I did something today that I have never done in January. I set up all the chicken breeding pens for the season. That doesn't mean that I built anything or moved coops, it means I caught ALL the birds and decided which females will be spending the next few months with which males. Chickens are pretty open-minded about such things, they don't seem to mind these "arranged" relationships...
Normally I do this no earlier than late February, and "normally" (it varies widely, but if you average out all the years) I have chicks hatching between mid April and mid June.
Since I'm going to need to be moving me and all the birds some time in April, I'd originally thought I would just start hatching after I get all settled in, but it's quite possible the chicken coops might take some extra time to get finished, and I don't want it to suddenly be June without anything hatched yet, because it gets stinkin hot up there in the summer and I never have much luck showing late-hatched birds anyway.
So here I am trying to have the earliest season I've ever had, I even put a light in the chicken coop that will go in a few hours before sunrise, so as to jump start some egg production! If I could be at least mostly done hatching by early April, that would be swell. Let's face it, moving the birds is going to be a giant pain in the asterisk no matter what...
There are FIVE pens of BBReds (told ya that's where I plan to focus!), 1 pen of Black, and 1 pen of Brassy/Blue Brassy. I don't plan to hatch many Blacks or Brassies/Blue Brassies (those two pens also don't have any lighting right now, so I don't expect much out of them yet anyway).
I'm happy with the numbers, I'm down to 33 birds once the rest of them are sold or shipped out. And I'm happy with the configuration, that seemed like the right number of Blacks (7), Brassy Backs (3), and Blue Brassy Backs (3) to keep to continue and preserve the lines but not be the ONLY one raising them.
Anyway, there ya have it. Like a friend of mine said to me the other day, it's going to be a crazy spring no matter how well I think I have it planned out.
Alas I have no pretty pictures for you today!