We’ve been anticipating this day for weeks now, and finally the chicks arrived, right on schedule! We’re excited to be trying some new breeds this year: New Hampshire Red, Light Brahma, Speckled Sussex, Barred Rock, Isa Brown, and Olive Egger. Then we also chose some of our favorites that we’ve had before, or still have: White Leghorn, Golden Comet, Buff Orpington, and Black Australorp. We chose two of each breed, but got 4 of the White Leghorn and the Light Brahma, for a total of 24!
Well, we think we got 24, funny story – we ordered 24, but our invoice only says we got 22 (hubby didn’t count them when he brought them home), and I’ve counted 23. It’s impossible to count them because they are never still! We’ve outdone ourselves this year. 🙂 Each breed has been chosen for a specific reason, which I will fill you in on below. But first, let’s get to the best part, those cute chick photos!
Now I’ll give you a little insight on each breed and why we chose them.
- White Leghorn: We chose to get 4 of these white beauties because the two we had have consistently been some of our most prolific layers. Unfortunately, we lost one of those girls to a predator but our remaining girl, Tiffany, still lays a white egg almost daily. She did take a short break over the winter but she is back to her consistency now!
- Golden Comet: We had 4 of this breed in our very first batch of chicks (5 years ago now!).They were the first birds to start laying, they started much earlier than the other breeds. Unfortunately, we lost all of them to either predators or illness. We wanted more early layers so we can get back on track with egg sales sooner.
- Buff Orpington: These were also one of the original breeds for us. The Buffs are large, friendly girls, who lay extra large eggs. We now only have one of these left so we’re happy to be adding some more!
- Black Australorp: We got two of these black beauties in our second batch of chicks on the farm. I like this breed as they tend to go “broody”, meaning they want to sit on and hatch eggs. We now only have Bella left, but she is the one who once raised some chicks for us. We had hatched them in the incubator and then snuck them under her when she was broody and she was a great Mom! You can read that story by clicking here. We hope to try that again one day.
- NH Red: This breed may be a bit friendlier than the Rhode Island Reds we’ve had, and like the Golden Comets a fast grower who will likely lay early and consistently. They are cold hardy as well, which seems especially important after the frigid winter we just had!
- Light Brahma: I wanted the Buff variety of this breed but the supplier we use only had the Light version (it’s just a difference in coloring I believe). These very pretty birds are said to be good layers through the winter, are quiet and gentle, and make good mothers. It was the laying through the winter that most interested me, after this last winter when I had to buy eggs at the store! That’s why we chose to get 4 of these. They also have feathers on their feet, which will be a first for us!
- Speckled Sussex: These are a very pretty bird, brown and white, and also early and consistent layers.
- Barred Rock: A pretty black and white bird known for their friendly temperament and tendency to be healthy as well as good layers.
- Isa Brown: I mainly wanted this breed because they lay dark brown eggs and I wanted to add to our egg color palette! They are also sweet, friendly, and prolific layers. 300-350 eggs per year means they are laying almost every day!
- Olive Egger: Speaking of color palette, these birds lay exactly what you’d expect. We only had two birds in the past that laid green eggs. We had 4 of those Araucana, but only two laid green eggs as expected. Of those two, one passed away unexpectedly at only one year old, and the other just stopped laying eggs completely! I’m hoping for much better luck with the Olive Eggers!
At this point, I mostly don’t know which birds are which, many of them look much the same when they are chicks. The Black Australorps are distinct where they are black above and yellow below, but I’m still working on identifying the rest of them! Also, I doubt we’ll be giving names to this crew with so many of them! My hubby doesn’t know the names of half of our other girls now anyway.
Other Brief Farm Updates
Things have been quiet with the flocks since I last posted (knock wood), though mating season has begun which means the guinea hens have been getting much more vocal (mostly the females). They should start laying soon we hope. We still have our rooster Lemonade; he and Charlie get along, and he is fairly mild-mannered like his Dad. The chickens have finally started laying better again, so we’ll be opening the farm stand back up soon, and I’m already selling some eggs at my shop. We’re just waiting for our muddy road to dry up more.
Farm Dog Luke wants his fans to know that he has had a good winter but is happy, as we all are, that spring is arriving and we’re able to get out for more walks. Here he is showing you that he is still living the good life: