Sunday, August 19, 2007

The Colonel's Broodin' Biddies-- posted by Spencer

They call me The Colonel. Why? Because they are kaniggits.

No, actually, they think it’s funny. You know, the kid in charge of chickens named after another chicken mogul. How original. Anyway, it’s better than Colonel Gus, which was my initial nickname. (My first name is August.) I lovingly yet firmly put a stop to that. “The Colonel” suits me well.

I’ve written this page to share information about my flock. Because we know that happy, cared-for chickens produce healthy eggs, we purchased our first chicks five years ago for our family. I was put in charge.

I’ve learned a lot over the years in regard to chicken health and management. My chickens and roosters are free-range, which allows them to supplement their diets with natural foraging. I never use hormones of any kind. I pay close attention to not only their varied diet, but also managing a peaceful environment to limit stress which, as with most livestock, can negatively affect the product. Consequently, our eggs have bright yellow yolks and full flavor – just like they are supposed to! They make eggcellent pound cake, which is noticeably richer than store-bought. Due to their oyster shell supplement, the eggshells are harder than mass-produced eggs. That is because of higher calcium levels.

Here are the breeds we currently stock:

Penedesenca Maran and Cuckoo Maran lay medium to large very dark chocolate brown to red brown eggs. Evidently Marans are James Bond’s favorites!

The Black Australorp lays medium-sized brown eggs.

Ameraucanas lay medium eggs that are various shades of blue and blue-green to turquoise.

The New Hampshire Red lays large light to medium dark brown eggs.

The ornamental Polish chickens lay small white eggs but they do it with style. Check out that funky witchdoctor headdress!

Red and Black Sex Links are named for the fact that their sexes are the most easily distinguished. They lay large brown eggs.

Finally, I’m happy to recognize my staff of George (6) and John (8). They gladly and tirelessly lug fresh water and feed daily. Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds. My Stetson’s off to you, cowboys.

A. Spencer Allen

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