Yesterday, we took a little field trip to Smoke Hollow Farm, in Pittstown, New Jersey, and bought six chickens!
We found the beautiful farm and the very laid back, informative farmer, Doreen Weston, on Craigslist, where she had advertized her pullets (young hens, but old enough to lay small eggs). We had decided against starting with chicks, who are very vulnerable and months away from producing breakfast.
Doreen was out of Araucanas, which make blue-green eggs, but had Rhode Island Reds, Black Stars, and Barred Rocks, all of which make brown eggs. We took two of each, for $12 each, and may add a couple in the fall. Doreen recommends staggering your flock with different ages so you’ll always have a high productivity average (as hens approach two years, they’ll lay a few eggs a week rather than one a day).
Tei, checking out the hens while a bunch of silly little dogs run around. Doreen also raises Jack Russels.
Doreen demonstrates how to hold chickens so they calm the eff down. When the blood rushes to their heads they stop flapping and yapping.
Rhode Island Reds, the most common backyard birds.
Our Black Stars, getting packed up in a cardboard box, customized with windows.
Hey, look at that pregnant goat.
Here’s our new bundle, ready to be unleashed in their new home, after a few hours grumbling in the back of my car while I grumbled at the traffic from the front seat, and Tei slept soundly next to me.
By the time we freed them, they had become one huge, traumatized megachicken (as Tei put it). I had to dump them out forcefully.
Starting to check out the digs…
Barred Rocks look really good with pink.
A Black Star, partying.
The dark dirt in the lower left corner is from our compost pile. The hens went crazy for all the bugs and worms in there.
Superdog was curious, Roo was scared and curious. Moments after this photo was taken, a Barred Rock escaped and Roo chased her. No one was harmed.