|Buff Orpginton 4-month-old pullet|
I quit buying roosters a long time ago because I realized you always get a couple anyway, possibly because of sexing errors or possibly because they add a rooster for "warmth" because they are always undersold. (Most people want hens for eggs.) I almost didn't get a rooster this time as only one turned out to be a cockerel! Maybe I should start adding one rooster to my orders in the future to be safe. Although you don't need a rooster to make eggs, we want fertile eggs so we can hatch our own replacements.
The New Hampshires were amazing layers. The only thing I didn't like about them is that they didn't go broody at all. Raising animals naturally means that I want them to reproduce on their own. Unfortunately, a lot of people don't want broody hens, so poultry breeders have been breeding towards less broody hens for decades. Orpingtons were one of the first two breeds of chickens we ever owned, and some of them did go broody, so I'm hoping a few of these girls will follow suit.
I bought the new Sebrights in late spring because they are only sold straight run, and most of the cockerels were destined to become dinner. At 3-4 months of age, almost all of them dress out at exactly a pound each, and when split down the middle, it makes a beautiful little grilled chicken for two people. One half is the perfect serving for one person with your own little leg, thigh, wing, and breast. I'll have to remember to take a picture of one next summer when we grill them!
And in case you're thinking that you see a few chickens in these pictures that don't look like Orpingtons or Sebrights, you are correct. We hatched a few eggs in the incubator this past spring, so we have four New Hampshire pullets, a Barred Rock pullet, and a cross-breed pullet.
This spring I will also be getting about a dozen straight run Delawares.