Saturday, May 7, 2011


     It is the time for "Peeps"
      No, not those fluffy sugar-coated marshmallow kind, But the fluffy-feathered kind.
     As my Mother found out when she took several of her Grandchildren to the Co-Op to look at garden seeds. Of course what Grandmother would be able to say "No" to such sweet little things?
     So, she now has six new "Bitties", one of which I am sure is a rooster. We have nicknamed him "Preacher", for his need to climb atop the feeder and peep loudly at his flock.
     Chickens are super ease to care for, a basic set-up for chicks is a box with a little hay, clean water, feed, chick-grit; placed somewhere warm and dry.
     We worried about what reaction the older hens would have to the little-chicks, that they might trample, peck, or otherwise harm them; But, they were afraid and ran from them. I guess that's what makes them "chickens".

Buff Orpington  (left)
      Common knowledge says that young Pullets ( that is female chickens less than a year old) begin laying anytime between 18 to 20 weeks of age and then lay continually until they molt, at about a year later. My older ladies didn't molt until the beginning of their third year and their egg production didn't fully stop while they molted, only slowed down. That ability probably has a lot to do with their breeds: Buff Orpingtons Black Australorps, Barred-Rock-Cross  ; are all heavy and dual purpose breeds.


Black Australorp

      A "good" layer will lay an egg every 26th hour ( a hour later each day) until her laying time runs into the dark hours. She will then take the night off and start again in the morning light. Hens will also announce they are laying or have laid with an individual "Cackle Song", that won't take long to recognize. Hens will lay steadily for five to ten years or more, then they are ready for the stew pot.
     Chickens make wonderful companions and pets, and there is no better way to get Organic free range eggs and meat.

Organic home layed eggs surround a grade A store egg
Bottom left corner is double yoked