Oh my goodness, it is that wonderful time of the year….chick season! Who can resist those fluffy little darlings? Well, not me and my grandkids! We are in our second year of our annual chick project. We meet at the farm store and pick them out the third week of March. It’s a good thing that I have limited space or we would buy dozens!
I try to keep between 15-20 laying hens. I believe that chickens are the foundation of a homestead. Many urban areas even allow families to keep a few in the backyard. Chickens eat bugs, aerate the lawn, and provide yummy omega enriched fresh eggs. And, if you aren’t too attached, a hen that is no longer producing eggs can become a delicious “stewing hen”.
Each year we buy six baby chicks to replace the older ones. We buy pullets (the girls). However, very often one or two may actually be roosters. Sometimes depending on the breed I keep a rooster. But, I’m not crazy about them and they aren’t necessary. If I get a broody hen who wants to set on eggs, I switch out the unfertilized ones and get some from a friend who has a rooster!
We get different breeds each year. We are all about aesthetics of both the hen and her egg. We have Americanas that lay blue and green eggs, Speckled Sussex, and Silver Laced Wyndottes to mention a few! Nothing but pretty or interesting hens will do, and definitely no white eggs. How boring would that be? We also buy about a dozen Cornish Cross roasters….yep…meat chickens. We’ll discuss that in process in June!
Grace and Ames take them home and play with them for a few weeks until they start to feather out and get “ugly”! Then they bring them back to me to put in the brooder house to finish growing. This is a great project because they get to enjoy them and make the little hens gentle and about the time they are over it…the chicks are big enough to move into the cooler brooder house. This year’s choices are:
Now, I have to get the hen house cleaned and re-wallpapered….maybe next week!