Our Blue Egg Laying Chickens Arrived

IMG_3033We stopped by our local farm store in Gig Harbor to pick up rabbit feed…and ended up ordering our laying flock.    This past weekend, our little Americaunas were delivered.

I had toyed with the idea of getting laying hens who were older (since I’m impatient) but in the long game, we want to produce meat birds, laying birds and birds for sale.   For our birds that we sell, there are specific breeds we want, so I decided to patiently wait 6 months for eggs and do it right the first time.

One of the birds we want to produce to sell to backyard chicken keepers is the Americauna.  These chickens produce blue eggs, are cold hardy and will lay all winter (with winter laying prep set up in their coop) and are a gentle breed.   These are all traits we are especially looking for, as our entire farm is focused on getting kids in touch with where their food comes from.

First, our Americaunas will be laying hens.   Their blue eggs will be the prize in every dozen eggs we send out.   I can imagine the eyes of the child who gets the “blue egg” out of the dozen, and it’s that delight which brings the blue egg layers to our flock.   We’ll be sending a half dozen eggs out with our weekly CSA produce baskets and we also expect to have a few “egg-only” customers.

As they start laying, we’ll bring in an Americauna Rooster for our ladies.   When it’s time to breed the flock, we’ll separate our Americauna’s to allow for a week of hatching eggs.   We’ll add a couple new pullets to our flock, but the majority of these chicks will be sold as  pullets to local backyard keepers.

Since we will have both Americauna and Silver Laced Wyandottes, we’ll also breed the ladies to get a flock of Olive Eggers.   Olive Eggers produce “green eggs”.   You achieve an Olive Egger by mixing a blue laying chicken with a brown laying chicken variety.   So, to get this combo, we’ll send our Silver Laced Wyandotte Rooster for a visit with our Americauna ladies and we’ll get baby Olive Eggers from them, for eggs and for backyard chicken flocks in the Seattle area.

We got them settled into their new digs.   Unlike our Seramas, these little ones will rapidly outgrow their broodery, but for now, they are housed in our “broodery” – repurposed rabbit cages that weren’t working really well for our “poo producers”.

Baby chicks need to have the temperature at 90 degrees for the first week, so we added a heat lamp (which at the rate I’m gaining chicks, I may need to start buying in bulk) gave them our chick starter feed in a new feeder and put a waterer in there.   I dipped each of the chicks beaks into the water, so they would know it was in there.

This morning they are all very active and healthy, so at this point, it looks like we’ll see blue eggs in June.

Do you want to start your own blue egg layers from chick stage?

First, the easiest way to get your chicks is from a local breeder or your local farm store.  You CAN mail order, but many of the online hatcheries have large minimum orders, and you have to be available as soon as they arrive at the post office (sometimes 5 am in the morning) as the post office isn’t super comfortable with the little peeps coming from the box.

I chose not to go the mail order route, and was happy that I got to see that the chicks were happy and healthy when I picked them up.

Set up your broodery.   For our complete directions to set up your new chicks home, CLICK HERE.   We already had most of the things we needed, but we picked up a new feeder, waterer and heat lamp to go into the cage we’ve set up.

We set up the feeders.  We feed our flock an organic feed.  There are many to choose from, but we chose to go with Scratch N Peck Feeds.  It’s important to start your birds with a chick starter, as the crumbles are small and easily digested.