Saturday, March 10, 2012

The Backyard Flock: Crossing my fingers

Somebody switched on the lights and suddenly we are getting eggs again. It's like magic.

Here's the problem: we've got nine chickens. Four of them, two barred rocks and two Araucanas, are only about two years old and, therefore at the peak of their laying abilities. The remaining five hens, a mille fleur, a buff cochin, two Polish mixes and a Rhode Island Red are either retired or semi-retired. One of the Polish mixes manages to squeeze out an egg every now-and-then. The Rhodie is eight years old and going for the longevity record.

I thought for sure we would lose some chickens over the winter, but that didn't happen. We have two coops with room for six chickens in each. The most chickens we have ever had at one time is 13. Thinking long-term egg production, we should probably add some chicks. But, when you buy chicks at the hatchery, they insist that you take six. That would give us 15 and put too much pressure on the flock.

To compound the problem, there is the dog, which we never had while raising chicks before. It is obvious to us that we won't be able to keep them under a heat lamp in the kitchen as we have done in the past. There is no way the dog is going to share its turf.

Amy wants to get chicks - and she wants them right away. I am in favor of holding off until next year. We are headed for Jungle Jim's in Fairfield this afternoon. Fairfield is just a few miles from the Mount Healthy Hatchery. I am crossing my fingers and keeping quiet.


Virgil Hervey said...

Well, I manage to dodge the bullet. As we approached the Fairfield area on I-75, she suddenly remembered the chicks. "You know what we ought to do..?" she said. "We ought to pick up some chicks. But, I managed to convince her that we needed to prepare the house in advance for their arrival. "Some other time," I said.

Rachel said...

We are raising 20 chicks for sale at my farm this year. You can purchase any number of them : ). We have Golden Comets and Australorps. Selling them at 6 weeks (April 11) for $8 a piece and 8 weeks (April 25) for $11 a piece. Let me know if you'd like to place an order!