Chicks, Chicks, and More Chicks!
We've begun building our layer flock! We've researched our many options and drew on our experience with a number of different breeds to determine which ones would be most suitable for a self-sustaining, heritage breed flock. Our goal is to develop our own lines and produce our own replacement layers to minimize our dependence on commercial hatcheries. One of breeds we are currently raising include the black Australorp. This breed was developed in Australia in the early 20th century from black Orpington chickens, where breeders vied to produce chickens to win egg-laying contests! Thus, the Australorp is a highly productive layer of large, brown eggs. Sometimes, their eggs are so large they don't even fit in the egg carton!
Here is a photo of our baby Australorps at 1 day old
Another breed we are raising is the Delaware, a breed included on The Livestock Conservancy's "Watch" list. This breed was developed in 1940 - in Delaware, of course - for the broiler industry. The Delaware and Delaware/New Hampshire Red crosses were the most popular meat chickens until the late 1950's, when the Cornish/Rock crosses came to dominate the industry.
Here are the baby Delawares!
The third breed we are raising is the Salmon Faverolle, developed in France for fine meat qualities and winter egg-laying ability. . The Faverolle chicken is listed as a threatened breed by The Livestock Conservancy. We were lucky to find quality breeding stock from Belgium-sourced birds. These unusual and striking chickens have muffs, beards, feathered legs and five toes!
And to round out the flock, we are also raising Buff Orpingtons. Another excellent dual purpose chicken, they possess both excellent egg production and superior table qualities. They are also gentle and docile birds.
Here are the fluffy little Favs and Orps!