Once Again, We Have Chickens!

by Tammy Taylor

*this post contains affiliate link

Last year we dipped our toe into the raising-chickens waters.  We bought day-old chicks and raised them until fall when we sold them (we didn’t want to attempt to overwinter last year)  Oh how much fun they were to raise!  We free-ranged them and they made quite a dent in the grasshopper population and an incredible impact on the fly reduction on our cows in the barn pens.  Oh yeah, and they gave us FRESH EGGS!  We knew that as spring drew closer we’d consider again if we wanted to raise chickens.  The verdict is in: Um, YES PLEASE!

We Have Chickens! Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares, and Bantams.  See How We Put Them To Work - They LOVE Their Job.  #TaylorMadeRanch

Last year I learned to preserve the egg-production overage and even though we sold the hens last fall we’re just now running out of frozen eggs so the timing couldn’t be more perfect.    This year we decided we’d buy four but we’d buy them as hens instead of chicks.  A sweet friend offered to sell us four of her young hens that she hatched out of her incubator last June.  She told me that she hatched out various breeds including Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares, and Bantams. Realizing the rooster that fertilized the eggs would have some impact on the chicks hatched, here’s what I think we ended up with.  (chicken aficionados please weigh in!)

We Have Chickens! Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares & Bantams. See How We Put Them To Work - They LOVE Their Job.  #TaylorMadeRanchWhite-Black Delaware  I love her shape and colors.  Research shows this hen is primarily a meat bird but lays well too.  They’re known for their calm temperament and are good for free-range operations.

 

We Have Chickens! Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares & Bantams. See How We Put Them To Work - They LOVE Their Job.  #TaylorMadeRanch

White Delaware?  This hen looks familiar to the White-Black one above with less black coloring and more white.  The tail feathers look slightly different too, and she has feathers on her feet.  Can anyone weigh in here?  Is she a White Delaware?

 

We Have Chickens! Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares & Bantams. See How We Put Them To Work - They LOVE Their Job.  #TaylorMadeRanch

Black Australorp  My research shows that Astralops are docile and good egg layers as well as a good-sized meat bird – a nice dual-purpose hen.  I read that they are a heritage breed & they lay light-brown eggs.  She’s one fluffy girl!

We Have Chickens! Australorps, Buff Orpingtons, Delawares & Bantams. See How We Put Them To Work - They LOVE Their Job.  #TaylorMadeRanch

Buff Orpington  This girl is so pretty, very slightly smaller than the others.  I love her fuzzy body and her full-feather shoes.  I read that they are very calm birds and this girl is certainly that.  I’ve also read that they do well in the cold and that they lay medium to large brown eggs.

So there’s your official introduction to our 2014 hens,  How-do-you-do?  When we got the hens back to the ranch we initially set them up in the chicken tractor and placed it in the new veggie raised-beds RancherMan built.  The chickens are really enjoying the green rye grass that’s sprouted in the garden, RancherMan & I simply move the *chicken tractor at least once each day to fresh ground.  They’ll only be confined to the chicken tractor while they do their job in the garden and in a few days we’ll move them to the chicken coop in the barn and they’ll go to free-range status.

1880 Barn Chicken Coop #TaylorMadeRanch

I loved raising chickens last year and it looks like this year is going to be a blast as well.  Now c’mon veteran chicken raisers, help a girl out with some proper identifications!

~TMR~

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* A word about our Affiliate Link – We are currently enrolled as an Amazon Affiliate.  Occasionally I will insert an affiliate link into one of my posts if I think it may be of interest to you and both of the items linked in this post really help me in my canning endeavors!  I  receive nothing from the manufacturer, but I love my Tattler lids & thought you might too. If you click on any of my affiliate links and buy something (almost anything, not just what was linked) I get a small referral percentage from Amazon.  But here’s the really important part – the price you pay for your items is UNCHANGED.

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24 thoughts on “Once Again, We Have Chickens!

  1. Richard M. Gaskill

    My wife wanted to buy these but I thought it was too much money. At first they listed just the 6 hens for $90. What do you think? Coop is approx. 4x6x4. I have 3 Black Copper Marans & 3 Easter Egger hens all under a yr old ( laying beautiful eggs ) plus the coop, run , brite tap waterer , plastic waterer , metal feeder & heat lamp for sale. Total for all $250 . Will not separate. I’m moving & need to sell all together https://scontent-atl.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-xtf1/v/t1.0-9/11060327_10152909131434335_8801911225274597194_n.jpg?oh=d776fd826900712477eb3b984ba85a8b&oe=555842427

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Depends on the area where you live Richard. It all boils down to what it’s worth to the perspective buyer. ~TMR~

      Reply
  2. Candace

    I am so jealous! It is my dream to be self-sufficient. I love the idea of raising chickens, but we live in a subdivision that doesn’t allow it. For now, I will live vicariously through bloggers like you :).

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      LOL Candace – we really do enjoy raising these chickens and they are certainly environmentally-friendly bug control (and, you know, the fresh eggs are great!) ~TMR~

      Reply
  3. Pingback: Happyness is Homemade Party #12 - A New York Foodie

  4. Mommy on Demand

    I love fresh eggs! They taste so much better, wish we could have them in the city! Thanks for sharing at the Happiness is Homemade Link Party, you are being feature so come back on Sunday and grab our button!

    Reply
  5. Angie

    We have Black Australorps as well. They have sweet personalities. They are also GREAT mothers for naturally hatching chicks, ours seem to go broody in pairs! Have fun 🙂

    Reply
  6. Taylor-Made Ranch Homestead

    Thanks Lisa Lynn, the breeder I bought them from did tell me they were mixed – I’m assuming the hens were the breeds she mentioned and the rooster would have added the mix, I just know so little about the different breeds and knew my fantastic and oh-so-knowledgeable readers would be able to help identify. Thanks so much for your help! ~TMR~

    Reply
  7. lisa lynn

    I suspect that they might be mixed breeds. The Black Australorp is all black with a green sheen to the feathers and the one you have looks like it has lighter colored feathers around the neck. The first one does, indeed, look like a Delaware. They are all lovely hens and you will surely enjoy them this summer! Thanks for sharing on The HomeAcre Hop! Hope you have time to share again today!

    Reply
  8. Kathi

    If your buff orpington had feathered legs and feet she was actually a buff cochin. 🙂 Orpingtons have clean legs. Black australorps and buff orpingtons are my favorite breeds. They are docile and get along well with other birds. I hope you enjoy your new chicks when you get them.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thank you SO MUCH Kathi! I showed the breeder your comment and she said “Yes, I hatched Buff Cochins too but forgot to mention them!” I love the smart readers here and their willingness to share their knowledge. ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Pam from NE

    We’re going in to our second year of raising chickens. We started with 12 hens. I thought my husband was nuts when he ordered 50 day old chicks last spring. They are doing great though – even thriving in the Nebraska winter. I saw something on Pinterest about using a chicken tractor to prepare your garden beds???

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Yes ma’am, we house them in the small portable coop shown in the picture and move them along the raised beds. They scratch & eat anything not “soil” (bugs, weed seeds, grass sprouts, etc) We move them every day along the length of the raised beds – they do a fine job and they LOVE it! After the raised beds are all chicken-tilled we house the hens in our 1880’s barn coop where they have a little more room. In about another week they’ll be free range and have even MORE room. It’s so much fun, this chicken-raising thing! ~TMR~

      Reply
  10. Annette Browning

    I love love love our chickens! They have the run of the alpaca pasture and really help to keep the fly population down.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Isn’t it lovely that the chickens can fill so many needs and are so darn much fun to watch too?? 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  11. daisy

    Those are some gorgeous girls! I sure could use some help with grasshoppers. I’ve been infested with them for the past week or so. Enjoy your new flock!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Grasshoppers have been brutal here as well in previous years Daisy. What a great side benefit to take pesky grasshoppers & bada-bing, bada-boom turn them into very nutritious chicken eggs! ~TMR~

      Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Carol and I couldn’t agree with you more – chickens are lots of fun to raise and the eggs are a really nice bonus! ~TMR~

      Reply
      1. Beamer

        We have a small stable in Texas and raise chickens for fun. We enjoy their eggs. Interested in growing a small garden around my chicken area. Any ideas? Hawks have been rough on our chickens. We are trying to learn everything we can.

        Reply
        1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

          Although we have many hawks around here Beamer, we deal primarily with coyote predators with our chickens. We’re changing things up to a modified free-range system this year – RancherMan is fencing off an area inside my fenced garden for the chickens, we’ll allow them to free range in the evenings when I can be out there in the garden with them but other parts of the day they’ll be safe inside their large enclosure. My hope is that it’s a symbiotic relationship with the chickens eating the grasshoppers and any garden pests I throw their way, in addition to keeping the dang bermuda grass from encroaching. Keeping our critters safe and happy involves flexibility, huh? We’ll see how it goes this year… ~TMH~

          Reply

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