Friday, March 2, 2012

future farm critters - part 5: chickens

As you might already know, I currently have two chickens: Del, a Delaware, and Jersey, a Black Jersey Giant. Such original names. Del and Jersey have been turned into pets and will live out their lives in chicken paradise, doing whatever they want, because they've been pardoned for ridiculous reasons I won't go into here again. Even so, it's been somewhat hard to not eat Jersey because she is a really big girl and would probably be quite delicious - she's only really been spared because Del would be lonely without her. I might want to get more Jersey Giants in the future because she (and Del actually) has proved to be quite the active forager in my small backyard.

What is wrong with this picture?
(She, of course, pooped immediately after this picture was taken.)

Anyway, for my future broilers, there are a few other varieties that I'm particularly interested in. While I do want eggs, quantity is not really an issue because Jay doesn't even eat eggs, and I'm more interested in egg aesthetics anyway (aesthetics seems to be a recurring trend with me, I know - plus I like saying aesthetics). I want those fancy blue eggs. In researching the fancy blue eggs that come from Ameraucanas, I also came to discover fancy dark brown eggs. There are also olive eggs that are the result of mixing the previous two. This is what I'm talking about, people. I am easily charmed by pretty colors, and I intend for my chicken fleet... er, flock... to reflect that.

What can I say, it's the artist in me that adores this.
[ image source ]

I'm not going to delve into the whole Araucana/Ameraucana/Americana/Easter Egger blue-egg genetics debate - I'm just going to get my chickens from a reputable source from people who know what the hell they're doing when it comes to chicken breeds and breeding. There are other things I'd rather spend my time doing that crossing this with that to get a pink-speckled purple egg with green hearts and sparkly rainbows on it. Although that would be pretty fucking awesome if it really existed.

There are a few dark brown egg layer breeds out there - notably, Marans and Welsummer. Marans actually have a pretty poor lay rate, but I'd rather have fewer, prettier eggs anyway, and the birds are supposed to be fantastic to eat. Plus they forage and shit, and you know how I feel about animals that take care of business themselves. Welsummer is the breed that the the Kellogg's rooster is, and I think that would be pretty awesome to have around. I also don't plan to incubate any eggs - I'll get a rooster and hens from a few different varieties, throw them all together, and let nature sort it out. If no baby chicks show up, then everyone gets eaten and we start all over again.

Both Ameraucanas and Marans are pretty birds, too, and come in all sorts of crazy colors. I envision them scattered among the food forest with all my fruit trees in various stages of bloom and ripening, pooping everywhere, eating bug pests, chasing the dog around.

In addition to Marans, Welsummer, and Ameraucana, non-industrial Leghorns (I will definitely need a rooster so I can call him Foghorn Leghorn!) are supposed to forage well and lay giant, pure white eggs. The Holland breed is also an active forager and supposedly raises chicks easily themselves but just has plain brown eggs. Several other breeds have good foraging ability, but you first have to be able to find chicks, and the previously mentioned breeds seem to be available relatively close to us or via mail order.

Off to the Lagwagon show at the Catalyst tonight, lates homies!

~ Mitsy

No comments:

Post a Comment