The new chicks hatched in March are now integrated with the adult flock. Though noticeably smaller, these hens and young cockerels are fully fledged chickens now. To introduce them to their now home, and let the older gals get to know them, I keep all the chickens in for a day together, with plenty of grain and fresh greens as a distraction. The young hens are brought in during the night while they are roosting, then they wake up in the coop with the other hens and begin socializing. It’s important that new hens in a flock come in a group of three or more, so they can bad together in the face of an established flock. This avoids bullying and pecking, but some will go on as “pecking order” is established.
Our Ayam Cemani rooster, “Black Jack”, is minding the hens well. He’s a handsome guy, and I’m excited to see how his genetics play out in next year’s clutch. I will not be buying extra chicks this year, instead focusing on the Cemani genes. They seem to pair well with the Delaware hens, and the Barred Rock genetics come out strong too. I’m not so happy about the Rhode Island Red genes with Ayam Cemani, the offspring have rather bladed heads and smaller frame. The Delaware genetics enlarge the Cemani frame, making them better layers. If I do introduce another breed, it would be Orpington, as those hens will be large, and pass it on into the Ayam Cemani.
Next year, we’ll see how the Maran genetics play out, and the Barnavelder. It will also be interesting to see how Black Jack’s genes look, compared to his brother Big Comb’s. Big Comb was obviously a mixed Cemani with Barred Rock, and those genetics were showing up strongly in the chicks. There is one Barred Rock cross in our flock, but Big Comb had a lot of red in his comb, which is not present in a pure blood Cemani. We’ll see what Black Jack “throws”. This batch of chicks was another successful incubation, with a lot of nice black hens in the final flock count. In a few more years of breeding, Leafhopper Farm will begin to sell Ayam Cemani stock for collectors interested in working with this Javanese native.