Raising Chickens on the Faulk Farmstead

beautiful eggs

When my dream of farmsteading came into view, the very first thing I knew I wanted was CHICKENS.  Easy enough, right?

 

Early days with the chickens...
Early days with the chickens…

Our feather-filled dream of 7 or 8 chickens has multiplied — now at a whopping 24 chickens!  Whoa now.  How the heck did that happen?!

Let’s get down to the nitty gritty details here, shall we?

We started our journey at the feed store.  Knowing that spring was when the chicks started rolling in, we anxiously awaited our trip into town to pick up the fuzzy little buggers.  We started with 6  initially, but after someone left the door open and the dog promptly killed 3, my husband when back into town to get replacement – 18 replacements.  Who’s the crazy one now, huh?  🙂  We later ended up deciding to raise a few for meat as well, so we found a local chicken breeder on Craigslist and purchased a number from her.  Now, we have lost a few along the way (check out here and here), but this is our current roll call:

Americauna = 6

Barred Rock = 5

Rhode Island Reds = 5

Golden Sexlink = 2

Buff Orpington = 1

Naked Neck = 2

Black Austrolorp = 2

Some sort of mixed reddish hen = 1  🙂 

"Doris" - my flamboyant hen - that ended up being a "Boris"
“Doris” – my flamboyant hen – that ended up being a “Boris”

So you might be wondering if we free-range our chickens, right?  Although we live on 5 acres, we do have large dogs (that I don’t necessarily trust with the chickens), coyotes, and other sketchy critters that could potentially harm our ladies (+ 1 rooster).  We utilized a large, mobile coop that is contained within a fenced 2-acre pasture.  So essentially, our chickens are free-rangers.  They do not get locked in their coops at any given time – they have free access to all that is around them.

The "coupe" coop - on wheels...
The “coupe” coop – on wheels…

Currently, we are feeding them a standard layer feed from our local feed store.  However, we have not been satisfied with this and have been feverishly researching recipes for homemade feed – Trust me. You’ll be hearing from me when it is decided!  We also give them treats of scratch and scraps from our garden and kitchen.  The only other “supplement” that they receive is calcium via crushed and baked eggshells – This is one of their favorites!

One of the "ladies" (chickens)
One of the “ladies”

We offer their layer pellets in a hanging feeder that stays in their coop.  Our goats had been notorious for finding ways to get to the chickens feed — So far, this has worked great!  I use a small feed container for their eggshells.  As far as the scratch, I don’t offer it free choice – usually just scatter around for them when I go out to the pasture.  Their water dispenser is the same hanging-style as the feeder – but there is also a large basin of water that the goats drink out of – and the chickens have claimed that as their own as well.  🙂

Our feeder...
Our chicken feeder…

It is true what they say: It rains a LOT in Washington – at least on the West side where we are.  Our summers can get warm, up to the 80’s or 90’s, and the winters down below freezing.  In the summer, we always make sure our animals have lots of fresh water and shade (a good chunk of our pasture is wooded, which offers great protection for all of our weather changes).  This will be our very first winter with animals on the farmstead, but we have already winterized the coop with deep bedding, a closed floor, and additional lighting.  So far, so good!

Checking out the "winter-ized" nest boxes
Checking out the “winter-ized” nest boxes

As I’m sure you may have gathered by now, this is our first full year having chickens – so no “stewing hens” for us yet!  We have, however, decreased the flock by one aggressive rooster – Great learning experience, I’ll say!  I haven’t figured out yet how we will determine who isn’t laying anymore.  But come a few years from now, hopefully I will have found a method  Bottom line, they WILL end up as stewing hens, eventually.  We would love to have a consistent group of layers (around 20) and possibly do one or two groups of meat chickens per year – But I will be honest: we haven’t exactly done much as we originally planned!

Hey now – Isn’t that one of the best things about homesteading?

All in all, our chickens are a source of constant enjoyment on our farmstead.  They are quirky, funny, friendly, and sweet.  Well, most of them, anyhow!

Our first egg!
Our first egg!

What about you?  Chickens on YOUR homestead?  Dreams of chickens floating around your head?  Yeah, I’ve been there…  🙂

beautiful eggs
Our beautiful eggs

 

This post can also be found at the Homestead Barn Hop!



Share:Share on FacebookPin on PinterestTweet about this on TwitterEmail to someone

18 thoughts on “Raising Chickens on the Faulk Farmstead

  1. If you wish to know who is laying and who is holding back take a pullet by her legs with here head down she will fight for a minute but will calm down. With the head down and vent up take your other hand and feel the vent area you will feel the hip bones upon locating them try and place four or three fingers between them. Number of finger will vary I have sausage finger so three is a count that is laying for my hens. Two they are holding out. Hope this helps and enjoy your birds they are addictive..

  2. I’m so with you, I feel like we all plan SO much…and the reality always ends up being pretty different. Love your coop, and your husbands 18 replacements story. That sounds like something I would totally do…chicken math is a real thing, for sure! 🙂

  3. I’ve raised chickens my entire life, and I never tire of them! Wonderful companions, always giving us a story to tell :). Your girls look so sweet :)!

    As far as telling who is laying and who is not, I learn by just keeping an eye on my hens. I know what color eggs each of them lay (right down to shades, patterns, sizes, etc). I notice who is going in and out of the nestboxes and who is not. Simply by spending some time with the girls throughout the day allows you to learn their routines and catch on to who is doing their job…and who isn’t ;).

    I enjoyed my visit here! I’m a new follower :)- found you through the Homestead Barn Hop!
    Take care,

    Erin
    http://yellowbirchhobbyfarm.blogspot.com

  4. This is my second season with chickens and I believe I’ve arrived at a point I need to cull out old birds. We just aren’t getting the production we should for 14 girls. I haven’t had the nerve yet, but each bag of feed is getting me closer. I too want to learn to make my own feed. Just have been too lazy lately I guess. Great set up you have! I lived up in Arlington for a few years. It is gorgeous…but WAY TOO WET for my liking! I’ll enjoy my sunshine in S. Oregon! Thanks for sharing. Great post!

    1. Why thanks! Our one chicken we had to cull wasnt too hard for me because he was an aggressive rooster. Best of luck to you! Yes, it is QUITE wet here – especially the last few days! Thanks for following!

  5. I just found your site through a blog hop and LOVE all the chicken posts! We have three “girls” and they are an endless source of entertainment and eggs! Wish I’d read your advice before we started . After five months we are thrilled we started with pullets and we’ve made friends with one but the other two are still skittish. I loved starting with pullets and getting eggs so soon. Two to three a day from three hens…enough for two of us and some to share! Chickens really are the most fun! Thanks for a great read! Donna

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Donna! Yes, I very much enjoy my time with our ladies, but we too have some skittish ones. Hoping they will eventually come around! 🙂

  6. Do you know what breed Boris is? I have been trying to figure out what mine is and they could be brothers! Thanks, Sarah

Leave a Reply