rhode Island Reds, but the difference may be one egg per week. They are however, faster growing and earlier maturing than their predecessors.
The New Hampshires are right at the top of the list of heritage meat birds. They are a very well-balanced dual purpose, with excellent egg production (even if not as good as the RIRs) and excellent meat production.
Like their cousins, they are heat and cold resistant, and they are good foragers.
Most importantly for us, is that both are interchangeable for making sex-link hybrid chicks. Any sex-link combination you would use the Rhode Island Red for, you can use a New Hampshire Red in its place.
Finally, New Hampshire Red roosters are not known for becoming as aggressive as the Rhode Island Red roosters are.
Our First Online Hatchery Experience [24:47]
We have always purchased our chickens from local breeders. Unfortunately, we couldn’t find New Hampshire Reds in Central Florida.
So , we decided to place our very first chick order with an internet hatchery. I received an email saying that the chicks shipped today, so I called our local post office to hold them and call me when they arrive.
Another New Breed [30:39]
While I was ordering the New Hampshire chicks, I decided to get one other new breed that I have always wanted… Jersey Giants. These are the biggest chicken around and can grow to 13 pounds! I can’t wait!