There are many breeds of layer hens and they all have their own strengths. We choose heritage breeds that lay a good number of eggs and do well on pasture. There are breeds that will lay more eggs in a year, but too many eggs takes a hard toll on the body of the hen and they won’t live as long or remain healthy and productive as long. Additionally, high production breeds have often lost the ability to forage well so they need to have more food supplied by their humans. Of course, too few eggs means feeding a bird that’s not paying for their keep.
Each year, we choose breeds that are different than what we currently have in the flock so we can keep track of how long each bird has been on Minka Farm. Every year that a layer ages sees a decrease in the annual egg production numbers. Commercial flocks take this to the extreme and layers only live for one lay cycle (about a year) before being replaced. We give our birds a minimum of two years, longer if the breed continues to be reasonably productive beyond two years. Our layers do need to pay for themselves over time.
Brooding chickens (raising them from hatch to when they are able to be outside without regular chicken feed and no supplemental heat) is the time that takes the most equipment, feed changes, and highest cost of a birds life. While it takes about 24 weeks for most chicken breeds to start laying, they are done with the brood time around 7-9 weeks and just need a safe place to forage and sleep, food and water.
This year, we are raising Rustic Ramblers. See the Rustic Rambler info HERE.
Pre-orders are being taken now. $5/bird deposit required. Balance due at pickup.
9-week layers are $10 each if reserved with a deposit, $12 each if not reserved. Price increases weekly to cover food costs.