Last summer we parted ways with the majority of our flock, keeping just enough birds for our family and a few occasional customers here at the farm. That has been the perfect decision for our family. We are back to enjoying interacting with our birds as more of a hobby without the stress of washing 80 dozen eggs by hand each week!
We ended up with mostly Easter Eggers after selling off birds, which means our eggs are almost entirely green now.
Many of those birds are now 3 years old as well, which means their laying is going down a bit. This spring, we decided, it was time to add a small new generation of brown egg layers to the flock. These birds will begin laying in the fall and will round out our egg supplies with nice color variety and more consistency.
These 18 cuties were born April 8th and came home that very morning from Mt. Healthy Hatchery. I got three each of six different breeds: two kinds of Marans, two kinds of Wyandottes, Amberlinks and Speckled Sussex. These breeds are supposed to lay different shades of brown eggs from light all the way to dark copper. I can’t wait to see their colors!
They were so teeny when they came home, I set up a small brooder in a plastic tub with a heat lamp, one small feeder and one waterer.
Doesn’t the girl at the back look like she’s giving me the stink eye??
It didn’t take too long, maybe a week, for the birds to begin growing wing feathers and to start flying around. So Josh and McGregor built a proper brooder out of plywood with a mesh covering to keep the little ones contained. Here you can see them flying and running about…
This last video was on their two week birthday. It’s amazing how many feathers they have already!
Did you see the teensy little girl who is running around under the others? Our neighbors, Frank and Rita Heikenfeld, asked if we would keep their babies until they get a little older so they don’t have to manage a brooder. They got six chicks at Tractor Supply, supposedly three Easter Eggers and three Black Australorps. We are pretty sure that that little bitty one is some kind of Bantam though. She is half the size of the others! So far she seems to be hanging in their just fine though.
I’ve gotten tons of calls in this last month asking if we sell chicks. It seems the whole world now wants to be chicken keepers. The answer, in case you are wondering, is no. We aren’t selling any more birds at this point. If you are a new chicken keeper and have questions though, give me a shout. We do have a lot of knowledge on building coops and keeping chickens and ducks.
Our next adventure, still in discussions, may be meat birds. We’ve been floating this idea for a long time but we do have two available coops now where we could keep them so this may be the year! If you’ve done meat birds before tell me about your experiences. Which breed is better – Cornish Cross or Freedom Rangers?