Minorca chicken breed: description, content and care
Many poultry farmers are happy to have not only productive, but also beautiful chickens on their farm. Among unusual domestic birds, the Minorca chicken breed, whose representatives have high productivity and bright appearance, attracts special attention. About the features of the breed and the content of its representatives later in the article.
The described birds owe their origin to the black Castile chickens that inhabited the peasant yards of the Spanish island of Minorca (one of the Balearic islands). In the eighteenth century, the kurovods of the dominant Britain at that time brought minor to their country and made them ordinary representatives of farms.
At the end of the 19th century, thanks to the exotic appearance of the minor, the poultry breeders of America and Germany became interested in them, where they began to breed the bird en masse, calling it Spanish. The Spanish hen came to the Russian state in 1885 thanks to the caliph of Turkey, Abdul-Hamid II, and by 1911 Russian breeders had developed a domestic standard for this breed.
Today, mines have 3 baselines that differ in breeding time and in the intricacies of selective work:
- Black Spanish minor.
- Minor White (British selection).
- Dwarf minor (German standard).
Did you know? Mother hens can communicate with their future chicks while they are in the shell. A few days before the appearance of the offspring, sitting on the eggs and making certain sounds, the “mothers” encourage their still not hatched babies to respond to them, thanks to which the chicken rejects the dead embryos, pushing them out of the total mass to the edge of the nest.
The tables below provide an overview of the appearance of minor colors of both colors.
Black hens have the following characteristic appearance:
|Head||Small size. Muzzle red, not feathered, brown or black eyes|
|Crest||Leaf-shaped, large cloves. In males, the crest is upright, in chickens, it hangs on its side like a beret, while the eye does not cover|
|Beak||Black (for males, a lighter beak tip is acceptable). Under the beak there are long bright red earrings of impressive sizes, as well as snow-white oval-shaped earlobes|
|Tail||Smooth, raised high in the hen, in the male - descending almost to the ground, with long plaits|
|Paws||Tall and strong. Dark Metatarsus and Claws|
|Plumage and color||Slate black with a green overflow.|
Distinctive features of white minor:
|Head||Small, neat. The muzzle and eyes are red|
|Crest||In the form of a leaf with several curves. Suppose a pink ridge with a lower landing|
|Tail||Smooth, hen raised high; the male has a tail, hollowing almost to the ground, with long braids|
|Paws||Tall and strong. Light pink claws and metatarsus|
|Plumage and color||Snow-white, with silver impregnation.|
As can be seen from the tables, in addition to the color difference, outwardly white and black minors can differ only in the shape of the scallop.
The birds of this breed are very active and mobile.Unfortunately, they make poor contact with a person and are very shy, so observing them is possible only at a distance. As for the other representatives of the poultry enclosure, the minors treat them quite calmly and coexist peacefully in the common chicken coop.
Advantages and disadvantages
- Minors have the following advantages:
- decorative look;
- peaceful character;
- white meat of excellent taste;
- large eggs;
- fairly high year-round egg production;
- high safety of young animals (over 95%);
- early precocity.
- The main disadvantages of the breed:
- birds are sensitive to changes in climate and weather;
- very shy;
- low maternal instinct - not only do not hatch eggs, but can peck them too;
- poorly adapt to new conditions;
- poorly perceive a sharp change in diet.
Features of the content of the breed of chicken minor
Minoroc is best bred in regions with a temperate and mild climate, because in colder conditions their egg production can drop sharply, and the content will not be economically feasible.
The necessary conditions
In connection with the high heat loving nature of the birds, a number of requirements to the conditions of their maintenance are put forward.
Important! It is most advisable to keep minor in large buildings with other animals (cattle, pigs, rabbits), where the plus temperature is maintained due to the heat generated by them.
Rules for designing a chicken coop for minor:
- Climate indicators: the minimum indoor temperature is + 8–10 ° С. Therefore, in winter, birds need additional heating with heating devices.
- The chicken coop should have low humidity and no drafts.
- Material for building a chicken coop: wood, foam blocks. With the likelihood of low winter temperatures, additional warming is necessary (mineral wool, polystyrene). The floors are made exclusively of wood.
- Dimensions of the premises for keeping birds: per 1 square. m - no more than 5 individuals.
- Adequate lighting: equip the insulated window with an area of not less than 1 square. m and, if possible, install a fine metal mesh for the summer.
- Quality ventilation: if there is poor air exchange in the coop, a high mortality rate may be observed.
- Purity: arrange a bed of straw on the floor, which must be changed daily.
- Nests and Perches: install at a distance of 75 cm from the floor.
- Daylight hours (at least 10 hours) are provided with additional lighting.
Since domestic birds of the described species are characterized by increased activity, they really need a spacious place for walking. Walking Space Requirements:
- It is necessary to place the walking yard away from extraneous noise (busy tracks, places of active recreation, the presence of dogs), otherwise the birds will stop rushing due to their timidity.
- The courtyard for walking chickens in the fresh air needs to be fenced with a fine-mesh net no less than one and a half meters high, covered with the same net from above or made a canopy, since the minor can fly well and can easily get out of the corral. The canopy will also protect against rain and predators.
- For additional protection against drafts and extraneous noise, a hedge is planted along the fence.
- It is advisable to make a wooden flooring with straw or hay in the pen so that, with increased air humidity, no dirt forms in the courtyard, due to which the birds will lose their decorative appearance and begin to hurt.
Important! It is unacceptable to walk minor in winter at very low temperatures, since their ridges can freeze. To prevent this, pet scallops can be rubbed with fat.
Feeding troughs and drinking bowls
To maintain cleanliness and dryness in the chicken coop, as well as to prevent pets from staining their plumage, the placement of feeders and drinking bowls should be properly organized:
- containers for feeding and drinking should correspond to the size, age and number of pets;
- devices should be easily cleaned of food debris and dirt, and also subject to regular disinfection;
- for dry feed, wooden feeders are arranged, and for wet - plastic or metal;
- drinking bowls are also located on the walking yard;
- the water in the drinkers should always be clean and in sufficient quantity.
Feeding Adult Chickens
Minor adults must be fed three times a day with the same feeds that are intended for the rest of the breeds:
- in the morning - food enriched with vitamins and protein (prepared feed);
- in the afternoon - Mash, with the addition of sand (for good digestion);
- in the evening - whole grain (corn, wheat).
Also suitable for a daily diet:
- chopped vegetables and root vegetables (raw and boiled);
- animal and vegetable protein;
- meat and fish waste;
- sunflower oil or cake.
We must not forget about mineral and vitamin supplements. In the chicken coop or pen for walking, separate feeders are placed, filled with:
- crushed limestone;
- crushed chalk;
- clean river sand.
Did you know? Minors are very sensitive to the mineral composition of the feed. In some areas of Spain in the 19th century, these birds almost disappeared due to the scarcity of local soils in terms of minerals. In regions where loamy soil contained mineral inclusions, this species of poultry was preserved.
Shedding and egg laying break
Like all breeds of domesticated birds, minors survive a molt period of 2 weeks to 6 months. At this time, their performance decreases (up to 80%), but does not stop completely. At the end of this phase, egg production returns to normal dynamics and even increases.
Herd replacement planned
The production period for a Spanish chicken ranges from 8 months to 2–5 years, after which a planned replacement of the livestock is made. In order to breed a strong breed, which would subsequently be distinguished by high productivity, minor chicks should hatch in early spring.
Features of growing chickens
As mentioned above, the "Spaniards" do not have a pronounced maternal instinct, so incubators or hens of other breeds are used to breed chickens.
The breeding and rearing of Minorca chickens takes place according to the following scheme:
- For breeding offspring, eggs are used only from chickens that meet the breed standard and are carried in the second year.
- Testicles of medium size are taken and stored for 3-5 days at a temperature of 12 to 18 ° C with blunt tips up.
- Before laying in the incubator, the eggs are kept for 2 hours at room temperature.
- The appearance of chickens should be expected on the 21–23rd day after laying the material.
- Young growth is standard: warm housing (a box with high sides and bottom heating to maintain a temperature of +30 ° C); nutritious and balanced food; fresh and clean drink; lighting with a lamp (from 6 hours to 20); clean litter, which must be changed several times a day.
Feeding minor chicks does not differ from feeding ordinary chickens, so the following foods should be in their diet:
- on the first day give rubbed eggs mixed with semolina;
- in a day it is necessary to give cottage cheese;
- on the second day, finely chopped greens are added (young nettle, alfalfa, clover; a little later - dill, green onions, lettuce, sorrel);
- on the third day vegetables are introduced;
- from the 10th day, you can add boiled root crops and crushed grain;
- as plumage is added to the diet, high-quality nutrition with vitamins and minerals (ready-made compound feed for young animals);
- at 2 months, the offspring are transferred to adult food with the addition of bran, yeast mixtures, meat and bone meal.
- general development;
- egg productivity - in chickens at 5 months;
- the exterior of the males, as the scallop grows.
Important! To upgrade the herd, culverts recommend the exchange of breeding material from other poultry farmers.
Diseases of chickens and methods for solving them
The breed does not have a genetic predisposition to diseases, but, as was indicated, Spanish birds are demanding for heat and keeping in a dry chicken coop.
If the livestock is in inappropriate conditions, the following problems are possible:
|Problem||Problem Solving / Preventive Measures|
|Due to dampness, drafts and cold, birds begin to hurt and die||Insulate the room outside with insulating materials (polystyrene, fiberglass)|
Close up holes in the walls
Arrange perches at a level not lower than 70 cm
Change bedding to fresh daily
|Infectious diseases||Preventive vaccination helps prevent livestock infection|
|Parasite infection||In the chicken coop and in the walking yard are tanks filled with a sand-ash mixture for bathing pets|
|Frostbite crests and catkins||Apply grease to scallops and catkins|
Do not walk birds on especially frosty days.
Observing the basic rules indicated in the table, you can completely avoid serious health problems of your decorative pets.As you can see, it is better to breed exotic chickens of the Minorca breed in a private household, where they will be provided with proper care and where the emphasis is more on their decorative appearance. Providing pets with everything that is necessary for high productivity, they will gladly delight their owners with nutritious eggs and delicious meat.