Featured Flock Owner: Walnut Kitchen Homestead
They’ve only been raising chickens for little over a year and in that time they’ve gone from 12 to 65 birds (if you count the ducks and guineas!). Read on to learn more about how one family members interest in chickens influenced a lifestyle change for all!
Eggzy: Why do you use Eggzy?
WK Homestead: We use Eggzy to track everything chicken. This includes: tracking our flock’s egg production, keep notes on how our chicken math is working, the average price per egg, and the age and breed of the chickens we have. We even try to keep track of which breed is laying. That isn’t always easy!
Eggzy: Tell us something about yourself?
WK Homestead: Until recently, we lived in a city. Small yes, but it was a city. Like many cities, the keeping and raising of poultry was illegal. However, my daughter became very interested in chickens. She changed the ordinance regarding fowl, to allow the housing of up to twelve hens or ducks. It didn’t take long for us to have seventeen (including illegal roosters), and be above the legal limit for chickens . Because the whole family became interested in farming and agriculture, we found an old farmhouse and moved to a very rural community. We now have over fifty chickens.
Eggzy: How long have you been keeping chickens?
WK Homestead: Our chicken raising adventure started in March of 2011. We purchased 12 baby bantams, and due to the fact everyone wanted eggs sooner than later, we soon added 4 adult birds. That is when we learned about chicken math… only a year and a half ago.
Eggzy: Why do you keep chickens (For eggs, for meat, for show, as pets, etc.)?
WK Homestead: We keep chickens to amuse ourselves with their personalities (teaching them to perch on our shoulders, watching them fly across the cow pasture), keep our refrigerator stocked with eggs, and to have some rooster in the freezer when one gets old (or mean).
Eggzy: How many birds to you have?
WK Homestead: We only have fifty chickens, but when you include the ducks and guineas we have a total of about sixty five.
Eggzy: What do you feed your birds? Organic? Conventional? Table scraps?
WK Homestead: Our birds get a home-mixed whole grain natural food supplemented with table scraps, whatever bugs they find in the yard, grass, the pretty flowers, mulberrys, oyster shells, and grit.
Eggzy: How do you raise your birds, are they pastured?
WK Homestead: All of our chickens are pastured. They are let out as soon as we wake up, and have access to anywhere they choose to go. Everyone asks us how we keep them out of the road. It is a community thing, the old chickens teach the new ones, and those teach their babies.
Eggzy: Do you have a favorite breed?
WK Homestead: All of our family members have a different breed that we love. My son’s preference is the silkie bantam. My daughter loves the Belgian d’Uccle. My husband likes ones that lay large, preferably double yoked eggs, and I find that I am partial to Easter Eggers and Dorkings.
Eggzy: Do you name your chickens?
WK Homestead: Yes, every single one of our birds has a name. It is a precarious thing naming birds. The farm mascot is Uffie, a black sikie hen. She runs everyone and currently is now the proud mom of 1 chick. All other chickens are currently staying far away from her.
Eggzy: Do you sell your eggs?
WK Homestead: We will sell our eggs to anyone who wants to buy them. They are located in a self-serve fridge on the front porch.
Eggzy: Do you cull birds from your flock?
WK Homestead: We cull and eat our birds for various reasons. If we have too many roosters, want to have a chicken dinner, or one is sick. There are a few chickens that have been deemed worthy of living a full life on the farm. Most are on some sort of breed/cull cycle.
Eggzy: Do you have any advice, tips or insights you would like to share?
WK Homestead: When purchasing your first flock, join a website called BackYardChickens.com. This is an invaluable resource for help to get started and continue to raise a healthy, happy flock. 2. Build a bigger coop than you can think you can fill up. Chickens multiply, sometimes faster than rabbits. 3. Watch out for mites. They come in on hay and are hard to get rid of. 4. If you get a guinea, raise it with you flock from the start. 5. If possible, let your chickens free-range. They eat so many bugs, that there is a noticeable decrease in the ant, slug, spider, beetle, chigger, flea, tick, and caterpillar population. 5. Buy breeds that interest you, and that will be fun to watch and grow.