Welcome All! I'm a dreamer, I hope you are too! A Posse ad Esse, or From possibility to reality, is a general state of mind. I hope you'll share your possibilities with me as I will with you. Namaste~

April 20, 2010

baby Chickens!!

How I managed to go since the 31st of March without mention number one of the fact that we've had "house guests" I'll never know? And of course, by house guests I mean we've got 8 new chicks in a Chicken Condo in the living room!

The current chickens that we have are just over two now and their egg production is slowing and becoming less regular. They've been keeping up their end of the bargain for sure, but rotating hens and how to deal with "end of life" issues is one of those pragmatic things that I think any keeper of livestock needs to take into consideration. It's also a place where there is a lot of difference of opinion to be found. I believe that as a steward of my hens I owe it to them to make sure that they are well taken care of. I don't spoil them mind you, but I make sure they have fresh water every day, constant access to food and grit and that I keep their coop clean and sanitary. That's my end of the bargain. I decided to add chickens to our nano-farm to do a couple of things. The first one, of course, was to provide eggs to our family. They've done that very well. The other was to help me close the loop so to speak. Chickens are great at turning scraps, trimmings and leftovers into two things, I already mentioned the eggs, but their excellent fertilizer factories too! By giving my hens a constant diet of trimmings, greens and grass they provide me with wonderful organic soil amendments that help me to further provide food for them and my family. A closed loop. At some point, the ratio of their inputs to outputs will get skewed to the point that they will need to be replaced. I anticipate that will be towards the end of this summer. Hence the second stringers in the living room.

Of course there are those that keep hens as "pets with benefits". They will keep them for companionship and eggs and let them run their natural lives before they replace them. This is of course totally valid ideology as well, it's just not the one I subscribe to.

So then, with that out out of the way, how about some cute and cuddly pics of our little ladies???Here's the lot of them. I thought it was the cutest thing ever! All eight were laying with their heads on another ones butt. Strangely almost completely in matching pairs by breed.
If you can tell breeds you'll notice that I have two each of white and brown leghorns, buff orpingtons and Rhode Island reds. This year we decided to include a couple of brown egg layers to see how that goes over. I had really really wanted to get some barred rocks but there were none to be had.This is a brown leghorn chick. They really are the coolest looking chicks I think. Particularly when they're compared to their very plain Jane white leghorn cousins. While I'm on the subject of leghorns; they really are the most flighty and easily spooked of the breeds that I've had before.And on the other side of the coin is the mellowest and friendliest breed so far... the Buff Orpington. I really look forward to this hen being a part of our flock.

But then... there's the Ugly duckling phase. Here's the ladies when they're having a "bad hair day" so to speak!It's amazing the difference in just under two weeks isn't it?
And here they are taking a little nap. I love how they just flop out, heads sideways, looking like they just came back from a long night out with the girls or something. I think they're about ready for a training roost.

So there they are. Cute, cuddly and fun but future hard working garden buddies!
Anyone out there starting their own flocks this year? Maybe you're working to change the laws where you live so you can have them. If so Check out Backyard Farming Blog for a really good article on how to get started with doing just that. Of course, I'm not biased because I was one of the main subjects of the article. :)

Till next time... best to you all!


the canned quilter said...

I prefer the buffs and tend to stick to the exclusively! The chicks look good !

Anonymous said...

I just started my first flock since my 4H and FFA days as a child. Funny thing is that my Buff Orps are the meanest and unfriendliest of the bunch....

Damn The Broccoli said...

So are the outgoing chickens for the pot then?

We just bought a pig at our local CSA. I have to finish designing a coop for our own chickens which we then need to get as soon as possible.

Ours too are going to be working birds but I like hens so they'll get a cuddle every day to keep them happy.

I take quite a joy in knowing that my flock will be tended with care and will know sunlight and wind.

When their time comes I can think of no one I would trust more to make sure they are dealt with in death with the same care in life than myself.

Anonymous said...

I have three types of chickens and all three are incredibility friendly and easy-going. I have Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks and Production Reds. This is the second year for them and they are still all laying just fine. I'm not ready to think about what I'm going to do when their egg production tapers off. Watch my chicken videos on youtube. The first is called "City Chickens" and we made it before they started laying eggs and the second one is after they started laying eggs. It's called "City Chickens (now with eggs!)



Wendy said...

I don't know how your climate is, but here in Maine, we have, almost exclusively, brown egg layers ... even the commercial farms are brown layers.

From my personal observations and experience, the brown egg-laying chickens tend to have shorter combs, which makes them more cold tolerant. I don't know if that's why most eggs in the northeast are brown, but I do know that for years, when my husband was growing up around here, the slogan was "Brown eggs are local, and local eggs are fresh!"

We've had chickens for four years now, and it's been a great adventure. I do love my chickens ;).

Eva said...

Yay, congratulations on your new chickies! Our original flock is just over a year and we have a couple Buff orp, barred, and reds, plus a few other breeds. The buffs are my sons fav. They are big and friendly. The barred are also very friendly, and are his second fav. But I think they lay smaller eggs? I not sure which eggs come for which chicken. =)

We just added 7 new chickies to our flock too...=) This time we're trying leghorns (we have no white egg layers)and a few different types of Wyandottes.

Have fun!

Shannon said...

How cool! My chicken project has temporarily stalled for a few reasons. Nice article at Backyard Farming!

Gaia's Hope said...

omg they are soooooooooo cute