We know you like the idea of locally raised food, but you have no idea how to do it yourself or where to start. Purchasing fully grown laying hens gives you the ability to provide fresh eggs for you and your family without the risk that comes with raising baby chicks. and instead proceed to fully mature, egg producing hens.
The most vulnerable time for chickens is the first few weeks after they are born. They are born with soft, fluffy feathers called down that keeps them warm, but does nothing to protect them from moisture, wind, or other harsh elements. Some are also born with conditions that do not allow them to thrive. Typically, you can count on losing approximately This is a risk that is much more difficult to absorb if your intention is to only raise a few birds. Losing 10% of a flock of 50 is upsetting, but manageable...losing 10% of a flock of 5 is much more troublesome. We absorb that risk by ordering the birds in bulk and raising them as we do all of our other birds...with grass, sunlight, quality feed, and plenty of bugs.
Laying hens require anywhere from 18-22 weeks of development to begin producing eggs depending on the breed and the individual hen. We will raise them until 17 weeks old, and then they will be ready to pick up from the farm. Depending on how many chicks we have in the brooder, you may be able to get them sooner than 17 weeks, but all orders are pre-orders so expect a wait.
Everyone's circumstances are different, so how many birds you need is dependent upon your situation. Hens do best when they have plenty of room to move around and forage, so you will want to consider having an area indoors with about 3 square feet of space per chicken and an outdoor space of around 10 square feet per chicken. these will vary depending on your method of raising the birds, of course. Also, you can expect around 2 eggs per chicken every 3 days. They should produce for at this rate for 2-3 years before those numbers begin to go down. Chickens are also flock birds, and they do much better if they have company. You will notice that we have a minimum order of 3 birds per order...that is to ensure they have a flock in which to thrive.
If you're ready to order, click the link below:
No, a rooster is only required if you want fertilized eggs which become chicks. We don't offer roosters for our egg-laying program.
Your hens will make some noise but will not crow like roosters. You should have enough room for them to cluck and make some noise without disturbing the neighbors.
The lifespan of a chicken depends on many things including breed, environment, genetics and care. The average backyard chicken should live at least a 5 year lifespan with some living up to 8 years.
Most birds will lay between 4-7 eggs per week. This may vary depending on their environment, age, and stress level.
Layer feed has an ingenious balance of protein, calcium and other vitamins and minerals that encourages top tier egg laying abilities in your flock. The store-bought feed has such a blend to it, and is perfectly fine for your birds. Some people, however, prefer a non-GMO feed to ensure the eggs they get from their birds adhere to the same dietary guidelines to which they subscribe.
Much like having a cat, hens can sustain themselves with minimal provisions for a few days. Ensure their food and water are topped off, and you are good for 2-3 days. Longer than that, and you should ask a friend or neighbor to check on their food and water and collect the eggs while you are gone.
Yes! We strongly support free-ranging chickens because of the added socializing and exercise they get, but this comes with a caveat. We recommend supervised free-ranging to deter predators and ensure their safety. If you cannot be out with them while they are outside the coop, then we recommend moving the coop to a new plot of grass every couple of days so the birds and grass get the added benefits of free-ranging without the hazards.
If you are ready to get chickens, but you don't know how to get started or what equipment you will need, we are happy to help! We follow Joel Salatin's methods with rotational grazing and housing in mobile chicken tractors. If you have another method you would like, we will help in any way we can. We will also make suggestions on food, grit, supplements, local suppliers, etc if they might help you.