We get our first chickens within the week!
We went to Tractor Supply and got organic feed, oyster shell, scratch, pine bedding, a water bucket with nipples on the bottom, and two metal trash cans to store the food, and a few other things not related to chickens.
Yesterday afternoon we put together the chicken coop we got at Tractor Supply. The weather was sunny, but it was 28 degrees, standing on our rock patio? Bone chilling. The coop says it is for 8 chickens, we are getting six. I feel it is too small for several chickens but it will be temporary for now. We are all for free range for our ladies because I want happy girls on our farm. However, I am concerned about the pair of large red tail hawks that are nesting here in our woods.
We plan on a very large chicken yard and a large chicken house that handles up to 40 chickens. Every time I talk with Brittany she has a larger number? How many chickens do we want to get? Hmmm, 15? Next time? So, How many are we going to have? Maybe 40? And then, How many is too many? You can never have too many? So, how many should we get? 140?
The plan for the yard is to plant a couple mulberry trees and amaranth around it, because the chickens will love it and we might even get some for us! There are 2 black walnut trees inside the area as well.
So what are we getting?
We are starting with six Heritage chickens that are 10 weeks old (not real babies.) We wanted older chicks because we wouldn’t have to deal with heat lamps and them being inside the house. Been there, done that in Texas. Besides, I think my 3 cats would be ever so interested in tiny chicks! At 10 weeks these ladies are almost ready to start laying, versus baby chicks who would need a lot of care. These chickens have been out with the flock on the farm we are purchasing from. Our friend we are getting these girls from has about 1,000 chickens (And 90 Red Angus). These six ladies are coming from the group of new chickens she is keeping to replace her older breeding stock.
Heritage chickens are traditional chickens that were raised by our forefathers. They are breeds that were raised of a bygone era, before industrial agriculture became a mainstream practice. Breeds established prior to the mid 20th century, that are slow growing, and naturally able to mate with a productive outdoor life.
The breeds we are getting this week will be 2 Copper/Black Marans, 2 Welsummers and 2 Ameraucanas. We will be adding Lavendar Orphingtons at some point as well, because Brittany had those in Texas and they are a sweet heavy breed that likes to go broody and raise more babies.
Breed info and pictures.
“Welsummers are a friendly breed from day old. Birds are pretty brown; photos you see of them do not do them justice. Hens are friendly and attentive and come running for treats. Eggs are shiny sprecly brown. Rumor has it this is the rooster used for the Kellogg’s logo.” says Deer Run Farm, where we are purchasing our chickens.
“Ameraucana was developed in the US. They have muffs and a beard and are very sweet and hardy. These birds have “blue” legs and lay shades of blue eggs.”
“Copper or Black Marans originated in France. Black Copper Marans lay the darkest brown eggs. They are friendly with feathered feet. Maran will do well as free range birds, not scratching up the soil too much.”
We will share more pictures when our new ladies arrive!