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.

I'm a little concerned that the hens are so white. Pictures of Delawares show more barring in the tail and neck feathers. I'm not sure if this is a maturity thing (because we've never raised Delawares before) or if it's a matter of breeding, but I hope they don't stay so white because pure white poultry don't do very well free range. They're blinking beacons for predators. One of my daughters tried to raise white Plymouth Rock chickens eight or nine years ago, and they didn't last very long.

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.


Carolyn said...

Hmmm, not a very good rooster to hen ratio. Assuming you ordered straigh-run, but even then that's a disappointing amount of roo's. Hope they taste good!

Spinners End Farm said...

Perhaps your Chicago friend is skilled at picking out pullers! We will be interested to find out how you like your Delaware meat....

Spinners End Farm said...

I just hate the spell correct on the ipad....pullets not "pullers".

Velva said...

Hoping it all works out and they breed works for you even when you have too any roosters.


Related Posts with Thumbnails