I remember reading Golden Books growing up and when I found a “springtime” set I had to pick it up for my little guy. One of the books was titled “The Little Red Hen”. Short story shorter, the little red hen couldn’t get any help growing wheat and baking bread. Everyone wanted to help eat it but she decided she made it herself so she’d eat it herself. Now, me telling you this has really no meaning other than I liked the story growing up, our chickens have arrived and our laying hens are red!
Cherry Eggers are not a commercial breed but I don’t know that they are considered a heritage breed either. This is the first breed of chickens I owned. I brought home two in school and asked my dad to help me build a coop. He said he wasn’t going to build a coop for two, go back to the store and get a few more. I wasn’t going to argue with that! That is how chickens came to be at my parents house. But this breed was a very easy going flock of birds and as their name suggests good egg layers; a medium to large brown egg. This is what we ordered for our laying hens. They are proving to be a pretty hearty chick as well. We almost lost one but I managed to save her, our meat birds on the other hand aren’t fairing as well.
For meat birds we ordered Gold-Laced Wyandotte’s. These are a dual purpose heritage breed bird. And proving to be rather temperamental to keep alive. Out of 75 we have lost 6 so far and number 7, Josephine, is teetering .
Caring for chicks is, I think, the easiest of all poultry to handle. You may not believe me after hearing the previous statement but they really are. Their care is basic, clean bedding, high protein food and water that they can’t sit in. They need to be kept warm as discussed in talking about the guinea hens. In fact I have them all living together and eating the same food. The turkey’s too!
The nice thing about chickens, aside from, bug control, lawn mowing, good fertilizer makers, eggs and meat is they go into the coop at night on their own! This may not sound like a big deal but you chase guinea hens around the yard in mud boots and your bath robe for a while and then tell me it’s no big deal! Guinea hens must be trained to go in at night and one night left out can undo all your hard work. Chickens on the other hand, if one does get left out for a night and survive any chicken eating wild critter, will go in the next night without too much fuss.
You can bet there will be more on chickens to come.