Our ladies are getting up there in age, and we knew we would have to address the decrease in eggs as time progressed. Since our older ladies are our first chickens, we probably don't have the heart to harvest them for meat. They will more than likely die from natural causes. I do want to raise some meat birds eventually but that's down the road a bit. My first meat endeavor will be the rabbits.
We had already discussed raising some chicks in the spring since it has been a few years since we've done it, but the opportunity presented itself to get some chicks this week. I just joined a local hobby farm group, and someone from that group was ordering chicks, so I decided to go ahead and get three. I've never raised chicks in the winter, but I thought it would give us a head start on egg laying in the spring. So, I'm giving it a go. We got three new babies today, a silver-laced Wyandotte, a black Australorp, and a light Brahma. We have been in love with the Wyandottes since we saw them at the state fair two years ago and vowed the next time we raised chicks we would get one. Now we have one, and I'm so excited. She is scratching around on the paper towels like she's digging to China. (The photo below was taken before I put down the paper towels.) We also love the idea of having a solid black chicken so the Australorp fits the bill. Plus they are supposed to be good layers. I went back and forth about the Brahma because they aren't supposed to be great layers and are more for exhibition of the feathered feet. And, we already have a part Brahma chicken, Vanilli. She doesn't have the feathered feet, but she contributes something the other hens don't, a green egg. Nate really was intrigued by the feathered feet, so I got one to make him happy. The Brahma would not have been an ideal choice for me, but if Nate's happy, I'm happy. So, there you go. She's really cute though because she already has little feathers/down? on her feet!
I'm hoping since they will be introduced at a young age to the flock that Nappy will establish himself early on and not have the issue he has with the older hens. Maybe his size will continue to play a factor, but maybe not. I would love to see chicks hatched from my own hens one day.
They are all so adorable and the little cheeps just kill me!