Education

The Cycle Begins

This week we turned on the incubators for our 2023 season and began the process of turning these incredible shades of eggs into baby chicks for you all.

It is a remarkably powerful moment that begins our weekly cycle from now until November of hatching. Every day I go into our hatching space and quietly touch each incubator, feeling the hum of its little motor. This practice helps me connect with the life that is quietly growing inside. I pray with each one for healthy chicks, solid hatches and the homes that each chick will end up in. We are all so connected, when you support us with your energy we support you back with these incredible beings and the prayers that go along with them.

We are 18 days away from seeing our first little Alchemist chicks emerge. This is that moment of the year that holds so much anticipation and excitement, it is hard to contain it!

This year orders have been a bit different, I believe folks are feeling the unsettled state of the greater poultry industry so they are securing their chicks early. If you know you are wanting chicks in spring I recommend ordering on the sooner side because February and March we are sold out of some breeds already.

We are so grateful for your support over the years and we look forward to adding to your flocks in 2023! ❤️
Eggs by color from the top:
French Black Cooper Marans
Heritage Welsummer
Sage Egger
Two lighter colored Moss Eggers along with Alchemist Blues
Azure Eggers
Dark Moss Eggers

alchemist_farmThe Cycle Begins
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Chickens in our Everyday Language

💫Our Language💫
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Some may think that a chickens behavior is simplistic and nothing like her own. Step back for a minute and look at all of the interesting phrases we have in our English language derived from a chickens behavior and from our interactions with them.
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We don’t count our chickens before they are hatched, we certainly don’t want to put all of her eggs in one basket. We like to hatch out ideas, we can be cocky or we can chicken out, if we are worried we find ourselves walking on eggshells. Feeling frazzled? Perhaps you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off! If we are feeling stifled we want a chance to spread our wings and we definitely don’t like being cooped up!
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Perhaps we are far similar than we realize.😉
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Pictured here is the gorgeous feathering of one of our French Black Copper Marans Roosters. Presales for this breed and many others are open on our website for 2023!
alchemist_farmChickens in our Everyday Language
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Olive Egger Chickens

Did you know that chickens can lay all sorts of interesting colors of eggs? A chicken’s ability to lay colored eggs extends far beyond the white and tan eggs most of us have seen in the grocery store! Today we’ll cover a specific type, Olive Egger.

From dark chocolate brown colored, to blues, speckles, and perhaps the most captivating of all – green or olive egger!

The phrase “Olive Egger” refers to a chicken that lays green colored eggs. This can be achieved by combining two breeds of chickens, one that carries a blue egg laying gene, and another that carries a brown egg laying gene. Put those two together and ta da you have beautiful green eggs! This first generation of a blue gene and a brown egg gene put together is called a first generation Olive Egger or F1.

Six olive egger eggs in a person's hand with grass in the backgroundNow here comes the interesting part, say you ordered a box of olive egger chicks, some turned out to be females and some turned out to be males and you think “hey I want more of this color of egg in my life!” So you put a male and female together and raise up their chicks. You will be surprised when the females from that cross are only laying green eggs 50% of the time. This is because the green egg gene is not stabilized. 

It takes years of selective breeding to be able to stabilize that beautiful green color and expand upon it. Here at Alchemist Farm, we have created the beautiful Moss Eggers. We’ve been working on these birds for the past 10 years and they are a F16 if you can believe it! Each year we select the most interesting colored green eggs to hatch for future generations and stabilize that lovely green color that we all look for in our daily egg collecting baskets. The result of our careful selection has yielded birds that are laying green eggs with all sorts of interesting patterns on top, these patterns can be speckled and sometimes an interesting bloom. What is a bloom? A bloom is the protective coating a hen puts over her egg as it is in the final stage of being laid, this protects the eggs from bacteria entering. Sometimes this bloom can be very thick and in the case of our Moss Eggers, creates the illusion of eggs looking silver. Some of our hens lay multi-colored eggs where there is both green, blue and silver on a single laid egg. Nature is incredible!

If interesting egg colors are something you’re interested in bringing to your life, we are your people! We focus on gorgeous egg colors, strong egg laying ability, climate resilience to withstand strong heat and cold, sweet temperament, and we are the only humane chicken hatchery in the United States. 

Purchasing chicks from us not only beautifies your daily egg collecting basket, your purchase goes towards shifting the way the hatching industry is run. 

Basket of multiple olive egger eggsFrom the 100% compostable packaging of all of our chick shipments, to the massive solar array we erected to run our hatchery. From every single bird being free to roam on their own pastures to the thousands of male chicks who are not killed upon hatch here. From being single use plastic free on our farm to our zero waste practices. We are making ecological waves in all the right ways and your support makes it possible. We offer chicks for sale from February – September of each year, our lovely Moss Eggers are available along with 12 other unique and interesting breeds. We believe there is a chicken breed for everyone, come and see our offerings!

Want to see images of our beautiful birds and eggs in action? Checkout our Instagram page. 

 

alchemist_farmOlive Egger Chickens
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What Sets Us Apart

🌿What Sets You Apart?🌿
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I recently had someone write and ask “what sets you apart? Why should I purchase chicks from you and not a big hatchery?”
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The question made me realize that I have not listed our mission statement clearly in a post in sometime so here goes! ❤️
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🐣We are different and worth supporting because we are a fully integrated farm and hatchery family business. Every chick we hatch, every egg laid comes from birds we work with and see everyday here.
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We are a no kill hatchery (look up what hatcheries do to their extra male chicks). Every life is respected that we work with and hatch.
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All of our chickens are free to roam on pastures, they are not in warehouses or breeding cages.
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We breed for kind docile temperament and select sweet roosters year after year to break the cycle of people being afraid to go into the barnyard. Sweet roosters exist!
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We breed for gorgeous egg color and season after season we develop fun new shades of color to create interesting depth to your daily egg collecting basket.
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We have a strong environmental focus. We run on 💯 solar power generated in an array in our pasture.
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We have 💯 plastic free compostable packaging for our eggs, chicks, and shipments/pickup boxes.
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We are a zero waste farm, always making shifts to generate less and less waste. We love educating on this process and encouraging others along the way.
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We donate a portion of our sales to the @childrenseternalrainforest for their reforestation efforts in connecting rainforest corridors. Boosting the lungs of our planet.
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We do our own shipping/customer service so from first order placed to chicks arriving in your brooder you have help along the way.
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We ship nationwide and also offer farm pickups for chicks. We are about to enter the sweet spot of weather being warm enough for us to ship to every state. From the first week of May on we will be shipping everywhere and you can order in confidence.
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We offer chicken and quail keeping classes so you can work with your birds in confidence.
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Why are we worth supporting? Because our hearts are in everything we do and we love introducing chickens and the lifestyle they create to the world. Less waste, self reliance, more outside time.
alchemist_farmWhat Sets Us Apart
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Trust

💙Trust💙

We handle every single animal on our land. I can turn my back to any rooster, bend down in-front of and pick up one of their hens without fear of being attacked. Any of our birds can be flipped upside down, held comfortably on one arm, pet, adored and then respectfully released back into the field.

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Learning the language of animals is something that cannot be taught in a book, it is all field experience. A simple call or stance speaks volumes to me about a birds mood. Each breed has a temperamental theme and each bird within that breed has its own character. I had a gorgeous Marans cockerel last year that did not physically do anything to me but every time I went to feed the flock I could feel that he was thinking about chasing me off. I would stop my feeding, crouch down, look at him and throw the same energy back at him, he would casually strut away knowing his place but even that exchange was one I did not want to breed so let him go. Chickens and roosters in particular are quite emotionally loud if we listen. We start each breeding group with 10 boys and narrow it down to two or three whose personality we want to pass on to future generations.
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It is our hope that over the years we will be able to educate folks that roosters and chickens are safe to be around. There is no reason to keep a mean rooster in your life when there are plenty of good reliable ones that can step up to protect your flock.

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Pictured here is one of our Sage Egger roosters. Sage Eggers are one of the breeds we have available in our 2019 lineup of birds. He is a gorgeous boy with exceptional creole patterning on his saddle feathers. Fun fact, the saddle feathers on roosters are used for fly fishing.

 

alchemist_farmTrust
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The Egg Tooth

🐥Egg Tooth🐥

Did you know that as chicks form in the shell they create a special extra piece on the end of their beak called an egg tooth? This day old Ayam Cemani chick is modeling it perfectly.

The egg tooth helps them in the long journey out of the egg and falls off naturally after a few days time of hatching. If giving a baby chick to a broody hen it is best to give the chick when it is less than 3 days old. Looking for the egg tooth on a chick will be in indicator of that perfect age for mama hen/chick bonding.

The first time I saw a chick hatch out of an egg was a powerful experience. It is amazing how tight they are inside of the egg and how they are able to break out having no space to work with. Watching my first chick hatch changed my relationship to chickens, it gave me a new deep respect for how strong and versatile they are.

No matter what is going on in our lives, nature shows us that there is always a way forward – we may have to work for it, but it is there!


We have limited numbers of chicks of this beautiful and unique breed. If you would like to have some of these all black beauties strutting around your barnyard reach out! We ship nation wide 

alchemist_farmThe Egg Tooth
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Our Farms Blend of Organic Nesting Box Herbs

Organic Nesting Box Herbs

We take great care here on the farm to employ all organic methods in caring for our flocks and are asked often by our customers what they can do to optimize their coop and help their girls lay more. Giving the girls plenty of fresh water with electrolytes/vitamins during times of stress or heat as well as keeping the coop clean and disease free are the keys!

We love using herbs in our nesting boxes and specifically this blend of over 15 different ones because the hens can pick and choose which they would like to munch on while laying their eggs. The herb blend covers everything from digestion to parasite control, liver function and aromatics in the coop.

They store well, are easy to use and look beautiful sprinkled on top of fresh bedding. Our hens love getting comfortable on top of them and we know yours will too!

We recommend sprinkling on top of your nesting box bedding, and on the floor of your coop after a cleaning and using  anywhere from a Tablespoon to 1/4 cup per nesting box.

We offer our herb blend in a 4oz (1/4 lb which equals out to 4 cups) recyclable container and shipping is included in the price of each bag. If you are already ordering hatching eggs from us we can happily pack one or two of these herb bags in the box 🙂

Here is what is included in our mix and the benefits each herb offers your flock:

Organic Oregano – Natural Antibiotic if fighting off infection, natural parasite control anti fungal

Organic Peppermint – Natural Insect Repellant, aromatic, digestive aid

Organic Lavender – Calming for nervous system (great for a stressed flock), aromatic, insect repellant

Organic Calendula – Anti fungal, anti inflammatory

Organic Spearmint – Natural insect repellant

Organic Yarrow – Supports healthy appetite and optimizes digestive tract

Organic Parsley – Natural parasite control

Organic Marjoram – Immune booster

Organic Dandelion – Liver cleanser, natural temperature regulator

Organic Lemongrass -Aromatic, immune booster, digestive aid

Organic Comfrey – Anti fungal, natural parasite control, natural temperature regulator

Organic Chickweed – Immune booster, contains vitamin C, B vitamins, Iron, Niacin

Organic Cilantro – Aromatic, digestive aid,

Organic Catnip – Natural insect repellant, digestive aid.

Organic Basil – Aromatic, digestive aid.

Organic Chamomile – Calming for nervous system (helps with flock stress) and digestive aid.

Organic Rose – Aromatic, antiseptic, antibacterial and Calming

 Order some for your flock today! 

This information is provided for entertainment purposes only and is not intended to substitute for veterinary advice. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.

alchemist_farmOur Farms Blend of Organic Nesting Box Herbs
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Want To Know All About Backyard Chicken Keeping? We Have You Covered!

Hey Everyone!

Spring is in full swing and chick season is upon us.  Every year our head chicken wrangler gets thousands of questions from folks of all sorts of expert levels in backyard chicken raising. This year for the first time she is offering two full class days (March 11th and April 1st) when two classes will be taught back to back. The first class offered on each class day is “Backyard Chicken Raising For Beginners” and the second is “Advanced Backyard Chicken Raising”. You can come to one or both classes on either class day to brush up on your chicken whispering skills and expand your knowledge base!

Check out the descriptions below for a full outline of each class as well as locations and times.

Class 1: Beginners Backyard Chicken Keeping Course

 This two hour class is designed for those who are interested in keeping backyard chickens and want to know the basics from which breeds to select for your flock goals to how to build a predator proof coop. We will discuss brooding of chicks, feed for all stages of a chickens life, proper coop maintenance, integration of existing flocks, collection and storage of eating eggs, how to set yourself up for success in relating to your new yard companions and how to look for signs of illness.

 

Class 2: Advanced Backyard Chicken Keeping and Hatching

 This two hour class is going to be packed with all of the nitty gritty details that the experienced backyard chicken keeper is looking for clarity on. We will discuss various incubation techniques as well as incubators available on the market, selecting correct eggs for incubation, testing for signs of fertility, candling, feather color genetics and how to breed for specific looks in your birds. On the health front we will cover vaccination, holistic health management of your flock, setting up proper biosecurity, what it means to be NPIP certified and if it makes sense for your flock, what to keep in your home veterinary kit, treatments for common ailments, class questions.

Saturday March 11th
This full class day will be held at Alchemist Farm in Sebastopol (space is limited). Cost for each class individually is $55 or $100 for both classes. Our Beginner class begins at 10am and goes until 12pm we will have a lunch break and if you are joining us for our Advanced class it will begin at 2pm and go until 4pm. This class day includes viewing of some of our breeding groups in action and is a rare opportunity to come beyond the Alchemist front gate. Clean booties to maintain biosecurity will be provided. To register for this class you can email us at: Alchemistfarm@gmail.com

 

Saturday April 1st

This full class day will be held at: SHED located at
25 North St. Healdsburg, CA in Healdsburg. Cost for each class at this location is $45. For class times and registration you can follow this link:

http://healdsburgshed.com/events/beginner-chicken-keeping/

http://healdsburgshed.com/events/advanced-chicken-keeping/
Class participants in either class day receive 15% off a chick or hatching order placed in 2017!

alchemist_farmWant To Know All About Backyard Chicken Keeping? We Have You Covered!
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Talking Chicken At The Gravenstein Apple Fair

Talking chicken at the Gravenstein Apple Fair!

We are committed to educating folks on humane ways of raising chickens and were thrilled to be invited to speak at this years Gravenstein Apple Fair. The head chicken wrangler gave a 45 minute presentation on chicken raising basics with Patricia the partridge silkie happily tucked under her arm. Topics covered ranged from how to predator proof your coop to which breeds are best for your family.

If you have a local group who would like to learn about chicken wrangling don’t hesitate to reach out – we love chatting chicken with people!

alchemist_farmTalking Chicken At The Gravenstein Apple Fair
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Supporting Local Breeders Over Hatcheries Is Important & Humane

beautiful baby chicks alchemistfarmWarning: This article on hatchery vs. our breeding practices is a bit unsettling but important to read if you are serious about raising chickens and want to know where your eggs and meat come from .

Most folks don’t think twice when they pick up chicks from their feed store or order them online from major hatcheries, I know I didn’t. Hatcheries are business that are run on the production and sale of mostly female chicks. Males and imperfect chicks from the breeds that are able to be sexed female at day one are killed, they are thrown into machines that grind them alive or are drowned for ease. When I heard this for the first time I got a deeply unsettled feeling in my core because I knew it was wrong. Hatcheries don’t want to spent the money on feed or brooding space for males and have to get rid of them somehow, that is their solution.

Here at Alchemist Farm we breed Cream Legbars which let us know their sex from day one. Almost everyone who purchases chicks from us wants females which leaves us with a lot of males. We believe that every life counts and value our animals so we started a male chick and rooster relocation project. All of our extra male chicks are given away to families who raise them for meat birds so they can have a good life for four or five months and then provide food for folks who are homesteading. If you are interested in some male chicks to raise for free food of your own please reach out to us and we will put you on the interested list.

We only sell chicks that are in perfect condition to our customers. Nature is not always perfect and at times chicks will be born with some sort of defect (missing a toe, missing an eye, strange feathers or wings) if the chicks look like they will thrive we keep them out of our breeding program and raise them to be added to our egg laying flock so they can have good lives. The only chicks we cull are those that will not thrive (chicks born with legs that do not work for instance). It is rare but when it does happen we say a prayer for them and end their lives swiftly and humanly and bury them in our garden so they can help fertilize our plants and trees.

We believe that every life is important. We take the upmost care for all of the lives we bring into the world. Every chick is held and spoken to, they know they are loved. By week one our chicks are placed into chicken tractors where they have contact with grass, bugs, dirt, sunshine – all things that help create stronger layers down the line and prevents disease. Any bird you receive from us will be healthy, strong and sweet.

We hope that you feel the same about humane hatching and breeding practices and join us in shifting how hatcheries practice.

alchemist_farmSupporting Local Breeders Over Hatcheries Is Important & Humane
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