Chickens, Keeping Chickens

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentine’s Day!!! ❤️🐔❤️🐔❤️

So many people have asked about these gorgeous chocolate eggs, I want to take a moment to let y’all know about them.

They are from Fat Hen Farms in Connecticut. Bernard started out breeding Black Copper Marans for their beautiful dark chocolate colored eggs. He gradually added on several other of my most favorite breeds, each known for their luscious egg colors, including Lavender Orpingtons, Blue Wheatens, Easter Eggers, and Deathlayers, (whose name always makes me think of a Star Wars-esque chicken villain! 😂 Actually, they are called Deathlayers because, unlike most hens who only lay for a couple years, the Deathlayers supposedly lay until their death.)

Bernard meticulously keeps and breeds small flocks for egg vibrancy. His approach is thoughtful and intelligent. At age 24, Bernard is not only a farmer, but also a pre-med student, so he consults with his professors about breeding projects. He focuses on egg color, but also chicken health and standards. I’ve been impressed by Fat Hen Farms ever since I came across a picture of his amazing egg colors, and had to learn more! Full disclosure: I’ve never actually spoken with Bernard – he’s probably wondering who this crazy chicken lady is who’s going all fangirl on him. 😂 The truth is I’m a little infatuated with his eggs. Sadly, but understandably, there are waiting lists for his hatching eggs and chicks. But a girl can dream, can’t she….. I recommend checking out his page, I’ve learned so much from it!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #marans #chocolateeggs #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Chickens, Keeping Chickens

What Color Eggs Will She Lay?

Jessica Rankin asked what color eggs her new little Silver Laced Wyandottes will lay? It’s such an interesting question, because the color isn’t as certain as it is for other breeds. Some breeders say “cream”, some say “pale brown”. Our Hermia lays eggs that almost have a pinkish hue. That’s her egg from yesterday in the front.

One of the reasons we got so many different breeds is that I love seeing all of our eggs being different colors. But also, I just think Hermia is so pretty. I mean, just look at those feathers!! 😍

Good luck with your Wyandottes Jessica! Send us a picture when they start laying!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Chickens, Keeping Chickens

Silver Laced Wyandotte

This is Hermia, our little Silver Laced Wyandotte. She’s a bit shy, but soooooo pretty!

When we first got chickens, I didn’t know much about breeds so decided to start with one each of different breeds, to get to know them better. It’s been fun to get all different color eggs. Also, it sure does make it easy to tell them apart!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #cooptofork #coop #barn #farmlife #coopdreams #coopgoals

Chickens, Keeping Chickens

Blue Egg Breeds

I am still learning about this myself, but here’s my understanding of it:

Auracanas lay blue eggs, but are difficult to raise as they die easily in the shell, and are only available through breeders. Auracanas have ear tufts. Auracanas only lay blue eggs.

Ameraucanas are a more hardy, and common, breed, which I believe is derived from Auracanas genes. I have found excellent Ameraucana chicks at o ur local feed store. Ameraucanas have muffs and a beard, rather than ear tufts. You can see the muff and beard on my Ameraucana, Helena, in the picture. They lay blue, or grey-blue eggs.

Easter Eggers are a mixed breed of chicken which do not conform to any show standards, but are great coop chickens. Many feed stores and hatcheries mistakenly label their Easter Eggers as Ameraucanas. If you are buying them for your own back yard, it doesn’t really matter. If you want a show chicken, you’ll want to be careful to verify the breed. Easter Eggers lay blue, green, pink, olive, or cream eggs. You never really know what color a feed store Easter Egger chick will grow up to lay. But I have heard what may be an old farmer’s wives tale that the color of the legs or ears of the chick will predict the color egg they will lay.

Finally, there are the Cream Legbars. They are an English breed and on my wishlist! They are autosexing (which means you can tell the sex of the chick as soon as it is born). They are supposed to be friendly and smart, and they always lay some shade of blue egg.

Please let me know if you have information to add!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #minihorse #hobbithorse #horses #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Chickens, Keeping Chickens

Variation of Blue Eggs

Laikyn Camacho asked: “Are Ameraucanas the only hens that lay blue eggs? I have two of them, and I got (two different) color blue eggs yesterday, but my girls are the same age. One of them has not been laying in months though… my other girl has been consistent with an egg every other day.”

That’s a good question Laikyn! I’m still figuring all this out myself, but here’s what I think: I bet the darker egg is from the chicken who hasn’t been laying for a while. The pigment on eggs is always darkest at the beginning of a laying season, and gradually fades as the season progresses. After the hen takes a break from laying, the pigment rebuilds in her system, and the eggs start out darker again.

That said, egg color also varies from hen to hen, even if the hens are sisters – just like our hair color varies. So it’s possible that one hen will always lay a lighter blue egg than the other.

Hope this helps!

#urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #cooptofork #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Chickens, Getting Started with Chicks

My Chick Problem is Solved!

I was at the gym, talking about chickens. Because of course I talk about chickens when I’m at the gym. 😂 A nice gentleman, who often swims laps when I do, mentioned that he wanted to get more chickens this Spring. He planned to pay a farmer for older pullets instead of raising chicks. I stopped him right there. I told him I would LOVE to raise chicks for him!

I may have actually informed him that I would be raising chicks for him. I’m not completely sure how much of a choice I gave him. Luckily he was very kind about it. 😁

It perfect! We get to raise a brood of baby chicks. We’ll keep a couple, but not too many because we are hitting our limit. The rest will go to a good home down the road, so the kids can visit if they get too attached. And he’ll get hand-raised, tame, laying hens.

Best of all, for any of you who are thinking of getting chicks, but new to it, I’ll be going through the whole process with y’all! You can absolutely do it. ❤️

I get more chicks!!!

Happy! Happy! Happy! 😁😁😁

#cooptofork #urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals #prettyeggs #chicks

Chickens, Keeping Chickens

Did you Know?

That egg color fades as a chicken gets older? The pale blue egg is from my 3 year old Ameraucana. The bright, tiffany blue egg is from my 7 month old Ameraucana. Of course, egg color also varies with breed and individual hens. However, this is yet another reason why I MUST get new chicks each year.

P.S. Photo credit to my 15 year old son, Owen, the aspiring photographer.

It’s a gorgeous photo isn’t it? (Proud mama. 😊)

Thanks O!

#cooptofork #urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #prettycoop #coopdreams #coopgoals

Farm to Fork, Silly Chickens

Goats and Chèvre

Laura Chenel brought goat cheese making to California in the 1980’s. Until then, the soft, tangy, cheese had been largely unavailable in the US.
The first time I tasted the creamy rounds of warm goat cheese, sautéed in bread crumbs, and served on a bed of greens, at Chez Panisse in Berkeley, was a revelation.

Ever since, I’ve wanted to learn to make goat cheese.

So… I think I need goats!

When I do, I think they need a playground like this one Thatcher Long built for his goats, don’t you?

#cooptofork #urbanfarm #farmtofork #fresheggs #chickens #eggs #coop #farmlife #goats #chèvre #goatcheese #coopdreams #coopgoals

Chez Panisse Baked Chèvre photo by Jonny Valiant