Tag Archives: free range

Daughter of Dinosaurs

The frizzle cochins are HUGE. And I think the two white ones are roosters.

Although they are full-grown, they have yet to either crow or lay eggs, so I can’t be 100% sure yet. Once I am, both the white ones will be rehomed, regardless of sex. I don’t have room for three massive cochins – all I ever wanted was one female, which I have in Ophelia, the grey frizzle.

I’d keep all three if I had room – and if they weren’t roos.  They are so funny, especially from the back view, when they take off running. I took a video for you. You can see a little running action right at the end.

In the Spring, I’m going to allow any girls that go broody to hatch out some more chicks for me. I want some more females that aren’t quite so large (and prone to broodiness.) Broodiness is a trait I have grown to appreciate, since it is SO much easier to raise chicks by letting a mother hen do the work, rather than setting up a brooder box, and then going through the trauma of introducing the young pullets to your older, grumpy hens – who see absolutely zero need for more mouths hogging the treats. So that’s why I wanted to add Ophelia to the mix – cochins are known for being reliable broodies.

But for myself, I need more egg layers. Three of my girls are fairly old, and don’t lay except for select months out of the year. I want to add some blue egg layers – I’m looking at Swedish Flower and Cream Legbars.  Both are extremely pretty birds, with bright eggs.

Right now in the dead of winter, none of my girls are laying…which means I’m buying eggs from the grocery store again. I utterly refuse to buy just any old eggs, though – the torture and abuse of chickens is no longer something I can morally support. Luckily, there are options these days, as people are becoming more aware of how animals are mistreated on factory farms.  You can buy cage-free and “free range” eggs, but unless you’re careful, you’re just buying eggs from hens still raised in unhealthy, unnatural situations.  “Cage-free” just means they aren’t in cages…but they are crammed into warehouses with barely any room to room, and no room at all for natural behaviors. “Free range” all too frequently means the same thing – with a tiny concrete outdoor pen.

I can’t support this. Not after experiencing first-hand the joy my chickens have in their lives. So even though it costs considerably more, until my girls start laying again, I’m buying eggs from a “pasture-raised” farm, Vital Farms.

These chickens are actually outside, in a field, eating grass and bugs.  And you can really tell the difference, once you crack those shells.

The yolks are orange and spritely, standing up proudly from the white.

“I am a daughter of dinosaurs!” Every free chicken absolutely believes that in her little chicken soul. Makes me smile every time.

Chicken Progress Update

After a massive amount of indecision over wire (who knew it came in so many different types!) we bought wire and materials for the foundation.

Trenches, where the soon-to-be-buried wire will keep rats and other critters from digging into the coop.

Nearly everyone I mention the future chickens to has one thing to say: “I want to buy your eggs!”  Seriously, it’s becoming pretty well known how horrible store-bought eggs are (even so called “free-range” or “organic” eggs.  Usually all that means is that instead of the laying hens being penned in wire cages the size of a sheet of paper, they’re given “free-range” in a barn.  Packed together so tightly that they can hardly move, much less find any grass or bugs to eat.  Cannibalism and deaths are rampant.  Today’s “frankenstein chicken” is genetically bred so that it grows up from chick to hen so quickly that its bones can’t keep up.  These chickens often can’t stand without the serious risk of snapping their bones.  It’s wrong, and really sad.  No wonder there’s no taste comparison between those eggs and eggs raised the right way.

Contrast that to this (and these are actually chickens rescued from a factory):

Here’s another of the breeds we are getting: the Easter Egger.

Here’s a chick (the Easter Egger is the one hamming it up for the camera!)

And, given their name, you might not be surprised to learn the color of their eggs.  Yes, these hens do lay blue or green eggs!