Well, I did it again - ordered more chicks. But this year I got serious about egg production. Both Black Austrolorps and Rhode Island Reds are excellent layers. I need to have a couple of breeds like them so that I can keep buying the feed to take care of my Campines! I am hooked on those marvelous little birds, but they hide their eggs. That means I have a chicken whose production is not that good to begin with AND who hides her eggs - not to hatch them out, but just because these chickens seem to be just one short step from wild chickens.
I will butcher the last of the Buckeyes as soon as I bring the new chicks out to the Moop - probably early July. Buckeyes are what are called dual-purpose birds, and the protocol is to let them lay for just one season, then butcher them. They are heavy birds that will make great stewing hens. My problem is that I let them lay for two seasons, so I am not getting many eggs from them, and being big birds, they eat a lot of feed.
I got conflicting information about the best brown egg layers. I couldn't decide between the Austrolorps and the Rhode Island Reds, so I ordered a dozen of each. Then I threw in a few Ameraucanas (they lay blue eggs, and I am amazed that the two I have are still laying pretty well, but they won't for much longer), another dozen Campines, and to round it out, some Welsummers. Welsummers lay a very dark brown egg, and some of them are medium brown with dark brown spots. Believe it or not, some of my customers buy my eggs because they like the mixture of colors that I provide, so I will be giving them something new next season.
The chicks usually arrive in June. This year, it's March 19, so I should be seeing some eggs by July. I am always excited about getting my chicks. This year, I am excited about perhaps making a little money from them! LOL