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The Chickens of Kind Food Farm

February 4, 2012

Homeboy the Handsome

I downloaded my recent chicken photos and put up a basic webpage with the photos of the roosters. A new chicken-keeping contact on the other side of town said she is interested in one of them, Mr. Big, a Barred Plymouth Rock, for a breeding project. Check out the first installment of The Chickens of Kind Food Farm.

Mr. Big

I stayed up late last night looking for a hatchery that will sell me the chicken breeds that I’m most interested in acquiring now, the California White, a Leghorn variety, and some other hybrid layers such as Red Sex Links and Austra Whites (a cross of Black Australorps and White Leghorns). Adding some highly reliable layers would really bring up the flock average! Some of the chicks we bought last August still aren’t laying yet and I’m getting impatient.

One problem with some high-laying breeds is that they are quite flighty, and some heritage breeds are gorgeous but don’t lay that well, and they go broody often. “Going broody” means a hen wants to sit on a clutch of eggs in a nest all day. She doesn’t want to lay endlessly, she wants results! She wants to incubate some eggs and hatch out some chicks!

Cinnalaya, my experienced and reliable broody hen, is in the broody mood right now. So I’m thinking I’ll let her stay on the nest instead of “breaking” her of the broodiness, and after two or three weeks, I’ll pop some day-old chicks under her and she’ll adopt them and raise them. One of my Red Leghorn/Cubalaya crosses did it last year. Hence, the need to secure a supply of day-old chicks.

Cinnalaya in broody mode

Plus, chicks are so much fun. Although, now that I realize that ordering pullet (young female) chicks means an equal number of cockerel (male) chicks will be unwanted and will therefore probably be killed at age One Day or Two, it’s not as simple an equation as it was when I didn’t think about those things. Well, if we hatched our own chicks, we’d get 50% boys, and then I’d have to harvest birds I’d raised from chicks, and that’s pretty hard.

The other problem with this plan is, the hatcheries that have the breeds I want require high minimum numbers of chicks per order, 25. I have 38 birds now, I don’t know where I would put 25 more. I don’t want stressed-out chickens. We could and should harvest some older hens that aren’t laying well, but we don’t have that many older ones, just 3 Ameraucanas from our original flock, plus three that I agreed to adopt for a former neighbor who lost her home and her flock, including a much older Rhode Island Red . She insists the bird still lays well, but she also says she’s 7 or 8 years old, so she undoubtedly doesn’t lay well anymore. Ah, well. I can’t really afford to run a chicken retirement home here, as much as I’d like to make pets of every one of them. But I promised to take her, so for the time being, her tenure here is secure.

But I’d also like to sell more eggs and keep my customers satisfied! Dilemmas, dilemmas.

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