Anticipating Laying Hens

One of our goals is to live on a homestead in the meantime we are renting until we find that perfect home.  Okay well, at least a home with it’s own well water.  On that homestead we want to raise all our own meat.  This includes grass fed beef, pasture raised chickens, all natural pork, and laying hens.  Robert has much experience in the grass fed beef department and we have one season of experience with pastured poultry.  While Robert has raised pork we do need more experience with heritage breeds and all natural raising practices.  What he has never raised is laying hens. But my family did raise laying hens.  We lived in the suburbs on a little land and we always had fresh eggs.  We didn’t have a pastured system and I don’t remember the breed but the eggs were brown and the yolk was dark orange.  Just the way it should be.

We will soon be at our new rented home and we have decided that laying hens would be a reasonable and valuable addition to our backyard.  Robert has done some research into breeds and I will let him share that in a later post.  What I am asking for today is your input.  What breeds have you tried and loved?  Who are the good producers?  Who are the gentle girls?  Who are the hardy gals?

In this experimental stage I think it would be neat to try a few different breeds and see how they compare.  I would love to have an egg carton filled with multi colored eggs, not Easter eggs colors, but all those shades between green and brown.  I also think we will probably get started pullets.  This means that the bird is older and ready to produce eggs.  They are more expensive but seeing how this is our experimental stage I think it is necessary.  Truth be told I am impatient and want instant gratification.  It feels like a lifetime ago that we raised our own eggs and I just can’t wait anymore.

Another worry we have is Cowboy.  How is he going to react to new roommates in the backyard?  I have a feeling we will have to be quite diligent about watching him and very strict.  Cowboy is smart and learns rules quickly.  I am just worried about the mistakes he might make while learning.

Thanks,  Courtney

Advertisements

2 responses to “Anticipating Laying Hens

  1. Harold Dean

    When it comes to raising pork for home production, I believe the Berkshire breed is probably the best all around producer, the hardiest and produces the most meat for the least amount of feed. Here at home when I was a kid, the pigs lived in the woods and foraged for a good deal of their food. There is nothing to equal the taste of home ground sage sausage from an acorn fattened pig or the smoked hams and bacons from the same. We abondonded the Berkshire when I was in my late teens and went to the Yorkshire breed because we were raising strictly market pork at that time and for some strange reason, the stock markets classed the berkshire as a fat breed and we did not get the proper price per pound for out swine. We never could convince them otherwise, so we switched to yorkshires for the premium prices and they are a very hardy and good producer except they must be kept shaded in the summertime because they are susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. You already have my opinions on the chickens and I will stick by my recommendations on them. Harold

  2. Thanks Harold, your insights are always appreciated. I remember you mentioned some fine chicken breeds, now I just need to go reread the comment and refresh my memory.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s