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!
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!)
White-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.
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?
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!
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.
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!
* 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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