Who's fuzzier? Our Silkie chickens (top right) or our Lionhead rabbit (top left). That was our inspiration for this video. But obviously that topic doesn't take more than a few seconds to come to the conclusion to! So we thought about why we have the chickens that we have... specifically the breeds that we picked, why we picked them, and the different categories that we think about our chickens in.
1 - Layers... we have about 50 layers in our main flock. About 30 currently laying and 20 newbie layers. And they exist to produce eggs for our family. A secondary perk is the entertainment that they provide, so we love to keep a wide variety of breeds and variety in our flock. Our brown egg layers (Australorps, Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds) are the most efficient layers, laying an egg every 26 hours or so. But we also loved colorful eggs - like the blue/green eggs from our Ameraucanas, and dark brown eggs from our Welsummers and Black Copper Marans.
2 - Meatbirds... we've raised Cornish Cross and Red Rangers in the past to fill our freezer and feed our family, but we don't currently have any meatbirds. We do need to raise some more soon to fill our fridge for the winter. I cut a part of this video (due to time) talking about the pros and cons of fast growing meat birds like Cornish Cross and slower, more active meat birds like the Red Rangers. Bottom line, do what meets your vision and priorities for a meat bird. A Cornish Cross will taste great, be very efficient for how fast it will grow, but it lives a sad life, not being very active, and often having leg problems and dying due to inactivity. Red Rangers, or other hybrid meat birds are our preferred breeds since they act like a chicken should act, even though they take 4+ additional weeks to get to butchering size.
3 - Pets... this video was inspired by our Silkies and other bantam breeds. Birds that are small, fun in appearance, and serve less of a productive purpose and more of a family pet purpose. Now Silkies and small Cochins are great broody hens and have both hatched out birds for us, but their eggs are small and they don't have much meat on them to be a sustainable food source for our family. But having a small batch of bantams adds a lot of entertainment on our farm!
At the end of this video, we introduce a giveaway that is running for the next week. A giveaway for the book, "99½ Homesteading Poems" by Kenny Coogan. Be sure to enter HERE for the opportunity to win 1 of 5 books that we were honored to write a review for (listed on the back of the book).