Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Backyard Poultry Workshop

“This is THE WORST time of the year for taking care of chickens!” Barbara Taylor and Mark Laino warned us at a Backyard Poultry Workshop they hosted on a recent Saturday at Midsummer Farm in Warwick. “If you can get through this time, when it’s cold and muddy, the rest of the year will be a breeze.”



Chickens, it seems, can be happy with few amenities. “Don’t overthink your coop.” was another piece of advice. With a few nesting boxes, some roosting space (7 inches per bird recommended), some ventilation, food, water and an enclosed – and protected-- place to run, we’ve got the basics taken care of. Their farm specializes in organically raised heritage breeds that adapt well to cold weather.



Barbara explained that chickens lay eggs until the days start to get shorter in the fall, and resume around Easter time (I never knew the connection between Easter and egg-laying before now!) Although some recommend using artificial light during the winter months to encourage more laying, it may shorten the number of years a chicken is fertile in the long run.




Chickens who feel like their coops are being taken over by nosy, noisy humans will make a b-line for the house.  These gals are ready to move in.

I love the colors of these Cubans.

Mark is holding Ming-La, king of the farm, everyone’s favorite Chinese rooster.


I intentionally bought a small “ark” coop so that I wouldn’t be tempted to overextend myself with a large flock, but after seeing these beautiful birds, I’m kinda wishing I’d made room for more….

Do you have a favorite breed of chicken?



Other posts of interest:
The Joy of Chickens – guest post from LazyMom

19 comments:

tut-tut said...

I can't believe you're doing this! good for you. The town council here is working to allow citizens to keep poultry. Keep us posted.

Joanne said...

Do you have any chickens yet? How many will your coop support? What an interesting venture, love the pic of the chickens hightailing it to the house :)

Lynn said...

Beautiful chicken pics!

Talon said...

I never knew that about the egg laying cycle either - how neat!

I envy you the fresh eggs! And will the rooster be waking you up super early? When my daughter was climbing in Mexico she said chickens roosted in trees and roosters crowed all night. I don't know if that's a normal behavior or not.

The chickens are gorgeous. It's probably a good thing I can't have any here or I'd be over-filling my coop for sure.

beth - total mom haircut said...

Oh, you're doing chickens!? I'm just a wee bit jealous. Ok, maybe a lot.

Easter and egg laying...I'd never put that together either and of course it makes perfect sense.

Gerbera said...

How cool! We have a small flock in our backyard - a rooster and 3 hens. That's the max our coop will hold and just enough eggs for us, although the kids want to raise some chicks this spring. The rooster and one of the hens are Barred Plymouth Rocks, and I'd say they are my favorite breed.

Cindy F.

Ronda Laveen said...

I don't know about breeds of chickens but some of those in the photos are absolutely beautiful.

LazyMom said...

Hey,
We have two chickens from Barbara's farm and two that came with Eglu coop and both sets of chicken lay all winter without added light. I think it is because we feed them lettuce in the winter or perhaps it is the vitamin D in the warm milk we add to their feed on REALLY cold days. They are such good girls.

midwestgreen said...

think it would be fun to raise laying chickens but I'm allergic to eggs so it seems rather silly. However, if my job were to dissappear it would be part of the making some money off this land we have plan.

Pam at HMG said...

So you are doing it this year! We took this course last year but we're still putting it off - too much permaculturing to do around the property. Maybe next year - then I can consult you on what to do!

AshKuku said...

How adorable they are.... I just envy you at your small little joys of life.... Homemade eggs too.... I'm again 'egg'cited......

Thanks for all the love u share on me & my post.... It means a lot to me....

Ash.....
(http://asha-oceanichope.blogspot.com/)

patti said...

Sigh. My best friend raises free range chickens and named her favorite after me. Dear Lacy's brains were picked out by a hawk, who lost his life after killing another chicken later in the week.

Sigh. I really miss that chicken but have adopted a rooster, who actually lets me hold him when I visit.

Your posts take me away, like Calgon beads...

k said...

When I was on the farm I had Plymouth Rocks, and they did well. We raised ours from day-olds. It was so much fun, the day the boys decided they were boys, sitting on top of the box they were living in and "crowing." The box was 20-some inches tall. I have no idea how they got up there.
There's some really beautiful guineas that I've coveted. And Buff Orpingtons, for their literary value.

Brian Miller said...

what cute pics...i love chickens...neat stuff here...

Stacey said...

If you wear red toe nail polish, the chickens will peck your toes, thinking they are juicy bugs. Pretty Chicken (one of my mom's girls) didn't leave my toes alone last summer.

Rooster Shamblin said...

http://roostershamblin.wordpress.com/ would you please read my blog about everything chicken. I have been raising more than 50 breeds of chickens 40 years.

JGH said...

Tut, what harm could a few chickens do? I hope your town decides it approves,

Joanne, Nope, I don't have any chickens yet. I think we are allowed to keep up to 9 hens, but no roosters. I'm a little worried about the dog and the vegetables- I think some additional fencing will be required!

Thanks, Lynn!

Talon, to be honest I'm kinda relieved that I don't have to make the roooster decision!

Beth, you must try a chick or two - why not?

Cindy, thanks for stopping by! good to know we can make do with 3 birds. I love the Plymouth Rocks, too.

Ronda, I'm just learning all the breeds myself. I can't tell what's what yet...

Lazy, thanks for the feeding tips! I may try...

LOL Wendy - well aside from the eggs, there's feathers and meat!

Pam, if I know the way you do things, your coop will be worth waitng for!

Ash, I wish I had a few eggs ready to share with you. I know you'd cook something amazing with them.

Patti - so sorry to hear about dear Lacy. Roosters are not as vulnerable to predators, I hear.

k, love that image of the little one crowing on the box!

Thanks, Brian!

Stacy, that's so funny. I'll have to be careful when barefoot even though I rarely use red.

Rooster, I subbed to your blog! Thanks for visiting - looking forward to learning more from you.

California Girl said...

Love the chickens!!!!!!! Grew up with Bantees, 1 rooster, 5 hens. I so like chickens.

Karen said...

Oh, how exciting! I have had chicken envy for years. But, realistically, even though it's legal to have a few in Seattle, the work and worry would probably fall to me and I don't know how I would handle the eventual death factor. So, we visit neighbors' and friends' birds and leave it at that, for now anyway. I love Barred Rock hens, so pretty, and Buff Orpingtons seem like good layers that I've heard. Silkies are so pretty and Bantam Cochins are adorable and reportedly can be actually friendly! Plus, banties have the cutest little eggs... can't wait to hear more about your fowl follies! That photo of the "girls" parading through the snowbanks - priceless.