We started out with our chicken flock in 2010, and while we have added some birds over the years (the last time being 2013, I believe), many of the birds in our flock are still from that original stock. We are down to around 25 birds, which may sound like a lot, but considering that we had close to 300 layers when we started out – it’s quite a reduction. We did intentionally reduce those numbers pretty quickly in the first year once we realized we had gotten too enthusiastic, and so we sold many of those birds during their egg-laying prime.
Now we find ourselves with a flock that has some old biddies who aren’t laying quite as frequently. We love our ladies (and roos!) and they are still helpful around here, keeping the parasite load in our pasture lowered with their foraging, and boy, can they keep soil turned. But we recognize that it’s time to freshen the flock with some new layers so we don’t end up without our steady supply of delicious eggs.
We are fans of the heritage breeds rather than the production breeds, and with that in mind, here’s what we ordered this year. They will arrive next week.
We’ve had a couple of these over the years and they are lovely, friendly birds with a calm temperament. Plus: SO FLUFFY! I’m borrowing photos from the Livestock Conservancy website – you really should check their site out to learn more about their work. We ordered half a dozen pullets (hens).
This is a new breed we are trying out – I’m fascinated by the history behind it, and maybe we’ll even be lucky enough to get the gorgeous purple tinted eggs that some of these birds lay. Even if we don’t, just look at that gorgeous lady! We ordered eight straight run (could be roosters, could be hens) because that’s all that’s available for this rare breed. Read more about them on the Livestock Conservancy website.
Transylvanian Chickens (a.k.a. Turkens)
I had tried to raise some of these chickens back in 2011, but they were unfortunately victims of a mishap with a heat lamp that fell into the bedding and nearly caused a fire. The smoke that was generated killed most of my chicks from that order. 🙁 I have always wanted some of these birds and so we are going to try again. We’ve definitely refined our methods and have a better grasp on how to prevent those kinds of accidents now. George has been reluctant to get them because he feels they are a bit too phallic in appearance (they have earned the name “Dildo Birds” around here) but that just makes me laugh harder and make me want them more. Sorry, George. You can read more about why these birds have naked necks at the National Geographic website. We have six pullets (hens) on order.
I’m quite excited about these birds arrival! We order from Murray McMurray hatchery and they are a wonderful bunch of folks; we highly recommend them.
This weekend we will be preparing for these birds, as well as getting our tractor unstuck, cleaning out the high tunnel, and hopefully getting my car back on the road. It’s going to be a busy one – so until next week, have a lovely weekend, all!