Well, chicken math got the best of us again. We are adding to our flock and now have 24 chicks in the brooder in our garage. If you’ve been following along with our chicken math, that’s 42 total.
I wasn’t the one who prompted the decision, but after Josh noticed most of our desired breeds at the farm store on Friday, he claimed we needed to make our move.
I was on the phone with my mom when Josh came home, rushing past me spouting phrases like “last week for Black Copper Maran”, “Easter eggers” “need more blue eggs” before disappearing into the garage. About 15 minutes later, loud noises are coming from said garage.
“Mom, I have to let you go. I think we are getting more chickens tonight.”
Stepping into the garage preparing to let my husband down easy about this addition he was planning, I find the whole left side had been neatly cleared out. Feeders, waterers and lights were lined up.
It was obvious he was determined and, you know, errrr, I didn’t want a fight.
And how could I argue?
The man had already cleaned out half of our garage which ticked away at our spring to-do list!
Smiling, I walked over to help him clean out the tub, which we use as a brooder, add pine shavings and set up the light so the space would be warm for our new arrivals. Before I knew it were were at the farm store deciding which chicks and how many were coming home with us.
We had already discussed previously that we wanted more Black Copper Marans. We have one, Dahlia, who not only lays beautiful chocolate colored eggs, but is just beautiful all on her own. We also love our Americanas and our Olive Easter Egger because they also add variety to our egg colors.
Our goal wasn’t quantity here, but quality. Keep our dozens colorful and plentiful.
We walked away with 6 Black Copper Marans, 6 Easter Eggers, 6 Black Australarps, 3 Buff Orpington, 2 Speckled Sussex and a bag of organic starter feed. Within 15 minutes we were home placing the new kids in their new warm home and inviting neighbors over for after dinner wine and chicken TV.
Why did we get so many? Have I lost my ever-lovin’ mind? Maybe. But here’s our thoughts on this decision.
Since December, we’ve been allowing our 18 hens free range in the garden and now we’ve set up a gate system to give them a paddock to graze in during planting season. We have predator pressure: hawks, eagles, owls and coyotes and we’ve seen them around our property.
We’ve just been lucky.
At some point, as much as I hate it, the reality is that at least one if not a few of our hens will become something else’s dinner, so we need to keep the flock going, and in order to do that, we need to add to the group.
I’m also looking into getting my egg dealer license to see if we can supply a local restaurant or two here and there, so we will need more hens to accommodate that venture.
Another reason we plan to add chicks each year is that in a couple of years, these adult hens will stop laying and we want to keep production consistent.
Our coop can handle 60 hens, we just need to add another roost to accommodate them, so space wise, we are good there. And, if we decide we are in over our head, there is a market on the island for young adult laying hens for those people who don’t want to deal with raising chicks. We feel we can sell the birds fairly easy.
Our small farm seems to be growing, and we aren’t stopping with laying hens. We have 60 Red Rangers on the way to harvest by mid-June.
More on that in a couple of weeks.