Where To Buy Chickens? Searching For Local Farms and Breeders

Between March and May and I managed to buy a total of 12 chickens. I bought them in groups of 3’s because I figured it’s easier for the chickens to adjust if they have a group of friends with them. I have one hen, Shadow. The two other chickens I bought her with ran away and now Shadow, is always by herself and doesn’t really spend much time with the rest of the flock. (For the first week, she even stood by the fence for hours at a time waiting for her friends to come back)

So in March when we first finished our coop, I looked all over for local places that had chickens for sale. People pointed me towards Tractor Supply, but they only sold baby chicks. And it was pretty much the same for most places, baby chicks only (it was Easter).

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But baby chick are way too much work, requires extra supplies, and well it takes forever before they start laying eggs.

Adult chickens, however are much harder to find. I bought two sets of chickens off of Craig’s List. I had to check Craig’s List almost daily before I found chickens for sale in my area. One set of chickens I bought from a local farm, Brodhecker Farm that I knew sold baby chicks seasonally, but just happened to have some adult chickens for sale that were almost laying age.

The newest set I bought from the Backyard Chickens forum. There’s a lot of baby chicks and fertilized eggs for sale in the forums, but occasionally you’ll see some adults on there. The three I bought were from a breeder that mostly sells chicks, but occasionally sells pullets if she has some left over.

When purchasing hens, I tried to take note of the conditions they were keeping the chickens in, how much space they had, that kind of thing. And in general, when introducing a new chicken to a flock, especially an older chicken, you want to keep them quarantined for about a month before letting them come in contact with the pre-established chickens. But because all my chickens were fairly new, I wasn’t too concerned with biosecurity.

And I think I’m done with buying chickens for the year. The Sussex County Poultry Show was a few weeks ago, so I think they temptation has passed! Next year, I plan to just wait for a broody hen, and then buy some fertilized eggs for them to hatch. With baby chicks, biosecurity is less of a concern and you don’t have to worry about chickens introducing diseases to your flock.

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My First Broody Hen

So one of my hens (Shadow) has been broody for about a week. She sits in her nest box all day and all night.

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I previously had a problem with chickens sleeping in the nest box while they weren’t broody, but after a week or two of me picking them up and placing them on the roost at night that seemed to correct the behavior.

When I looked up signs and symptoms of broody hens though, the typical behavior seems to be a purring noise (nope), and aggressive behavior when you approach (also nope). After a few days she did start puffing up a bit when I tried to move her to collect eggs.

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Shadow is also one of my more gentler chickens so I think that might be why she may not be displaying typical broody behavior.

But the reason I’m pretty sure it’s broodiness, is because when the other chickens slept in the nest box, they would leave a pile of poop for me to clean out in the morning. But Shadow spends all day and night in there and it’s been poop free.

So originally, I wanted to buy breeds of chickens that were known to go broody, because I wanted use them to hatch eggs, and raise chicks and not have to worry about that myself. But since I just bought three chickens (which makes ten total), Matt has put me on a chicken buying ban for the rest of the year!

And I’m hoping to figure out their brood schedule, so that by next year, It’ll be easier to figure out when they’re broody and I can buy some fertilized eggs right away.

Hen Pecked! Introducing New Pullets to the Flock

We’ve only started keeping chickens in March, but Im already addicted! It seems like I’m adding to my flock every week and we’ve never had any problems. Whenever I buy new chickens, I keep them in a carrier and put them in front of the coop during the day, so the other chickens can get familiar with the new arrivals. That night, I stick them in the coop and usually try to watch over them the next morning just to make sure the transition went smoothly. Easy peasy!

However about two weeks ago, I bought three new chickens. They were young pullets only about 6-8 weeks old. I had a feeling that with their small size out wouldn’t be so easy. Things seemed alright that night in the coop, however the next morning, the smallest of the pullets had a bald spot that wasn’t there the day before. (Her feathers are already starting to grow back in)

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Most of the research I’ve read suggests removing the chickens if the pecking leads to bleeding. Her injury wasn’t that bad, but I was worried, mostly because of the size of the patch and the small size of the pullet. So I immediately got some fencing, and set up a run for the little ones.

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I also put up some wooden boards I had lying around, so that they had a shady place to hide.

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It’s been a little about two and a half weeks of them staying in the run during the days, and going into the coop with the rest of the flock at night and everyone has been getting along.

They seem ready to integrate with the rest of the flock (trying to run out in the morning instead of going into their designated area), but I think I’ll keep them separated for a few more weeks, at least until they’re closer in size to the older chickens.

 

A Sad Day

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Sad news. A little while ago, Remus escaped and we’ve been unable to find him. I first noticed early in the morning when I went to feed them, and only Vanilla came out to greet me.

Some of the fencing in the back was ripped down, by what was probably a bear. I actually haven’t seen any bears on the property since we started keeping goats, so I thought perhaps the sound of the goats were keeping them away, but I guess not.

That morning, I took a walk around looking for Remus, and kept a bale of hay outside to try and lure him back, but still no sign of him. We called animal control in case he’s spotted, but our property borders a large state park, so he probably would have wandered into the deep woods.

It is odd though, because Remus is our little escape artist and usually gets out on about a monthly basis. Typically whenever he escapes he likes to come to our front porch and try to get into the house, but I guess this time since he was scared, he just ran off into the woods and couldn’t find a way back.

Vanilla has been taking it well, I think she’s still waiting for him to come back. I checked the nearby Barnyard Animal Sanctuary about adopting a goat to keep her company, but all the goats they have available have horns, which seems like it might be unsafe around my curious toddler.

I’m also not sure I want to put down big money on a dairy goat, which seems to be the only ones I really see for sale. Since Vanilla seems okay for now, I think I might wait until I see some de-horned goats for adoption.

How To Keep Goats Out Of Your Chicken Feed

When we first got our chickens a few months ago, we were so excited. But after a while we noticed we weren’t getting nearly as much eggs as you would expect from seven chickens. We were getting just over a dozen a week. In the beginning I thought that maybe the stress of being moved temporarily affected their laying, until I caught Remus eating up all of their feed. So began our months long journey to set up a chicken feeding system that the goats wouldn’t be able to get into.

First we set up a chicken feeder made up of 4 inch pvc pipe, thinking the the opening would be too narrow for the goats to fit their mouths into.. wrong! So after seeing the goats ability to get into the feeder, we just kept it closed during the day and open it at night when it was time to lock them into the coop. But since it was right before bed, I feared they weren’t getting enough food.

So step two, I removed the 4 inch pvc pipe and replaced it with a 3 inch pvc pipe, the smallest they had at Home Depot.

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Unfortunately 3 inches still didn’t cut it.

At this point, I wasn’t quite sure what to do. No matter what I did, the goats could gobble up their food way faster than the chickens could.

Then I realized I could utilize the chicken run that Matt started building last year and never finished. It was just a wood frame, but I put the feeder inside the run and covered the run in wire. I cut a couple of 5 in x 9 in holes which I figured would be just big enough for the chickens to fit through.

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Except, Remus, ever the escape artist managed to fit through the tiny holes.

At this point, I wasn’t sure that there was any hole big enough for a chicken but too small for a goat! I tried a slightly smaller hole at 5 in x 8 in and that seemed to do the trick. Remus was able stick his head through pretty far, but not able to completely climb in like before.

Now the chickens have access to their feed more consistently and we’re getting about 6 eggs a day. Unfortunately I have caught feral cats eating their feed, but there’s nothing I could do to keep cats out, and at least they’re not going after the chickens!

 

We’re Now Selling Chicken Eggs

We have enough extra eggs, that we are now selling our fresh organic pasture raised chicken eggs.

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Eggs are unwashed, so you can leave them on the counter at room temperature or refrigerate them. Unwashed eggs typically lasts at least two weeks unrefrigerated on the counter, and three months if refrigerated.

Our Ladies are fed Organic Layer Pellets and have free range on about an acre of property for bugs and grass/greens. We have many many different breeds, so you’ll get eggs of all colors! Blue, Brown, and Pink.

Studies have shown that Chickens that are fed Organic feed and and given free range to green pasture, produce eggs that offer way more bang-for-your buck nutrition-wise!
1/3 less cholesterol
1/4 less saturated fat
2/3 more vitamin A
2 times more omega-3 fatty acids
3 times more vitamin E
7 times more beta carotene

Prices are:
18 count $10.00
Dozen $7.00

For a bi-weekly subscription, prices are:
18 count $9.00
Dozen $6.00

For a weekly subscription, prices are:
18 count $8.00
Dozen $5.00

Subscription slots are limited and must be paid a month in advance. Please email at info@selenefarms.com First come, first serve on available pick up days – delivery may be available in Warren or Sussex Counties.

My Tomatoes Are Out Of Control!

This is my second year trying to grow tomatoes from seed, and last year it went badly enough that I had pretty low expectations for this year.

But surprise, my tomato plants are completely taking over my kitchen!

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I know it’s a bit early, but I decided to transplant them outside this morning. They were growing so big, I was starting to get worried they would snap without some stakes. Anyway, it’s  late enough in the season that I don’t have to worry about frost, although I think ideally, you should wait until the temperature stays above 50 at night.