Friday, August 23, 2013
Raising Delaware chickens
Last fall someone in the Chicago chicken group said that she wanted to order Delaware chickens from Sandhill Preservation in Iowa, but she didn't want 25 chicks, so was there anyone who would be interested in splitting the order with her? I said sure! Delawares are supposed to be a good dual-purpose chicken, and I am always on the look-out for a breed that can provide a lot of eggs for a good breakfast, as well as a decent chicken dinner. And it would be really nice if the chickens would get broody and raise their own replacements.
This spring the 25 chicks were shipped to my farm, and about a week later, the woman from Chicago drove out and picked up her 10 chicks. As the chicks began to mature, it became obvious rather quickly that only four of them were pullets (young hens), meaning that we would have a lot of chicken dinners but not so many eggs. As soon as it was obvious which ones were boys and girls, we put the pullets out in the hen house with the other ladies, and we put the boys in a chicken tractor. They are pictured here at four months of age.
In addition to the four hens that we are keeping for eggs, we will also keep two of the cockerels so that we can separate them with the hens and hopefully raise some of our own Delaware chicks next year. The rest of the cockerels will soon become dinner.