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This page is going through major editing, so please be patient. New pictures will be posted soon.
We began with twenty-five (25) hens in 2009. We lost several of the original twenty-five, but now have about 75 chickens, about 44 of which are hens. New pictures will be taken shortly. All of the hens lay either brown, tinted, or ivory eggs. In the future we will breed our own chicks and likely only buy chickens from private breeders rather than hatcheries to ensure that we are getting top-quality stock.
Here are some pictures of our heritage breed chickens. (new pictures coming soon) Heritage breeds all breed true to type if they come from quality breeding stock. While their egg production can be less than the hybrids and they tend to grow at a slower rate, these heritage breeds are generally much hardier and more friendly than the hybrids. Some of these heritage breeds were developed in the US, and were the most common chickens until about 75 years ago when the factory farm concept was invented. Some heritage breeds are near extinction.
We average around four dozen eggs a week throughout the year, peaking around twelve dozen and as low as one dozen in the depths of winter. We will advertise on this site and on Craigslist once we have surplus eggs for sale. Our chickens have 24-hour access to over 1000 square feet of pasture (November through March) from which they glean most of their food, and also receive all-natural hormone-free grain in the morning and evening. From April through October they are put in moveable coops which are moved daily or twice daily, open to the ground below.
We currently have approximately forty chickens, more than half are hens. About ten of these are Buff Orpington (see link to pictures below). Another nine are either Cuckoo Maran, Easter Eggers, and Lakenvelders. We also have five Wheaten Ameraucanas. The rest are remnants of our original twenty-five and save a few mutts and Production Reds from our second season, most of them we only have one or two of each: Dark Cornish, White Plymouth Rock, Black Giant, Columbian Wyandotte, and Light Brahma. Unless otherwise noted, all breeds below are large fowl, not bantams.
We have plans to eventually breed about seven breeds extensively and sell some chicks and perhaps hatching eggs. The seven are listed below, and hopefully we'll have strong breeder flocks established by 2015 at the latest. We're doing it in one-year stages; see below.
Revised plans for 2011-2014
Due to the economy (rising feed prices, etc.) we will be limiting our flock to seven egg-laying breeds and one meat breed. We may remove some roosters in that process, but all hens that are not one of those eight breeds will simply be allowed to live out their life here, they just won't be purposefully bred. The breeds we have decided upon are:
2011/2012Buff Orpington brown eggs [currently in need of a new rooster]
Ameraucana (both Wheaten and Easter Egger) blue eggs, green for Easter Egger
Speckled Sussex tinted eggs [currently in need of a rooster]
Silver Lakenvelder white or ivory eggs
2013 in spring of 2013 we will hopefully add:Barred Plymouth Rock (might do other varieties of Plymouth Rock in the future) brown eggs
Maran dark brown eggs (right now, we have Cuckoo, we would prefer the Black Copper since Cuckoo look very similar to Barred Rocks)
2014 in the spring of 2014 we will hopefully add:Black Australorp brown eggs
Delaware (our meat breed) brown eggs
Once we have good flocks of the above established, we may add one or more of any of the following breeds:
Wyandotte - either Golden Laced, Columbian, or Silver Penciled
Partridge Plymouth Rocks and/or White Rocks
Chantecler (probably Buff)
one of the less-common Leghorn varieties (probably Brown, Red, or Exchequer)
Of the Orpington and Sussex breeds, we may also do additional varieties (as with the Plymouth Rock doing both Partridge and Barred) such as Light Sussex or Black Orpington.