Chickens are a hobby that my mother and I enjoy and decided to venture into a few years back after moving to the country. We thought it would be neat to raise our own meat and fresh eggs so we went down to the local feed store and ordered some chicks. We got 4 Cornish crosses (which were butchered around 8 wks), 3 Leghorns (1 brown & 2 white), 3 Production Reds, 1 Barred Rock, 1 Speckled Sussex, 1 Australorp, and 3 cochins (white/black/blue). We ordered more then we wanted knowing we would loose some as chicks and several might be roosters (half of the flock was straight run) however the chicken gods were smiling down on us. We didn't loose any as chicks and after much waiting and speculation NONE were roosters. We had such succes that the following spring we raised and butchered 12 more cornish crosses. We had a blast with all of them but unfortunately after only two years our egg layers were wiped out by a hungry critter who broke into the coop over night.
Here are acouple pictures of our first flock
These two were my favorite! The white Cochin in the left picture was named was Honey and she was the sweetest lead hen a flock could ask for. The blue Cochin in the right picture was named Poppyseed and she was the lowest hen in the flock.
(excuse the bald patches in the left picture, they were molting)
(The little guy in the left picture with the blue cochin was an old beat up rooster I brought home and tried to save. He only had one wing and one eye! ... so we called him Uno) RIP little guys!
We waited several years for the right time and a new coop before carefully deciding what kind of chicks we wanted for our second flock. We knew we wanted mellow/friendly personalities with lots of color in both the eggs and on the chickens. We also knew that we wanted to raise/butcher another dozen cornish crosses. After three trips to the local feed store (Reifsnyder's Ag Center: orders from Mt Healthy, Moyers, and Privett) and one trip to a breeder (Frozen Acre Farm) we finally got what we wanted. The cornish crosses have already been butchered and our laying hens are now around 21 weeks old. Over the past week we have had a couple start egg squatting and we are anxiously awaiting the arrival of our first egg!
Here are some pictures of our cornish crosses as they progressed from chick to the dinner table.
This is a picture of our layer chicks first time outside on grass.
As they grew I started using my dog x-pen as a chicken run during the day. Then I would bring them back inside to sleep in the brooder at night (we used a large plastic storage bin as a brooder).
Then the day came when the coop/run were done and they were ready to move outside. The first week or so we kept them inside and did not allow them into the run so they could grow some more feathers and learn that the coop was home. We also put the coop ladder inside and created a bit of a chick jungle gym so they would be comfortable using it before being allowed in the run. The first week we let them out we had to put their little fuzzy butts to bed each night but in time they learned to go in on their own. The next week we changed out all chick food/water dishes for adult ones and removed the heat light. Much to my dismay we had to once again put them to bed. I guess they were afraid of the dark LOL! Now if I could only get them to use the roosting bar we would be set.
So without further ado let me introduce you to my flock ...
This is Posey our Speckled Sussex (she will lay brown eggs). She is fairly reserved but is starting to come out of her shell. She is even starting to join Chica and Darling in sitting on my knee during treat time. She is also notorious for wandering off to explore when they are allowed out to free range.
This is Paisley our Gold Laced Wyandotte (she will lay brown eggs). She is independant and does not hesitate to put others in their place. She is my mother's favorite hen and I think she may be the lead hen in our flock.
This is Nugget our Silver Laced Wyandotte (she will lay brown eggs). She is the littlest in our flock at about 2 weeks younger than the rest. However she is feisty and never lets her size keep her from joining in the fun.
This is Tilly our hatchery quality Rhode Island Red (she will lay brown eggs). We didn't think she would make it past a few weeks old as she came to us with a tilted head (which you can see in her baby picture). We still aren't sure why she had it but she has since outgrown it and is now thriving.
This is Darling our other Rhode Island Red (she will lay brown eggs). She came from a local breeder and is one of the sweetest birds in the flock. She just loves sitting on my lap.
This is Chica one of our Buff Orpingtons (she will lay brown eggs). She is the sweetest/most friendly chicken in the flock and was named by my friend's 1 1/2 yr old daughter. Her favorite place is on my shoulder or lap.
This is Olive our other Buff Orpington (she will lay brown eggs). She is also one of the friendliest chickens in the flock and has gotten quite feisty in the last couple weeks. She may give Paisley a run for her money as lead hen.
This is Chotchke our blue Ameraucana (she will lay blue/green eggs). She is such a ham and always comes running to see if we have her favorite treat ... mealworms!
This is Juniper one of our splash Ameraucanas (she will lay blue/green eggs). She is more reserved and very gentle.
This is Burberry our other splash Ameraucana. Turns out she is actually a he! So far he is very respectful to both us and his hens. He is also very quiet and I am hoping he stays that way because I would like to keep him.
And here are acouple more pics of our flock
Their first time free-ranging! Since this picture they have started to get much bolder and are wandering farther from the coop.
This little toad got lucky and escaped the clutches of our flock's sharp little beaks!
Thanks for taking a peek!
Click HERE to see our chicken coop!