Leafhopper Farm has taken in a small heritage flock of layer hens and one slate blue turkey hen. The birds came from a neighbor who was out of the country with knee surgery and unable to find consistent care of the livestock. Unexpected life changes can often lead to animals being let go of. Our farm sent a flock of ducks to another farm when the mixing of ducks and our pond did not work out. It is great when fellow farmers can help take on other animals when situations change, but it should not be expected.
These lovely ladies are in quarantine for a week while I observe them to make sure no sickness is brought into my own flock. I am excited about these new heritage breeds- lacy wyandotte hens are great- we’ve raised brown ones, but not white. The Delaware, Barred Rock, and Road Island Red are all familiar; we’ll see how they hybridize with the Ayam Cemanis.
The odd bird out is our new slate gray heritage turkey hen. She’s a little confused about the flock, and probably a little lonely too. We’ll probably cull her with a group of older hens, as Leafhopper Farm is not yet ready to take on turkeys. The turkey is nice, a new behavioral study for the barn yard, but also a separate set of needs. Each animal on the farm has a special set of dietary requirement, pasture, and shelter. Mixing multi species poultry together too much is not recommended, especially in small habitats.
These new hens will find there way into the main flock for now, but with this many birds, we’ll have to split the flock for fertility success. A rooster can only consistently cover about 15-20 hens. We’re already in need of a second rooster to keep the numbers sure. Perhaps it’s about time to create a breeding flock of Ayam Cemani from current numbers. That way there could be a selective flock for genetics and a layer flock for community needs. It would be a step towards specialization, but that’s how you get a breed with specific characteristics.
The Cemani genes are already dominating the home flock after only two continuous years of pure Ayam Cemani rooster breeding. In 2018, we purchased no chicks and hatched all our own Cemani chicks. In 2019, we plan to specialize a flock to Cemani breeding, as well as continuing a farm flock of layers at Leafhopper Farm.