|Posted by Kate Hart on August 27, 2011 at 3:35 AM|
A distinct nip in the air..and already in the morning sun Beanwood has that autumnal "glow" when the weak sun hits the top leaves in the wood turning them a lovely golden colour.
Some of our vegetables are ripening, lovely crop of yellow corgettes and our Katy apples look almost ready! The muscovies have already spotted that fact I think!...
Growers continue to develop, and at last I am now able to see the potential in some of the large salmon cockerels, it does take time as they mature more slowly than the females and the colour in the boys take a good 6 months to be able to detirmine the final plumage. When raising the large faverolles, patience is a must and try not to be tempted to over feed them, let them develop naturally so they develop good strong muscle which I believe gives them that lovely strong shape and stature.
We feed our boys on Garvo cockerel grower and supplement with Alfastart chicks which contains good quality protein. I find it can take a year to get one of them up to their full weight and size. Oregano is also given in the form of Oregistim in the drinking water to aid good gut health and feathering along with cod liver oil occasionaly given mixed in feed.
Hatching early though is important to allow the long days for optimal growth and development, otherwise all their energy will be used to keep warm in the short winter months and not for growing. We try when developing breeding stock not to hatch beyond March, although we still will hatch later but those will probably not be mature until late summer of the following year. We usually can see the potential at around 6 months, these are then named...and used for the following year for breeding, the others are grown on for the pot.
The other colours are easier, especially the bantams and it looks like I also have some nicely marked ermines as well as one or two good blacks. I also have one particulary "stocky" salmon bantam cockerel, son of Cliff Lowes strain, showing lovely type already. My thanks to Sue Bruton for letting me have the cockerel for breeding.
This is Hercules, one of my pullet breeding large salmon boys for next year...we also have Titan, a darker "cherry" mahogany boy. Hercules was actually a late March hatch, but this strain.. a true "utility" does mature faster that the darker strain I also keep, which takes forever to get to a decent size! You can see here depth of keel, width across the breast and saddle, he also has that strong stature that we like to breed here. This enables the bird to carry plenty of meat.