We are still sharpening our homesteading skills here in suburbia for the time being and our town passed a bill last year to allow 18 households to house their own backyard chickens and we applied just in time and received our permit to have laying hens.
We purchased our hens as chicks to ensure they grow up getting to know us, our kids and our dogs. Seeing as these chickens are basically pets we want them to be friendly, approachable and to live a pretty luxurious life for a chicken. We found a breeder in a town not far from us that was breeding Rhode Island Red cock with Barred Plymouth Rock hens which makes our hens hybrids. I have seen them by the name of Black Rocks or Black Sex Link, the chicks can apparently be sexed when they are first born as the males will have a distinct white patch on their head. We were looking for a good “beginner” chicken, that lay decent, have a more docile temperament and are nice to look at (as they are lovely lawn ornaments now). I’m not necessarily a beginner to chickens as my mother always bought a couple dozen pullets each spring and we always had fresh eggs, but these are the first of my own and the first time I have really taken time to research how to make these little breakfast poopers thrive.
If you are looking for a good book for all things chicken, I HIGHLY recommend Storey’s Guide to Chicken Raising by Gail Damerow. I think I am on my second or third time reading the book from front to back and it has really given me chicken fever!
We purchased our chicks about 7 weeks ago when they were only a few days old, and wow do they grow quick! On my parents farm we always just purchased new pullets as the other flock died off so I never knew how fast chickens really grow. I can understand why they are such a sustainable source of meat!
This photo is them at about 3 weeks
Stay tuned, more to come about our backyard chickens!