Friday, June 5, 2009

Chickens...A Whole New Learning Experience

In addition to the ducks we added to our farm a few months ago, we have now added chickens as well. I had a few Rhode Island Reds growing up for eggs, but other than that, I have not had a whole lot of experience with chickens. We got 28 chicks this week. I was not sure what kind to get, so decided to get a variety to see what we like for future reference. We got some leghorns for meat (they told us that you butcher them at 8 weeks old....I will definitely be leaving this job up to Noah). For eggs, we got some Rhode Island Reds, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Silver Wyandottes, and Ameraucanas (they are colorful chickens that lay blue, turquoise, green and sometimes pink eggs that they refer to as "Easter Eggs"). We also got 3 white silkies which are smaller chickens with silkie feathers and feathers on their legs. I recently purchased a field guide to raising chickens and learned that the Silkies have blue skin and flesh and black bones that the Chinese believe hold special powers when ground up. We also got 2 random bantams that were thrown in with our order. In addition, we got 7 chicks from a school project. I am not sure what type of chickens these are...there are 3 yellow ones and 4 reddish ones. So, in total, we got 28 chickens....although we have already lost 2....literally. We have them housed in part of our hay barn. We put chicken wire over the top of their coop to prevent cats, raccoons, and opossums from getting to them, but failed to realize the chicks are so small, they could squeeze through the wood slats in the wall. We went out to the barn the morning after getting the chicks and realized there were about a half dozen missing. We recovered all but two of them, a leghorn and a barred Plymouth Rock. We found some of them in the walls and under the barn on the ground level. We tried pulling up some floor boards and wall boards to find the missing 2, but could not see or hear them anywhere. So we are down to 26 now. Here are some pictures of them.

The leghorns are yellow. The Rhode Island Reds are a reddish color. The Ameraucanas are stripped earth tone colors. The Barred Plymouth Rock are black with silver spots. The Silver Wyandottes are a silver/grey/black color. The Silkies are little yellowish-white chicks that look like dandelions. The bigger chicks with some feathers are the school project chicks. There is also a small yellow and a small striped brown/black bantam.

The chick pictured below is my favorite. It is really fluffy and has black eye liner. It reminds me of a panda bear. I am refraining from naming any of the chicks so I don't get too attached, but maybe I will just name this one since it is so darn cute!

Of all the chickens we ordered, we only ordered one rooster, although there may be more in the school project chicks. We will see. We failed to think this chicken thing out completely before ordering. I was so excited to order lots of different kinds and colors, I didn't think about how many potential eggs we would be producing a day. Say we end up with 18 laying hens, potentially...that is 18 eggs per day. We like and eat eggs, but consume about 18 eggs a month, maybe. So, if anyone is interested in eggs, please, please come to us in a few months. We would be happy to share with you.Also, for those of you who follow our blog, here are some updated pictures of our ducks. Of the original six, five of them have survived. One was killed by a snapping turtle (at least that is our theory). Another one was attacked as well, but we were able to keep him alive and he is now doing well. The ducks go down to the pond every morning and come back up to their duck house in the evening.

1 comment:

Dad said...

Miss McSchunchy had a farm .... Eeeye, Eeeye, Ohhhhh.