I want my children to have a connection to where their food comes from and to have a connection with the land. The original plan was to have five chickens to lay eggs for us and to be natural pest control. Raising your own food is elemental and gives an appreciation to life.
To make raising chickens fun, I decided to pick chickens that layed different colored eggs. We have two Road Island Reds: Princess Fiona and Chicka (brown eggs), One Leghorn/Bard Rock Mix: Ms. Fwizzle (White) and two Americanas: The Weirdos (green/blue). Around Easter we are going to have naturally colored Easter Eggs and on Dr. Suess's birthday we can actually serve "Green eggs and Ham." The Little Ladies are about three months old. We expect around Christmas time to have eggs. In the meantime, my two children are having a blast taking care of these girls.
This last weekend we got a call from our neighbor who offered us thier chickens. Apparently, they have become too expensive to take care of and needed to find new homes for thier three Austrolorps and four Leghorns. We jumped at the chance. We think the Austrolorps are about eight months and the Leghorns are four months. So far, only one of the Austrolorps have laid an egg. But, the children are thrilled!
Our neighbors claimed that the chickens had become too expensive to care for. This confused us and we wondered what they had been feeding or doing to make it so expensive. They also were frustrated that only one chickne was laying an egg every other day.
Well, immediatly we discovered two problems. 1. Not enough nesting boxes. They had only provided two boxes for seven hens. That was quickly fixed by my super-uber handy husband who quickly built four more nesting boxes. 2. We think the hens are not mature enough, yet, to really be consistant egg layers.
We know have increased thier food and added more to their diet. We are going to monitor how much they eat and measure it against cost.
More to follow.........