New chicks for 2015
We usually like to hatch our own chicks, but due to dogs, ducks, and other dilemmas, we only have five hens at the moment. And when I tried to hatch the eggs of three of those hens (Red Stars)
last year, there seemed to be some sort of genetic problem that caused
the chicks to die in the shell, so we really only have two hens with
hatchable eggs at the moment. In the end, rather than saving eggs for
two weeks to fill the incubator, we bit the bullet and ordered 25
unsexed chicks from Cackle Hatchery.
Australorps are currently my favorite all-around chicken
for our farm --- they're only okay layers, but they're meaty enough to
make it worthwhile to eat the males as broilers and the birds are heavy
enough that they don't usually fly fences and get into trouble in the
garden. But I couldn't resist trying out four other breeds as well:
Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire Red, Buff Orpington, and Dominique. I
have a feeling the Rhode Islands and Orpingtons might end up being
tractored hens due to flying fences (the former) and being too
people-centric (the latter), but only time will tell. Hopefully next
year we'll be back on track with a quality flock who will allow me to
raise all of our meat chickens and eggs for the year.
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