CHICKENS - THE GATEWAY DRUG OF FARM ANIMALS
Updated: Feb 26, 2021
With all the new faces around here, I thought now was a good time for a re-introduction. Hi! My name is Laurel, and I live on a 50-acre farm in Southwestern Ontario with my husband Andy + 2 little farmers. I grew up on this farm, and so did my dad - so that makes us a third-generation farm.
We moved back here almost 4 years ago now, and we've had chickens from the beginning, although it wasn't until last year that we really started becoming interested in expanding our flock. Anyone who has chickens knows, once you start adding more, there is NO stopping. Our small free-range flock is now up to 16 laying hens - comprised of the following breeds: Silver-laced Wyandotte, Columbian rock, Barred Plymouth Rock, Red Sex-link, Lavender Orpington, and Azure Blue. We have been selling our farm-fresh eggs to some pretty amazing customers in the local community and are so excited to hear that they love them as much as we do.
So what's next for the farm? Well, we currently have a batch of 2-3 week-old Easter-egger + Olive-egger chicks that we plan on integrating with the girls when they're a bit older. Additionally, next week I will be receiving an ambitious order of hatching eggs that I am going to be incubating myself (WISH ME LUCK). The breeds I'm expecting from this hatch are Welsummers, Copper Marans, True Whiting Greens, Silkies + (more) Easter Eggers. We will also be getting 8 ready-to-lay pullets (Azure Blue + RSL) at the end of March, plus another 6 more in June (Midnight Majesty Marans).
Have I lost you with the chicken math yet? Yep, same. No idea - and that's just the chicken side of things (albeit, a glorious side). Now that I feel temporarily satisfied with the chicken expansion, I think to myself - WHAT ELSE CAN I ADD? The answer to this is simple, but dangerous: ANYTHING I WANT. Honestly if you have the proper infrastructure (for us, that is a pretty decent-sized barn) the opportunities are limitless.
For example, just yesterday I ordered some more hatching eggs for May - but this time, they are DUCK eggs. If you think chicks are cute... buckle up for ducklings, y'all. I've decided to start "small" with a dozen Cayugas + a dozen Welch Harlequins (breeds recommended to me by a good friend and fellow Canadian farmher with oodles of duck experience). Why ducks? The hens lay eggs! While I've never actually had a duck egg before, I've heard they are slightly larger but otherwise very similar to a free-range chicken egg - so I am excited to try! Plus they are GORGEOUS. And fun. And omg did I mention the Cayuga eggs are the most stunning black/grey eggs. If we grow to love having ducks (which knowing me, is a no-brainer) then one day we'd love to be able to add fresh duck eggs to our list of community offerings.
So this is what's coming up next for the farm. And by next, I mean in the next couple months... because you KNOW I've packed the rest of the year with exciting additions as well. If you're new here, you may not know that we are starting our own fold of Scottish Highland cattle later this year. They're gloriously FANTASTIC beasts and I couldn't be more excited for those gals... but that's a whole other post. Having livestock, we really want a livestock guardian animal for the barnyard. We already have two dogs, so as much as I'd love a LGD, I just don't have the time to properly train one at this point. Another option for a livestock animal I've learned are donkeys - I had no idea the hatred these animals innately have for coyotes/canines. Who knew? Honestly, I'll find any excuse to get another farm animal and this makes for a pretty good one. So I am currently on the donkey search - I do have a possible match (fingers crossed) with a farmher friend in the area-ish that I hope works out for the fall.
Anyway, that's the farm in a nutshell - for now. Talk to me in 5-7 business days and I'll probably have a whole new species lined up. I can't help myself, this farming thing is just too dang fun.
Thanks for reading + following along with us. We are so excited to see everything come together for the farm this year and are thrilled to have people like you supporting us as well.