On 12/9/10, I brought home 2 eight week old chicks, both female. I purchased them from Greenfire Farms in Midway, FL. They specialize in Heritage Breeds and are wonderfully helpful. While a "heritage" breed wasn't a priority to me, I'm happy to support those who are doing what they can to keep these breeds from going extinct. My chicken criteria included friendliness, ease of handling, and egg production. I ended up buying a Coronation Sussex and a Black Orpington. I would've like to adopt a Splash Maran, but I don't have the space for more than 2 chickens.
Right now, I'm trying to figure out how to turn one of my kids' playsets into a coop/run. I have a small "tractor", but I'd like a coop that's big enough for four chickens, has a "person door" and a place to sit inside. Perhaps I can convert the swingset into a big "Cadillac Poultry Ark"?
Black Orpington: "Fluffy"
Coronation Sussex: "Pearl"
**Two days later, my husband came home from a business trip and said, "No way. Take them back." A week later he changed his mind. He's finally putting the finishing touches on our coop, an old bathroom cabinet we converted. In addition to the two I picked originally, we're adding a Buff Orpington named "Buffy". Will pick them up tonight at 6:00!!! (1/21/11)
5/24/11: Last Friday, I gave away our Buff Orpington. She would only lay soft shelled eggs. I tried everything recommended, but nothing worked. She went to a great farm where she'll have 3 acres to free range, so I dont' feel bad, although I will miss her fluffy golden butt. Later that day, I brought home her "replacement", a Barred Rock who was living in horribly overcrowded conditions and had half her feathers picked out. She laid the biggest egg today (her first one for me) and I'm so excited about her as a layer. I covered her exposed skin with Blu Kote and am monitoring my other two chickens to make sure they're not too mean to her. Mostly they ignore her although once in a while, my Black Orp will rush at her and peck her on the back. Poor thing. I gave her lots of chopped steak this evening to make up for it. We also got a new, much bigger coop. It's an A-frame style and my husband built it. It's perfect for about 8 hens although we only have three due to the noise and the fact that I'm not supposed to have them in my neighborhood at all! Don't tell.
5/30/11: Today we bought a freezer off of Craigslist. When I went to pick it up, the seller had a pullet that he was trying to get rid of before he moved. I think she's a Black Jersey Giant. Maybe a year old or less. So I took her! My kids named her Scout. She's pretty and, according to the owner, very sociable and sweet. I've got her in lockdown before I integrate her with my other three. Yay--more eggs!!
6/2/11: Found out that what I thought was a Black Jersey Giant hen is actually a Black Australorp. Doesn't matter--I just want eggs. And she laid her first one for me today! It weighed "Large" on my egg scale. Thanks, Scout!!