Also, if you remember, we had a bit of "Homestead" devastation ( The Joys of #Homesteading (or trying to) #Chickens #Dogs #ToughLessons ). Needless to say, these are my three remaining chickens. I am loving the color of the black one and will definitely be looking for more next spring.
Anyway, back on topic....it's healthier to feed your family from items you've grown/raised yourself. I loathe the idea of having to slaughter anything. However, I know that by doing so, I'm putting the best food on my table for my children. I know exactly what they've eaten and how they were treated during their life. I understand about meat being essential. However, I feel there's never any reason to mistreat those animals....even if their end result is being in an oven. Actually I think they should live like kings and experience happiness.
So, what I've learned....
You have to know exactly what you want to do with your stock. This applies not just to chickens. Do you want all layers? Will you eat some? Will you buy new chicks each year or try to produce your own?
With three, there's not a whole lot to plan this season. However, I've decided the following and I've got to make my yard set up plans accordingly.
I definitely want layers. I spend way too much on eggs. And, if you allow them to free range part of the year, all you really have to do is make sure they're disease and parasite free and have plenty of clean fresh water (well and their coop stays clean). I really need about 24 just for layers. I want to have plenty for home and some to give.
I also think it's important to produce my own stock for the following year. So, there will be another (smaller) area for breeders. I'll have to pick up a small incubator to try to raise my success rate as well.
As far as "eaters" - I may not get to it next year, but I'm going to try. Again, I'll need stock as well as breeders for coming years.
Since I've decided I'd love to have a horse or two, (more details on that later) I've had to replan my yard and what will go where and how much room I have. I know I'll have to cut back on some things I really wanted to have...but I'll just have to see what we need more of.
Do you have a plan for your chickens? Tried and true chicken breeder? New to chickens and thinking of starting? I'd love to hear from you.