New girls on the block

We have high egg needs here on the farm. We eat a fair amount, our animals eat a fair amount and we supply eggs for a few families in our church and neighborhood. So we need a lot of eggs. And I love chickens. What a coincidence.

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One of the Golden Comet girls when she was just a baby.

In years past, we picked chickens that had a fair lay rate but also had a reputation for going broody and raising their own babies to “lay-hood”. (We also have roosters for the same reasons. You can’t have babies without daddies. 🙂 ) But in the last two years I have been leaning toward chickens that have less tendencies for going broody but have phenomenal lay rates.

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This year I am trying Red Stars, also known as Golden Comet or Red Sex-linked chickens. These girls are supposed to be laying machines.

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One of the same girls as a teenager

We also have barred rock chicks. The barred rock are a really popular chicken in our area. They are considered a heritage breed. They are winter hardy, have a pretty good lay rate and also have been known to go broody. Soooo~

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……we have both barred rock and golden comets. Egg layers and baby raisers. Heritage meets hybrid.

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Most of our adult hens are two years old and their laying days are waning. Usually I get replacement chicks in the spring. Normal people get replacement chicks in the spring. But it takes 4-5 months for the little girl chicken babies to mature enough to lay eggs. And my favorite hatchery was increasing the price of chicks on January 1st so what’s an abnormal, frugal, girl farmer to do?

Why, purchase 3 day old chicks in the middle of winter, of course! This way when spring comes around, the new girls will be laying eggs en mass! (Yay!)

But raising chicks in the cold is a little harder. Because the babies have to stay warm while they put on feathers, the chicks have to stay in the brooder. Our chicks have all their feathers now and they probably, maybe, might be ok in the chicken coop when the temperatures are down in the 30’s or even 20’s. But the next few nights are supposed to be in the negatives. Brrrrrr. And I don’t want to take a chance on loosing them. And I’m a little paranoid about putting the heat lamp in the chicken coop with all that kindling in the form of straw.

So the chicks will stay in the garage brooder just a little longer.

And I can visit them anytime I want.

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Did I mention that I love chickens?

And it will be no time till we have these in our life again!!!!

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Hurry spring!

 

What’s for supper: Baked maple chicken with rice pilaf and home canned green beans.

Today’s count: 1 egg. Only 1 little egg. WAAAA!

Weather: Snow likely. Cloudy, with a high near 28. Northeast wind around 9 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Total daytime snow accumulation of 1 to 2 inches possible. Tonight a 20 percent chance of snow. Mostly cloudy, with a low around -4. Wind chill values as low as -21. Northeast wind 10 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph.

Update~ the storm almost completely missed us. No snow. Just blustery conditions and cold nighttime temperatures.

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