I am so excited that we started getting eggs from our backyard flock again. We had a gap in our egg production late last summer because we let our flock get a little too old and our hound, Copper, had an unplanned chicken dinner a couple of times. So, in September, I ordered us a new batch of chicks. This week they started laying!
A few years ago, I had an itch to try raising laying hens. Since I was going to be staying home with the kids, I thought it would be a good experience for all of us to partake in. Kaitlyn was also interested in the 4-H poultry project and wanted to show a hen at the fair. After much research on coops, breeds, and care on www.backyardchickens.com, I ordered up some Dominque chicks from Ideal Poultry in Texas and prepared for their arrival by setting up a large tub with a heat lamp and bedding in our garage. Scott ended up with the winning bid on a small A-frame chicken coop in a local auction, so we were able to move them outside as soon as they were fully feathered. The chicks were fun to raise and we were all very pleased with the abundant number of eggs they produced when they matured. I was able to make a lot of egg noodles, angel food cakes, and quiches. We had so many eggs, we were able to sell and barter with them too.
As the hens grew older, they produced less. Through last summer, we were getting a perfect amount of eggs for just our family. As the weather started getting a bit cooler, production really slowed down and we had to start buying eggs again. We decided to order some new chicks (our old hens became soup shortly after the chicks arrived). I ordered a mix of Black Austerlops, Ameraucanas (also called Easter-eggers), Delawares, and Welsummers, for a total of 9 hens. Since it was cooler weather, Ideal Poultry also sent some male chicks for added warmth during shipping. We decided to raise them too. We butchered them for meat in November. One of the original 9 chicks I ordered ended up being a beautiful Ameraucana rooster. Since Scott thought he was “cool” looking, we kept him around. It is fun to listen to him crow each morning.
As of today, we are getting one small egg per day. I think both of the Ameraucanas are laying because most of the eggs have been blue/green. Yesterday, we got a brown one, so I’m trying and figure out whom else has started laying. With the variety of breeds, we should be getting white, brown, and blue/green eggs when they are all laying.
Here’s a picture of one of the blue eggs next to a large egg purchased at the store.
Soon, we should be getting 6-8 large eggs/day. There will be a lot of egg based recipes being whipped up around here again that I am hoping to share on the blog. We’ll have some to sell and barter with again too. I think it would be fun if the hens had some of their own chicks to raise this spring, but we’ll see how that fits in with everything else we will have going on. I do know that once we are living on the farm, we will expand our flock so that we can provide more eggs for friends and family.