Here at Crazy Daisy we have a flock of chickens. Forty individuals in all, they range in age from 6 months to 7 years old. They’re primarily pets and kept for sheer enjoyment.

We started out with 26 females expecting to get lots of eggs and possibly butcher them in the future for wonderful humanely raised meat. I was not expecting the variety of personalities and affection they developed for me. It quickly became apparent that we would not be using these hens for meat. They became pets with the added benefit of producing eggs.

In the third year of keeping chickens I decided I was ready to hatch chicks from my own flock. It was AMAZING to see the chicks develop and hatch then see them grow up. This experience taught me a very valuable lesson. I can’t get rid of the extra roosters, I get far too attached. So I went back to ordering chicks. That’s why we have 8 resident roosters at the farm.

Apollo is the second chick I ever hatched

Seeing the variety of breeds available I started branching out into the more ornamental breeds like Phoenix, Yokohama’s, Lakenvelder, and the big fluffy Cochin’s & Brahma’s. They’re very pretty but lay far fewer eggs. This proved to be a blessing.

Ruffles (left) and Roy show the size difference between some breeds

Sadly domestic chickens (yes there are wild chickens too :) ) are bred to produce an astounding 250-350 eggs per year. Their bodies are not designed to maintain this level of laying and will often develop cancer/reproductive infections in later years. I lost 23 of the original 26 hens within the first 5 years of their lives. It was devastating.

Ella was my special pet who died last summer of reproductive cancer at 6 years of age

The flock I have now is a mishmash of 19 different pure breeds and 8 different mutts. None lay nearly as many eggs as the real hardcore laying breeds. But we do still have eggs for sale every once in a while.

Last years chicks are just starting to lay their first eggs. Despite the problems that can come with too many eggs, it’s still an exciting time. It signals their full integration into the flock and their personalities really start to bloom. I’m looking forward to the new year with my flock and hope you’ll stop by to see them next summer.

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