With it being spring and I finally got the hubby's approval to get Guinea Fowl for insect control, I leaped into chickens when my parents arrived for a visit. Perfect time to get chickens, all is well; a week later I added to the flock and my knowledge base for keeping Backyard Poultry. Plus it also takes me back to my younger years on our farm, when sustainable living was not as popular and I felt a lot more healthier because the items I consumed were free of pesticides, hormones and not gentically altered in some way. Why chickens? Good question that has lots of answers; but for now... my past was the cinder, my two friends the spark and wanting to live healthier is the fire.
I started this little endeavor with 6 Ameraucanas Pullets (the girls) and 1 Ameraucana Rooster "the man".
Ameraucanas, known as the "Easter Egg Breed", are a multicolored breed. They have beards, muffs and a normal tail with a tail head. They are often incorrectly called Araucanas, which have ear tuffs, are rumpless, and do not have a tail head which gives them a bunny tail appearance. Most of the chicks sold as Araucanas are really Ameraucanas, which are excellent, efficient producers of large eggs of many colors and shades including blue and green.
"The Man" is recognizable by a red mark on top of his beak when someone painted him with a magic marker.
Unfortunately, I lost one pullet after a couple of days, so that left me with a half dozen. When I went back to Callahan's General Store to get a replacement pullet, the room that was filled with chicks before was empty. I acquired when the next shipment would be and was given the inside scoop on the best days to get day-old chicks. With great anticipation, I waited for the next delivery and that gave me a few days to research other breeds. I was still set on getting guineas, but I wondered what other breeds would be good for my project, so I set out to gather reading material.
Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow
City Chicks by Patricia Foreman
Gardening with Guineas by Jeannette S. Ferguson
Guineas In Your Garden by April Howington
The Joy of Keeping Chickens by Jennifer Megyesi
Thursday afternoon finally came and I ran out to drive the 18 miles to get the guineas keets with much excitement. I arrived and immediately made my way to the back of the store to the "Chick Room". I could hear the "cheep, cheep, cheeps" getting louder and my heartrate increased with excitement. I quickly was looking at each brooder's label to see what was available. I found the Guinea Keets right away, looked over the bunch and told the lady I would take 6. As she was preparing a box, the Ameraucanas caught my eye...and 2 of these, one as a replacement and one for....just because. I asked if there were any Wyandottes, but not this shipment, the lady named off two names I was not aware of and pointed to the brooders that held Light Brahma Pullets and Silver Spangled Spitzhauben Pullets (please note that the cover of Organic Gardening June/July 2010 has a Spitzhauben), I read the information cards and declared, that I would take 2 of each. So that puts me at 12 chickens and 6 guineas, well on my way to having a Micro-Flock for my Mini-Farm... Fat Bottom Farm. Now on to more reading.....
The 6 Keets resting.
Guinea Keets checking me out with the camera.