June 2018: Well. Since November we've had even more fluctuation with the chickens. At one point, Jason made me count and I realized that we had 46 chickens. DON'T JUDGE ME. It's surprising how easy it is to get carried away with chickens, especially when you have an incubator, and you happen upon people who are getting rid of theres. Over Winter, we hatched out more hens, and got 11 from some folks who were getting our of chickens for awhile. We also had some deaths (some of the older girls from the Seattle folks), I sold some so Jason wouldn't leave me, and Max joined the ranks of his sister, Minion, in being a mass murderer. Now, we're at 2 roosters, 4 meat birds, and 21 hens.
Our older rooster is the one you'll see in our imagines with the funny toupee looking comb. He's a Red Laced Wyandotte and a beauty. Our other rooster is a French Black Cooper Maran. I can't wait until his tail feathers are completely in because he's going to be stunning. More than likely, we will process three of the four meat birds soon and keep one of them to breed. Two of them are roosters and right now I'm trying to gauge who I think is friendlier.
We have many different breeds of birds, which gives us the most beautiful eggs to sell, but I'm very excited about two breeds that I got over winter who aren't laying yet. I have French Black Copper Maran, Splash Marans, and olive eggers. The FBCM will lay a dark, chocolate colored egg, the Splash Maran will lay a darker egg, but not as dark as the FBCM, and the olive egger will lay an olive colored egg. I can't wait!
November 2017: I don't think I realized how often the number of hens we had would fluctuate. We started off with 8 day old chicks. We lost one a couple of months after putting them outside, and as a result we gained a rooster. Then someone in Seattle was selling 5 hens for a good price, so we got those gals as well. Then, we has a mass murder (that's a long story) and were down to just 7 hens. We've since added more to our flock and will continue to do so.
The chickens have a large, wood and clear roofed coop for them to lay eggs and sleep in. They also have another roofed enclosure for them to spend time in when they don't want to go out into the rain. Attached to that enclosure are 2, soon to be 3, fenced and netted pasture areas for them to forage on. We had to enclose them to protect them from predators (mainly other birds and Minion). We rotate them on the different pastures so that they can have fresh green things to eat.
Our chickens get fermented whole grain feed from Scratch and Peck. The feed is grown and milled in the Pacific Northwest and is certified organic and non-gmo. What a mouthful! That feed was fairly easy to find. In addition to their fermented grain, they also get kitchen and farm scraps. All of that is also organic.
They also get grit on a regular basis to make sure their craw is working properly. Chickens don’t have teeth, so they eat small stones that hang out in their craw and help them to break up their food. This is offered to them separate of their feed. They also forage for small rocks on the ground for this same purpose. In addition to grit, the get free choice oyster shell as well. The shell provided added calcium to their diet to ensure that the chickens have strong egg shells.