Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Starting Our Chicken Co-op Group

In case we hadn't mentioned it, we love our chickens.  They are quirky and fun.  We love to laugh at their antics.  They are beautiful.  We love to look at the little details and colors in their feathering.  And they are tasty.  Nothing like a home grown chicken stir fried.

My hens have really started laying and their eggs are beautiful.  So far, we have incubated almost all of them, eating only a few here and there, to bake a cake, make egg nog for a special occasion, or some bread pudding.  Here is a basket of some of our eggs.  There are duck eggs in there also.  We can't eat the duck eggs, being allergic to them, so they will all go in the incubator.  You can also see the white eggs from my Polish hen, the green eggs from my two pure bred Americaunas and the brown from my Americauna mix (I haven't figured out which one isn't pure yet).


This last week we purchased some eggs from another local chicken lover to fill up the incubator.  Our plans are to hatch a few hundred meat birds and raise them over the summer.  We have an open invitation to family and friends to join us in this endeavor and end the season with a get together, butcher and fill your freezer kind of deal.  We have a few interested, but oddly many find this appalling.  I suppose to some the distanced habit of having others kill your food is somehow considered less cruel.  But I think the free ranged chicken who sees the sun lives a much happier life, than one shoved in a cage with the allotted 2 square foot of living space.


So we have filled our incubator.  This old Leahy incubator holds about 200 eggs.  We are not counting on a 100% hatch rate.  If I get healthy chickens from a 50% hatch, that is really excellent in my mind.  As my readers may know, in the past I have purchased eggs from other sources and they hatched, but were sickly.  It broke our heart to watch them perish with no recourse.  It is still hard to shake off that dark cloud.  But looking at my own hatched egglings and to see how well they are doing goes a long way to push it aside.


For this batch of chickens we intend to build a chicken tractor akin to this model by one of my FAVORITE bloggers.  I garner so much from this man's homesteading techniques.  It really whets the appetite to dive into this agrarian lifestyle.  We will keep only meat birds in the tractor, moving it frequently through the yard and supplementing with our local organic, whole food source.  By the end of the season we will also determine how many hens and roosters will be needed to keep up our flock on our own.  Meaning, we will be trying NOT to purchase eggs in the future, but just hatch our own with our incubator or with broody hens.  Oh I pray the Lord sends broody hens my way!


And just for fun, here are a few of our youngest chicks right now.  Please notice the orange puffball there??  That is the ONLY chick we have hatched that looks like that.  Completely unique.  We have decided, hen or rooster, its a keeper.  Such a CUTE CUTE CUTE little ball of fluff.  Of course they are all really beautiful.  I do love our chickens.



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3 comments:

  1. If it's a rooster, I'm calling him 'fireball', or maybe 'the orange menace'.

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  2. just found your blog! love it your welcome to come along and check mine out...good luck with the chickens

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    1. Welcome! I am reading your blog now. Chickens, Horses, Goats and Grandmas! How wonderful. :)

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