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October 22, 2018
Backyard Chickens in New England If you are visiting our blog from outside of New England, you may not be familiar with the unique weather conditions which can make farming decisions more complex than areas that have consistent weather year-round. In New England, we truly have four seasons: spring (mild, sunny, rainy, warm), summer (hot, humid), fall (cooler, windy), and winter (chilly, snow storms). With farming being a primarily outdoor activity, it’s important to plan ahead for all four seasons when starting out.
While some of the following tips can be applied to other areas of farming, this particular blog focuses on backyard chickens.
First things first: what are “backyard chickens”? This is a general term for a coop (home for chickens) which is located in your backyard – you don’t have to be a farmer to do this. These chickens are generally used for their meat and eggs* as well as pest control (they love to eat bugs!) as well as natural fertilizer (FYI chicken waste smells!). There are many benefits to having animal diversity on the farm when done safely. Our chickens are comprised of the following: Buff Orpingtons, Ameraucanas, Olive Eggers, and Black Copper Marans.
Why did we choose these particular chickens?
Buff Orpingtons are excellent egg layers with good meat production. Recognized variety is Blue, Buff, Black or White with chicks (baby chickens) are generally Buff colored and fluffy. They lay large, light brown eggs. Ameraucanas have been bred to retain the blue-egg gene but eliminate the deadly allele (alternate form of gene caused by mutation, found at the same place on a chromosome) of their parent breed. Their recognized variety is Blue, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Blue Wheaten, Wheaten, Black, or White. Their eggs are blue.
Olive Eggers are good winter egg layers of medium to large eggs of an olive color (hence their name) and known as friendly birds. They are a cross breed between breeds which carry the blue egg gene and those with a dark brown egg gene. Because the breeds used can vary (as well as if they are pure breed or not), the physical appearance of Olive Eggers is a vast range.
Black Copper Marans produce large to extra-large chocolate brown eggs (but sadly, they are not ACTUAL chocolate). Hens (female chickens) have an almost completely black body with copper on the head and neck areas. Any copper found elsewhere or white spots are considered bad genetics. Black Copper Marans are very hardy and great with cold weather – a huge plus in New England!
Stay tuned to learn more about how we built our backyard chicken coop and pen! In the meantime, if you’re interested in learning more about our backyard chickens, head over to Meysha’s YouTube channel for her latest video!
*We raise all our animals humanely, with love, and the best possible care. While we do consume animals as a food source, this is done with the animal’s quality of life in mind as a high priority and our standards far surpass any commercial farm. We welcome conversation-starting comments, however any comments strictly bashing this topic will be deleted.
April 16, 2019