Monday, November 11, 2013

Moving Forward with Chickens on the Homestead

     With comfort and routine set in on our homestead, so does the desire to press on toward the bigger goals. A productive garden routine was quickly followed by the addition of chickens. The first flock consisted of six straight run barred rocks we housed in a small structure built from scrap and chicken wire. Those little ones paved the way.
      Over the years we have experimented with different breeds and various coop set ups, settling on some clear favorites. The layer flock consists primarily of dual purpose birds, such as Orpingtons and Astrolourps. These breeds are prolific layers, staying in production longer than standard breeds and maintaining a laying cycle through extreme temperatures.
      Achieving a sense of peace with laying hens, we branched even further to a meat flock. Raised in season following 4H, Cornish Cross straight run chicks arrived in early spring and were harvested before summer heat set in. Lessons learned in those years brought us to a place to raise our own turkeys as well. Again, seasonal and temporary, our meat producers are raised in brooders with freedom to roam during the day.
     I am often asked about roosters. The reality is- roosters happen. While I do keep roosters with my flock, I only keep hospitable roosters and only a few. Roosters end up in the soup pot- too many bring fighting in the coop and often lead one to be rather mean. As for the 'noise'- I love it and can't imaging a day without the loud calling of my faithful 'old men'.
      Afternoons often find me pulling weeds in the garden to treat my faithful ladies with. Their chatter thrills me- watching their silly antics brings a special joy to my heart. My homestead would not be complete without the presence of these amazing and often silly creatures that grace my home through their productive presence.


1 comment:

Dicky Bird said...

I couldn't see me without chickens either. We to have had all kinds of poultry over the years. Some that stay home and others...that walked down the road to the creek.