I've recently acquired a number of chickens... I'm very conscious on where my food comes from and since moving to Ontario have not been able to eat the eggs offered in grocery stores. I can't stand the taste and they make me physically ill after eating them. So, we asked our neighbours what they think, and voila! We purchased 3 Lohmann hens from a farm that was closing down. They specialized in 'organic free range poultry'. For all of you who purchase these more expensive brown eggs from the store... I wouldn't bother paying the extra few dollars. 10,000 hens were crammed into about 5,0002ft They were pecked, broken and disgustingly dirty. They were classified as 'free Range' because of the 2 windows that allowed them a view of the sky. Never having set foot outside, in the grass, dust bathing or anything else a healthy happy chicken would do is commercial free range. However, it's a might better living conditions than your regular egg production enterprise (4-5 chickens in one wire 2'x2'x2' cage for their entire life... force fed and force production).
These are our ladies on the trip home!! Pretty rough, right?
|What a sight! Murphy is in the back with hardly any neck feathers, Gerty is in the corner and George II is in the front.|
We also purchased 8 chicks - 2 Barred rock (heritage breed), 2 Rhode Island Red (heritage breed) and 3 ISA Brown (commerical breed). The feed store messed up our order as I originally wanted more of the heritage breed and only 1 of the ISA brown to see how they do, but when I got there and they presented me with a tiny box full of even tinier fluffy chicks I took what they gave me and loved everyone one of them
I love this photo!!
I'm sure you all want to know names... Ruby, Ginger, Henny, Penny, Gorget, Spike, Queenie and Tiny.
The chicks were born April 2nd and are now almost 2 months old... they will start laying in another 2-3 months. With 3 chickens we get 3 eggs a day. 3x7=21 L-XL eggs/week. That is MORE than enough to feed us, our neighbours and some to friends. Their yoke is BRIGHT orange-red. They eat all of our fruit veggie left overs and give me wonderful amounts of fertilizer for the garden. They are NOT noisy and do not smell. As I live in NW Ontario we get frigidly cold winters and warm summers, the chickens do great under these conditions. With a little artificial light to keep them laying they are happy!! They now roll around the dirt, come running when they see the slop bucket and have this mad addiction to ants. They are a great addition to our family, backyard and it's wonderful knowing where your food comes from. Since we're in a neighbourhood we have to keep our chickens in a run and coop. They are not allowed to wonder around or they would be taken by either our dogs or some of the wildlife that lives around us. Their run is 6x12 - Loads of room for 11 happy chickens. I would highly suggest the keeping of backyard chickens to anyone I meet. what they give back in amusement, health and well being far outweigh the time needed to rake the poop or build the coop!
I've been trying to talk Jason into making up a crate for them so we can take the older ladies who are laying to an encampment!! I think it would be great and add such a flair of historical accuracy... however... they WOULD NOT end up in the pot....