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Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Here chick chick chick

Monica {who my readers should know as the author of Small Meadow Farm} was asked about why she picked the types of chickens she has. She then proceeded to drag myself and a couple other homesteaders into the conversation.

Why I chose the chickens I have?

I obviously have no clue what I am doing, I just know what my goal is. Getting there has proven heartbreaking, but in the end shall be worth it. We wanted eggs and meat, plain and simple, yet had no idea what to buy. I emailed the hatchery and received a catalog, so many breeds to choose from. We decided on the Homesteader's Delight, think of it as a sampler of birds. I discovered my love for Chocolate. Strange that after she died, I didn't replace her.

We were told by many people that standard birds have been bred to not nest. And after much research, I had discovered many experts agree. We had decided that we wanted to try to hatch out our own chicks, so bantams were the next logical step. Just as we had decided on this, the hatchery sent me an email stating that their bantams were on sale. WOOHOO. We placed our order and received a plethora of mini birds. As some of my long time readers know, we had some problems with them, and lost most of them in a storm. The ones that survived prove to be good mothers, thus we are replacing them this spring.

Our last batch of ordered birds were a mix of good layers and meat birds, ones that have proven docile in the past and are not bent on the destruction of my children.

Many will tell you to do your research before deciding what you are going to buy, I say jump in, buy the sampler and discover first hand the types of birds you prefer, eat the ones you don't.The above is a duck

Do you have chickens? If so, why did you choose the ones you have?


Donna. W said...

I haven't kept chickens for a few years, but I love Rhode Island Reds and Barred Rocks because they are so tame. I intend to get a few banties this spring and teach them to roost high on a pole in the barn. I've done this before with success. That way there's no henhouse to worry with. I like hearing and watching chickens, and I think the two granddaughters will enjoy baby chicks.

Cheryl said...

I've really been enjoying this discussion, thanks for continuing it over here!

Suburban Farm said...

We got Rode Island Reds last spring for eggs and entertainment. They have proved to be most wonderful layers and pets. (I know - pet chickens aren't in spirit of homesteading, but there are still VERY tasty eggs.) They are docile, funny, dumb as dirt, and eat whatever we toss them. Almost instant compost! I love my girls: Augra, Beth, Mamma Cass & Midgie. This spring we will be adding another 6 to our flock since our currently our girls are only producing 3 eggs a day, which is not quite enough to keep up with Ryan and I.
- Gretchen

Dancingfarmer said...

Your banties are so cute Phelan. Our neighbor has some and learned to keep them in a movable coop always. Hawks come from far and wide for those banties around here (one of my reasons for my chicken choice) I think I am going to give the incubator a try instead---besides, I don't have a very curious two year old to contend with. You have to admit kids make you laugh at their pure thrill for the eggs---whole or broke over the dogs head :-D

Gina said...

I've always bought the sampler packages of chickens too either from the hatchery or the local feed mill. My three all time favorite (and yes, mine turned out to be pets too :-) were a barred rock, a white rock and a blue silkie. All were friendly and the rocks were great layers. I also had a golden wyandotte and a black sex linked that were wonderful mothers. I can't imagine life without chickens!

Wendy said...

We have a quarter acre homestead in the suburbs of coastal, southern Maine. I wanted chickens, because I wanted fresh, chem-free eggs, and because I read about what great pets they make, how wonderful they are at pest control in the garden, and the fact that they are compost machines.

We had three chickens to start: a Rhode Island Red (that was supposed to be a Buff Orpington named Buffy, the Grub Slayer, but the feed store personnel mis-typed her), an australorp (who died recently), and a leghorn. We'll be replacing our australorp in the spring and adding three aurcunas, because I want the colored eggs.

Our original three choices were due to the chickens' temperaments and their cold hardiness.

Phelan said...

Donna, what type of bannies are you getting?

Cheryl, you are welcome.

Gretchan, nothing wrong with them being pets. My goats are.

Monica, thank you. We have a hawk couple about. But there is so much prey here they tend to leave our birds alone. oh and hahaha!

Gina, nor can I. I love my pets just as much.

Wendy, good choices. I have several australorps and aurcunas. The colored eggs get a lot of attention.

Thank you every one for commenting.

April said...

We have a flock of 21 hens and we were sent one rooster by accident. Our rooster is soooo mean, but he does a great job protecting the hens. We have austrolops, Rhode Island reds, White leghorns, auracana and cinnamon queens. My favorite are the leghorns, their curious and not afraid of anything. I love the auracanas eggs, but they are not very good layers. I want to try some other varieties this year. Chickens are so fun!

gtr said...

I'm late to this, but one more comment:

We have Buff Orpingtons, which have worked out great for us. They are amazingly calm (no fear of the roosters), cold hardy for our crazy cold winters, and good mothers. We are complete greenhorns, and had 2 hens hatch out all 8 of the eggs they sat on last year; they were great moms! Yay for Buff Orps!

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