Thursday, January 13, 2011

Chicken Evaluation 2011

My mind recently has been focussed on renovations for the Spring. I have made countless plans now, for the garden, landscaping that needs done, building raised beds for a kitchen garden, working with the horses, and so many other projects.
 I really, really want to start getting the farm farming again. The past two years everything has happened to us. Growing veg and tilling earth has rather gotten knocked to the side.
 The first garden catalog also came in the mail this week, and when we went to buy chicken feed yesterday, the manager said they're taking orders for chicks starting next Monday which got me thinking about our own hens....

We've had this flock, I'd guess you'd call them, for about a year and eight months. Five Buff Orpingtons; four Plymouth Rocks, barred; and three Araucanas. We started out with 14, all hens, but two died - both Araucanas incidentally - leaving us with only twelve.
 The best egg producers have by far been the Barred Rocks, in both consistency and amounts given. They average about fourteen{in winter} to seventeen{in summer} eggs a week. For only four of them that's not bad! Even if they are mean.

Contrary to popular belief, a chicken does cannot lay five eggs in a sitting. It takes around 25 hours for a hen to produce one egg.

On the other side of the spectrum are the Araucanas. They lay around six a week, and that is not too bad for three in midwinter, but they definitely do not pay for themselves. They are also really wild creatures and nearly impossible to capture if one should escape. And if you do grab one, they're nasty kickers!

The Buffies on the other hand, are sweet little yellow hens. Therefore, they are my favorite. They do fairly well with about the same amount of eggs that the Barred Rocks give, but there are five Buffies.

This June will be their second 'birthdays' so we are going to order future replacements soon. I'm going together with Mum this year so I'll get to pick out a few of my own. I know I want something different, not your plain ol' Leghorns or Rhode Island Reds. One like this little cutie--
A Faverolles Salmon Hen. There is a sweeeet looking one in Mum's calendar, but it's not on the the Web. But take my word for it, its pretty darn cute.

Or maybe something cray-zay! Like this Polish White Crested Khaki. {Yes, there is a face in there :)}
Something interesting is what I'm going for. But Mum also wants good producers. So I ask you this, fellow chicken farmers, do you have any idea for me? Crazy birds you've known? Anything?

p.s. Oh, and another thing: The weather here has been crazy! Yesterday I woke up to -22* and today it was in the thirties before the sun was even up! Only here...


  1. The majority of our flock is Gold Stars, and they are sweet, easy to catch (easier than some), and are great layers.

    However, they are rather ordinary looking.

    Whatever you do, don't get silver-laced Wyandotes, cause when we got them, they were craaaazy. You'd touch one and it would run around insanely cackling for like thirty seconds afterward.

    Are Araucanas the same as Americanas? We like those too :)


    This website gives breeds and productivity. There are links under the breeds that says "FS" use it. It will open up another website. It gives a lot of info on the breeds and has pictures.

    As for personal experience we use production reds (the production version of the Rhode Island Red - much like the difference between showing and working lines in dogs) for our main egg source. We're just now getting into breeding Delawares because they're an old heritage breed that are in danger of disappearing. They're plain white birds with black on the tails so they aren't unique but they are friendly and great producers.

    Sorry I can't offer more as far as hands on experience. Good luck getting your new flock members. :)

  3. Chickens are wonderful. Guineas are better!
    Most people think they are too loud, but we have two of them that will shut up when I command them too!
    And, a little heads up, if you pick a really crazy hen, you might want to do a little research. Often the hens that are bred for looks, are pretty terrible at laying.

    Laying 5 eggs in one sitting?!?! thats junk.

  4. I love your chickens! :D