Monday, January 12, 2009
Counting My Chickens...
The Speckled Sussex
For Christmas this year, I got a chicken house. It is almost done (other projects are going on at the same time and they will return to this one, as well as a new fence around a vegetable garden and dog house/dog kennel...more about that soon, also!) and I've been holding off posting photos until I can show the sequence. Failing that, maybe I'll do a Part I and Part II.
The New Hampshire Red
I have wanted to raise chickens forever. While we had a barn at our village home in Hancock, New Hampshire we had one acre and I think the concern was, well, I'm not really sure what the concern was now: zoning, perhaps? So I've been dreaming of chickens for a long time and as soon as we got down to Kentucky started sketching out the chicken house (more about that soon, too).
We don't want to get chicks until March when it will be warm enough here to have them without a heat lamp. So this weekend I ordered our chicks from Murray McMurray Hatcheries in Iowa and scheduled their delivery for the week of March 23. I ordered five varieties for egg layers. When the Cornish X Cross meat birds are ready for the freezer, which we will buy locally through a Mennonite farmer from the University of Kentucky extension, I'll order about 15-20 turkeys of different varieties. They can assume residence until November when they should be ready for eating (and giving).
Here is what we'll have!
• 10 New Hampshire Reds
• 10 Barred Rock
• 5 Rhode Island Reds
• 5 Araucanas/Americanas ("The Easter Egg Chicken")
• 5 Speckled Sussex
In the coming months I will post pics and provide progress reports! They will likely be laying eggs by late fall. Of course, I don't even have them yet but can you tell I'm excited? Like an expectant mother I would say. My son Eli said today, "Now you can't name the meat birds, Momma, or you'll get too attached." He's right about that. As for the hens, well, we'll just have to see who is what in temperament but you can bet I already have a list of names started.