Monday, April 22, 2013

Hens & Chicks

As I mentioned in Part 4 of the chicken coop, it is currently home to 12 hens instead of the usual 6. We decided that we had quite the little egg market going on and needed some more eggs to keep up with the demand. So a month or two ago, we ordered 6 new ready to lay hens. They arrived a couple weeks back and we have been enjoying collecting 10-11 eggs a day now.

We started them out in a "playpen" area in order to introduce them to the old hens without them actually touching. You know, so they could hear and see each other but not be able to beat each other up.

It was an awesome idea in theory but we didnt' execute it that well.

You see, hens can actually fly. Not that high and not that long but they are definitely able to hop a little fence. So pretty soon, the old and new hens were mixed together and we ended up removing the "playpen" altogether. It took them a couple days to figure out the pecking order and become friends, but they seem to be doing well now.

Mia is very good with them and likes to go say hi. We're planning on training her to keep them in the yard so that we can let them free range a bit more this summer. We'll see how that goes though.

And in other farming news, we got our new baby chicks!

We got 26 little tiny yellow fuzz balls on Thursday and happily played with them before setting them up in their new home.

There's nothing like a new little chick to make the world a better place.

We only kept them outside for a little bit since we didn't want them to get too cold.

But I think they enjoyed their time on the grass.

I forgot to take pictures of them inside with a heat lamp on them but I'm sure you can imagine it. They are actually living in the hen house right now until they get a little bigger, since it's so cold out. Once the weather warms up and they have more feathers on them, we'll be transferring them to the new chicken coop where they will live until mid-July.

Oh, and unfortunately we have already lost three of them. It makes me so sad and guilty. I know it happens and it's a part of life but still, I kind of want to cry. The remaining 23 are all looking good and healthy though so hopefully we don't lose anymore.


  1. I order my chicks a little later when it is warm out but you always loose some. It is always upsetting.Do you always get the same breed?

  2. onesimplefarmgirl - We ordered them around this time last year and they were fine, it's not supposed to be this cold the end of April! But yes, we might wait a bit longer next year, just to be on the safe side. But like you said, it's not unusual to lose a couple.

    This is only our second year doing this and both years we just got the white rocks (I think). What kind do you get? I'm thinking we might play around with getting different breeds next year and next time we need laying hens, I want to try something different.

  3. Are they all meat birds, or are you going for eggs too?

  4. Casey - The new baby chicks will all be meat birds. The hens at the beginning of the post are our layers. :)

  5. Kate - I know! I just love them so much.

  6. Jenn I buy a different breed every second year so that I can tell which year I got them. I keep them two years then 'put them in the freezer'. last year I bought Rhode Island Red x Columbian mix ( red ones). this year will be Black X sex.

    I love the black hens or the Phymouth Rock. They are both good breeders if you get a roaster in.

  7. onesimplefarmgirl - Thanks for answering my question! And that's really smart, to buy different breeds so you can tell them apart. We should probably start doing that too. Where do you get your birds from? Since we're so new to this, we don't really know much.

    And are you talking about meat birds or laying hens?