In anticipation of culling most of our flock of chickens over the next few days, as well as the three fat Cayuga drakes we got for free a couple of weeks back (we’re not eating the Muscovies or turkeys yet – we are keeping them as breeders), we loaded up the coop with fifteen gorgeous little ten week old girls last night:
We bought them for just $3 a piece (!) from our local hobby farm and got a nice mixture of different Wyandottes.
We decided to go with this breed because they are cold hardy, good for both eggs and meat and are pretty friendly and docile.
At ten weeks, these are just old enough to introduce to the bigger girls (they’re already getting along well) and will begin laying by spring. Which means they should give us an egg-filled next year or two.
We decided it was best for us not to deal with baby chicks in the spring to raise to replace the flock because we don’t want to wait five or so months for them to start laying. We would rather feed these young pullets through the winter and just keep a handful of our best layers that we have now (who are still laying about half a dozen eggs a day thanks to using the artificial light system!) while the other ones who are older and less productive can go into the freezer with the ducks (yum!).
By this time next year we should have a nice fat turkey or two to butcher for the holidays as well. In fact, there should be plenty of turkey all year long once we get a few clutches raised.
This backyard farming thing is working out pretty well! My mast cells certainly appreciate our new, healthy diet and it feels good to get back to nature. It’s where we’re happiest here in our humble little empty nest.