Surprise!! The chicks are coming soon!!
This year’s arrival of baby chicks is scheduled to happen within one to two weeks!!
How, why, when, does this process occur?
It is a part of our Student Farm responsibility as Java chicken producers to assist in completing this on-going life cycle. The American Livestock Breed Conservancy is coordinating this project between Steve Moize and Hilary Heckler. The student farm is to raise, breed, and select birds that best represent the ideal characteristics of the black variety of the Java chicken breed.
The Java is considered to be the second oldest breed of chicken developed here in America. It is known to have been used as a homestead chicken, dating back to the year 1835. It currently is listed as a “threatened breed”, meaning there are fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the US, are fewer than 7 primary breeding flocks in the US, and that globally there are less than 5,000 total birds.
The Java has a few distinct characteristics which are used to determine the “ideal” breeding bird. The black Java has the most distinct black “beetle green “sheen of all other black fowl. It has very dark eye color and has black legs with yellow soles. The Java has the longest sloping back of all chicken breeds and its body shape is best described as rectangular. Java chickens have a single comb.
Like most heritage breeds, the Java, is known, to be slow-growing; however, this trait provides the bird to be a great forager .In addition the very popular breeds Plymouth Rock and New Jersey Giant, have been developed using the Java as a predecessor.
The student farm began the Java project in the spring of 2010. This spring we will be raising our third generation of Java chicks! We collect the Java eggs for two weeks. The ones which are best suited to be saved are placed in a tilted egg carton at room temperature, turning the tilt every other day, until Steve collects them. He brings our Java chicken eggs to his incubator and the 21 day incubation process begins. The storage and spacing for all the eggs which have to be handled and re-distributed, makes it impossible for our eggs from CCCC to be directly returned to us. We expect to receive the newly hatched chicks of Javas within the same genetically connected bloodline, most likely originating from stock located in SC.
These newborn baby birds will require warmth, food, water and clean living conditions. The current plan is to use our brooder box in the old chicken house and keep them there until the birds are able to maintain their own correct body temperature and are not as vulnerable to predators. This initial phase for our spring chicks may last from 6 to 8 weeks depending on the age we receive them and the temperature they are to live in outdoors.
So, keep your eyes open and your ears listening for the sounds and sights of new chicks!