So we have had a flock of Cuckoo Marans chickens for about 3 years now. Out of all the different breeds that we have raised over the years the Marans have been my favorite. I really like the chocolate brown eggs that we get and they are great for cooking.. especially Pots de Creme! After using homegrown eggs, the store bought eggs look so bland and pale that they’re hard for me to use.
In early June, we lost a few of our hens to a large owl that had been hanging around our place. Living in the desert , we usually only see the small, burrowing owls that actually live underground. This owl was big (and beautiful) I wish I had a picture of him to share.
After the owl’s visits, egg production dropped to an average of 1 or 2 a day (and still hasn’t recovered yet…) As our friends and neighbors called and asked for eggs, it was rare when we had a spare dozen to offer. We decided that we had better increase the size of the flock, so we dug out the incubator and started putting each day’s eggs in. It took us 7 days to put 13 eggs in to hatch.
Chicken eggs take 21 days to incubate and hatch, so the estimated date for our new arrivals was July 3 through 9. When July 3rd arrived, nothing. (Not a peep!) All through the week we waited and watched and nothing. On July 8, it was obvious that they were not going to hatch, so I told my wife that we should probably mail order some chicks. So we went to Murray McMurray.com and ordered some chicks. The minimum order for this time of year is 15, so we ended up ordering 18. (Mostly Americanas, with a couple of other breeds to keep it interesting.)
We ended up with 4 of the 13 hatching… not a very good ratio, but I am now glad thats all that hatched! We restored the Marans flock and will have a Americana flock arriving on Tuesday. (I’ll update with a picture when they come)
So, providing that our owl doesn’t come back – I think we will have enough chickens for the year!