So John is somewhat hesitantly letting me start with some chickens this year. The agreement that he could get a handgun if I got chickens apparently made it a workable deal. I’ve been researching my options for a while and decided I’d like to keep Chanteclers. They’re a dual purpose (Eggs and meat), cold hardy (actually developed in Canada), good foraging (less feed to buy!), calmer disposition (not as flighty or prone to be aggressive), and heritage breed (listed at “critical” by the ALBC). So why not promote a little genetic variety with a bird that fits all my other wants? Okay- one problem- since they’re “critical” it means they’re a little difficult to find. I’m most interested in the White variety, although plan to get a few partridge, buff, and/or red to supply a little color to my homestead.
I’d planned to go with Ideal hatchery and start with the colored ones, as the only hatchery that sells whites (Sandhill) requires a 25 chick order, and only 10 (now 15?) can be the white chants, which as of yesterday were sold out through mid-July. However, I ran across a Craigs list add and connected with a lady near Philadelphia who is breeding some. I wouldn’t make a 6-hour one way drive to get chicks, but she fortunately is coming to the Pittsburg area this spring with some other livestock and can deliver them there to meet me. Three hours one way for the bird I most want is worth it, especially since John and I can make it a date day and justify the trip a little more readily.
This has all just developed over the past week, so I’m excited! I was originally planning to wait until June to get chicks, but since some circumstances have changed, we should be starting with chicks the day before Easter. With that change, I think I’ll try to order my color chicks to arrive shortly after that so I can brood them together better.
Another piece I’m hoping to add is a couple Khaki campbell ducks. They’re supposed to be small, good layers (rivaling the best laying chickens), good foragers, and good in the cold (and for what it’s worth, campbell ducks also make the list of animals in need of population support on the ALBC). I don’t necessarily need more eggs, but I’ve never had duck eggs and would like to try them. Ducks are also supposed to be a little easier on your garden spaces, as they don’t scratch up the ground. So I’d feel a little better about letting them loose in the garden side of my enclosed area to deal with some bugs. I’d thought about waiting and trying them some other year, but I’m thinking it will be best for poultry relations if I start my ducks and chicks together. Most of what I’ve come across in researching if they can be kept together says one of two things. One, they get along fine, but have been raised together. Two they don’t get along and had to be separated, but usually because one was added to the other. Dominance seemed to belong to whoever was there first, and the added one (duck or chicken) lost out.
However, John’s not so hip on the idea of ducks, TOO. Yet to be determined…