Your Chicken Lesson for Today

Because you know you wanted one.
This Saturday we will go from 21 chickens to 11 chickens in The Great Chicken Massacre of 2008, so today I get to order more chickens from McMurray Hatchery so we will have more layers in the hen house in the winter. (There needs to be a lot so they can warm up together in the coop). So today I ordered a rainbow of new layers to spice up our current all-white hen menagerie:

(below “st run” means “straight run,” which means just whatever comes out, non-sexed, usually half/half”)

Top Left (and first chick on left, below) New Hampshire Reds – 5 st run

Middle Left – Buff Orpingtons (lots of thick feathers for winter!) 2 female, 5 st run

Bottom Left and middle chick: Black Minorca 2 female

Top Right: Buff Minorca 2 female

Middle Right: Barred Rocks 9 st run

Buff Orpingtons are good mothers, which means I won’t have to buy or tend chicks anymore, unless I want a different variety. Many modern hens won’t set. They’ll lay eggs and wander off. In a commercial environment, setting tendencies are a bad thing–you don’t want the hen to be upset when you take her eggs. You can sneak other, non-setting hens’ eggs under a setting hen no problem, and she’ll mother and raise the chicks as her own. Her chicks will make even better mothers than she was, because they are a generation raised by a mother, not just in a hatchery (or by me). Of course, the boys in the straight runs will be fryed up, except for whichever one I decide will be our rooster. I’m hoping to have a buff orpington rooster also, but I may change my mind.

So, I recently had cause to review my blog thoroughly (as aforementioned amusing security breaches gave me pause —“What HAVE I been writing in my blog??”) And I learned that I’ve been saying for months, “Soon the coop will be done.” Well, guess what? The chickens moved in to their coop last week! It still needs the roofing material put on, but it will do for now.



Fancy doors on outside to get eggs! Nesting boxes inside!

The fryers are too fat to get up on the perches. Look how fat they are!! They are ready for the freezer. They’ve had a good, chicken life, unlike the chickens we’ve had in our freezer up until now. Sure, I have to see them die, but I know where my food is coming from, and I know it has been treated well.

Poor Roxy the dog can sit and see the chickens in their run all day. She’s drooling.

Our pullets should start laying in September. Our next batch won’t start laying until Christmas, and that is only if we keep a light on out there on a timer to keep the sun “coming up” at 5 every morning as the days shorten.

Yay chickens!

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