Life, Learning and Urban Farming
I love the egg color variety. We currently have six brown egg layers and we need to see some green.
I am absolutely in love with all the colors we get. It's really quite amazing :-)
This is probably a silly question, but when you hatch chicks, what do you do with the roosters? Do you keep them?? I love the idea of raising our own chicks, but I'm sure having a rooster around would definitely not endear us to our neighbors or the L.A. city authorities, and honestly, I suffer enough from sleep deprivation already without being woke up by screaming animals ca. 0400h....Can't wait to have fresh, home-grown eggs though, and I agree completely, the jewel-tone eggs are delightful!
While we don't hatch our own eggs, we have had one of our chicks grow up to be a rooster, and we culled him. Tool Lady and I agreed before getting chickens that 1) they would be "farm" animals, not pets, so when they stop producing for us, we cull them and 2) while in the city, if we wind up with any roosters, we cull them, too. We had our first experience with this last year when we had to cull 2 out the 4 chicks we got (one was a rooster and one had a deformed foot and would not have survived the summer). It was a super intense experience and while we don't look forward to doing it again, we know it's part of the deal.As a secondary option, you might be able to find someone outside of the city to take any roosters from you, either to keep or to cull.
Thank you! I'm sure this is an even sillier question, but did you eat them? I was also wondering how we would deal with chickens who got too old to lay eggs, given our acute lack of space here in downtown L.A. As hard of a time as I am having imagining either Chi or myself being able to kill a beautiful, loveable animal that we raised, knowing that someone else is doing it to the ones we routinely eat would help offset the trauma of it, since after all we are cats/carnivores who happen to also enjoy vegetables :)Do you have a source of chicks near where you live, or do you send away for them, and can you recommend a reliable source? I'll have to peruse your blog further to read up on how to care for tiny baby chicks. Looking forward to picking out which species to try!
Ha! there's no such thing as a silly question! Yes, we ate them. They were quite yummy! As far as older chickens whose production goes down...we'll cull them, too. The plan is to begin culling some of our original 5 hens this fall. Now that we're up to 16 chickens (if all of our 9 chicks grow up to be ladies, that is), we'll begin rotating out chickens each year and rotating in new chicks. The goal will be to always have between...oh...12 and 15 laying hens at a time of different ages, never letting them get past an age that they'll be good for stew, too. Like I said before, it's not an easy of necessarily fun process, but it does give you some serious perspective on our food sources. Plus, you know exactly what's gone into your own chicken, as opposed o what you get form the grocery store.We get our chicks from a local feed store called The Feed Bin. They have a pretty good selection each year, so I've never ordered them to be delivered. I bet that one of the forums on www.backyardchickens.com would be able to give you some good ideas on where to order them if you can't find them close to home :-)
Thanks again!! I don't suppose you did a blog about the culling process and preparing the unfortunate ones for eating, but in case you did, I'd be most grateful if you would post a link to it so I can at least start getting mentally prepared :SI'm smiling as I'm thinking about Chi (my husband who was born and raised in central Tokyo) being able to imagine reaching a point in his life where he would be raising, killing and eating his own chickens in the middle of L.A.!!!
Here's the post I did last year about our first culling experience: http://skymindedandevergrowing.blogspot.com/2011/06/and-then-there-were-seven.htmlI think that next time I will do a proper DIY, but since last time was our first time ever culling, I didn't think it was appropriate :-)
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