Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Chicks are here!

Finally, the little Peeps are here! Today we got our first baby chickens.
When I originally selected the chicken breeds to get I looked for some chickens which are all around good chickens for people like us, who keep chickens inside the city.
My criterias were:
1. good layers, because we are only allowed a limited number of chickens,
2. non flighty-so they don't jump the fence to the neighbors,
3. quiet and more docile-not to bother neighbors with noise,
4. easy going, friendly-to make it easier on us,
5. happy with confinement-because we are supposed to keep them confined in a chicken yard
6. Dual Purpose-which means also good for eating, because the ones who don't lay well, will be Dinner

The Breeds I selected are:
1. Australorp - it is like a Orpington chicken, large, black with bluish iridescent shimmer
2. Buff Orpington- large chicken, yellow buff color
3. Originally I wanted to get some Barnevelder chickens, a real pretty brown with black lace coloring, Dutch Breed, who lays large, dark brown eggs, but unfortunately they are all sold out until 2010.
So instead the Barnevelders we got the Welsummers, also a Dutch breed who also lays large, dark brown eggs and has a brown, light yellow partridge pattern.

Unfortunately we can't get all the chickens at once, some of them won't be hatched until next week, but today we got 4 Orpingtons and 4 Welsummers. We put up a brooder, right next to our dining table. The brooder is an converted aquarium, so we can see the chickens doing their thing while eating Breakfast and Dinner and the chickens get used to us more because they see us, they also get less spooked

Aren't those cute?

Eventually the Aquarium will get too small for the Brood and we will move them to a larger Box.
Little Chicks will grow fast, around six to seven week old they should be feathered out and we can move them to the chicken coop, with a heat lamp.

My Husband Greg has been building the coop for the last few weeks, it is almost done. It will have a double run. So I can let them use one run, let chicken weeds grow in the other side and once they used one run up, move them over to the other side and let the first side recover.
I wanted the Coop look nice, not be a eye sore and so I selected a real bright color for it, which also will look nice with the plantings around it.

The chicken area is located right next to my vegetable garden, so I can easily move the chicken manure to my compost bins and let them forage inside the vegetable garden to get all the bugs and weeds before I plant. I will built a forage hoop house with PVC pipes for them, which easily can be moved over the raised garden beds or in the lawn. That will contain them, so they don't scratch out all my good vegetables. Because they will try to eat anything if you let them.

So this is really exciting, it has been a long time since we had chickens. I am looking forward to eating Salmonella free eggs, Tiramisu made with raw egg instead cooked and free range eggs taste so much better and actually have more nutrients then commercially raised eggs.
According to two independent laboratory tests of free range eggs, which were instigated by Mother Earth Magazine, the eggs contained twice the amount of Vitamin E, up to six times a much beta carotene and four times as much Omega 3 fatty acids then commercially raised eggs. They also had half the cholesterol.
So just as Grandma said, eggs are good for you! What is not good for you is the way they are raised nowadays. It is not the fault of the Egg, it is the fault of greedy, commercial mass farming.
Which actually is the problem of a lot of the foods we consume.
But that will be for another post.


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