Sunday, January 11, 2009

Spring Chicks Ordered

I ordered this year's chicks from Ideal Poultry today. I'm adding 7 layers to my flock of 14 to help keep my customers satisfied as well as to keep our egg supply where I need it. Derek wanted to get a Golden Campine, and I thought it would be fun to have one white egg layer. We'll always know when she lays an egg!

I wanted to try a few new breeds and chose those that are reputed to be good winter layers, except for the one Welsummer. I just had to try a dark brown layer even though most of my Australorps lay dark brown eggs. The breeds I chose are also supposed to be friendly and not aggressive toward each other. Let's hope that's the case with my new chicks. Here's the layer breeds I chose:

  • 2 Barred Rocks (to add to the two I already have and love)
  • 2 Speckled Sussex (because my friend Susan loves hers so much)
  • 1 Delaware
  • 1 Golden Campine
  • 1 Welsummer

I also ordered 10 broiler chicks, but not the usual Cornish hybrid that has leg issues. Rather, I chose these black and red broilers that Ideal Poultry offers. They still grow quickly and put on the pounds like a broiler chick should, but without the leg problems that plague the Cornish crosses. They're also supposed to be much better at foraging, something Cornish crosses rarely do.

The chicks are due to arrive the first week of April so we have plenty of time to prepare for their arrival. I plan to keep the broilers separate from the layers so I can feed them a higher protein food. Since I only ordered 17 chicks I'm expecting the hatchery to throw in more than one extra for "warmth and comfort" during shipping. I wonder what freebies I'll get?


  1. Amy, can't wait to see what 'extra' chicks you get. lol Have your raised broilers before and do you butcher them yourself?? Just wondering, may be something I could try. Good luck with the chicks. I will never forget getting ours in the mail.


  2. Amy, I love your choices! The campines, Delawares and welsummers are ones I debated over and would still like to have, along with silver gray Dorkings.

    If there is one thing I would do over in this whole chicken business, I would definitely build my coop twice as big. I should have listened to the people on BYC in that regard.

  3. We has a Golden Campine, Cinnamon, and she was an excellent layer. For her slim body, she layed a large white egg daily. She was a good forager and aways appeared very healthy, yet one day Mike found her dead, not like she was attacked but like she had a heart attack and just fell over.

    We have a Speckled Sussex, Spec, we thought long and hard about the appropriate name for her. :-) She is a good layer too. Actually, she and Cinnamon came together and were best buddies.

    I'd like to have a couple of Delawares. A friend of mine raises Welsummers and swears by 'em.

  4. Chris, butchering chickens is definitely something you can do yourself. Jim and I butchered a total of 13 last year. They weren't broilers, just the extra Orps and roosters that I didn't want to keep. (I had a total of 7 roosters in my first order). I did just a bit of research online to learn how to do it properly (you don't chop off the head, you sever the carotid artery) and together we got the job done. BEST CHICKEN I'VE EVER EATEN. Do it, you won't regret it! I just might order a second batch of broilers later in the year to keep enough chicken on hand for cooking.

    Susan, I'm intrigued by Dorkings as well and some day I just might try them. But for now I'll hold off. I think I would have built a bigger coop too. Lucky for my chickens though, they get to free range and have tons of room in the yard. In the warm months they spend very little time in the coop. The girls go in, lay an egg, get a drink and back out they go! I'm really looking forward to having the Sussex in my flock. I bet they're going to be nice birds.

    Joanna, just for fun I think I might name some of the girls after the ladies on the "Golden Girls" TV show: Dorothy, Blanche, Rose and Sophia. Of course Dorothy will have to be one of the SS's so I can call her "Dot" for short!

    Your birds are so healthy and strong. I can tell just from the photos that you take very good care of your animals. I've heard good things about Delawares...reliable layers, sweet disposition. If I like the one well enough I might get more. My favorite breed is Plymouth Barred Rocks by far. Their plucky personality and cleverness are really endearing. My girl, Betty, pecks the dickens out of me just to get my attention. The other one, Sweet Pea, is the matriarch of the flock even though she's the 2nd smallest. I love 'em both!

  5. Amy, I nominated you for an award over at my blog, check it out. Hope you will accept.


  6. I can't wait to see pics of your new chicks and as they grow. "person" (chicken?)but they look like a beautiful addition.

    My Welsummers are very pretty chickens but I haven't got an egg out of them yet...patiently (or not) waiting for Spring!:)

    I would like to try raising some broilers...I've had homegrown chicken before and it really spoiled me for eating store bought!

  7. Thanks for the info Amy, you got me thinking broilers now. Gonna do some more research. My Barred Rock is my favorite hen too. She has continued to lay when the others took the winter off. Nice large brown eggs, love 'em.


  8. chicks? chicks? chicks?!! Oooh! So exciing. I can't wait to see your peep pee pictures. So cute!

    Good for you going with some Heritage Breed Chickens.

    I have 2 Speckled Sussex, and they are my most favorite chicken breed so far. I even posted some pictures of one today on my blog. They are the most friendly and gentlest chicken and so very pretty. It's funny how long it took for them to get their permanent spangles, though.

    The Campines are gorgeous. But don't be surprised if some of your customers raise their eyebrows at the white eggs, like mine have, with the question, "Why did you include store-bought eggs with my dozen"?

    Many people seem to equate brown eggs with farm fresh and white eggs as factory farm.

    We have two Brown leghorns that lay white eggs. They are very reliable egg layers and lay huge white eggs, but I tend to keep their eggs since my customers balk at them. (get it, 'bawk'?) lol...

    Can't wait to see the new chicks!

    ~aka Rapunzle

  9. I ordered from McMurray for the end of February. I must be nuts. I ordered 50. 25 brown egg layers and 25 ornamental layers. It's my first time to order, but I lost a lot of birds over the holiday due to a virus. I hope their chicks are nice.

    I love my speckled sussex too!

  10. Ooooh I'm so excited for you!!
    I can't wait to see pictures of the Welsummer... I've seen pictures of the roosters and they are gorgeous!!

  11. I am so excited to see this post. I (not knowing what I am doing) attempted to research and ordered chicks last week from Ideal!! We got 2 buff brahma's (they're just cute), 2 New Hampshire Reds, and 8 gold sex linked. We are splitting the sex link pullets with a friend and i think she is taking the 'extras' too.

    I MUST have chosen teh right place then if someone else i "know" uses them.

    I am just worried about how cold it is here and the mailing of the babies.

    Can't wait!!!


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