Chickens

Our chickens

Chickens are our farm veterans. We have around one hundred chickens including roosters and chicks. Chicken live 5-8 years in average but so far on our farm the longest survivor has lived for 4 years. Chickens are omnivorous, like people. They are cold tolerant, but need protection from wind and drafts.

chicken_summer_coop

Summer mobile chicken coop

chickens_winter_barn

Winter barn

At summer

  • chickens eat insects and worms, but they like grains, grass, veggies, strawberries
  • they live in mobile chicken coops in families of a few (6-7) hens and one rooster
  • hen usually lays 2 eggs in 3 days or 1 egg every 26 hours
At winter

  • chickens eat grains and kitchen scrap
  • to conserve heat, they live all together in big flocks in the barn, sharing it with goats and sheep
  • they lay much less eggs than at summer


Eggs, incubation and baby chicks

First incubation of 2017

White, green and brown eggs

48 eggs incubator

48 eggs incubator

chicks

A new born baby chick

We keep chickens for eggs. We have white, green and brown eggs. Why are the eggs different colors?

  • In nature colored eggs are easier to hide in grass. So some chickens preserved their ability to lay colored eggs.
  • Different chicken breeds lay different eggs.
  • They all taste very similar – there is no difference based on egg color.
  • We incubate eggs to grow new chicks.
  • It takes 21 days for a fertilized egg to hatch.
  • We start in February and finish in April so the chicks grow through the summer to maturity by winter.
  • Incubation is not a simple process. The eggs should be turned at least twice a day. The temperature, humidity and ventilation are crucial factors.
  • Baby chicks need permanent heating, and access to earth.
  • When they are six weeks old, they do not need heating.
  • They are introduced to the main flock when they are about six months old.

 

What are chickens’ other uses? Chickens can make and sift compost; fertilize, aerate and debug lawns and orchards; clean weeds; protect bees from hornets, and also – perform in circus! Old hens can baby-sit chicks, old roosters can protect and teach them. Little chicks are good in removing many orchard pests.
 


Our famous chickens

Harry, Ron and Hermione

Harry Ron Hermione

Harry (black), Ron (white) and Hermione (brown) as baby chicks

  • The trio was one of the first attempts to hatch chicken eggs in incubator.
  • The trio hatched in spring 2016. They lived at the rabbit’s cage together with the rabbit who loved these baby chicks.
  • When the trio grew up and was introduced to the chicken flock, they stayed together and kept their friendship.
  • Harry, pure ameraucana blood, died at young age (no dark magic involved!).
  • Ron, the mix of a white-laying hen and an ameraucana rooster, was the most active chick in this trio. He became an alpha-rooster by the end of 2016.
  • Hermione became a nice brown-ish ameraucana hen.
Harry, Ron and Hermione as teens

Harry, Ron and Hermione as teens

Ron Harry Hermione grown up

Harry, Ron and Hermione as young adults


Julia

Julia

Julia and her baby chicks

  • A black banty hen, Julia was a perfect mom. She had a record for eggs’ hatching, and took an amazing care of her own chicks as well as the adopted ones (from the incubator).
  • Her chicks were always very clean, well fed, healthy and good behaving.
  • Julia was killed by a mink-predator with all her last hatched chicks at the autumn of 2017.
    R.I.P. Julia!


Mars

Mars

Mars (on the right)

  • A real gentleman who always stopped quarrels among chickens, never attacked hens and protected baby chicks.
  • Mars left a big progeny and all his male descendants inherited Mars’ character.
  • We call his children “martians” even though they live on the planet Earth 😉