The Birds: Our long winter has provided us with lush gorgeous pastures for all of the birds. All 13 of our breeding groups are happy, healthy and laying strong. We have had a mild week of weather and now it looks like we are heading straight into summer with temperatures over 85 degrees. As things warm up we like to give all of the birds an electrolyte/probiotic boost to help them feel comfortable as they transition into the longer warmer days. We do a double take of all of our automatic watering systems to make sure they are functioning perfectly so everyone stays hydrated in the coming weeks and months.
Caring for the flocks in this way is a holistic approach, we look at our farm as a whole living organism of land, birds, and humans. We think three or four steps ahead in our everyday to ensure the birds comfort. If they are stress free then they are stronger and more resilient to the big temperature swings we may see as well as whatever else nature sends our way this year! Last week we opened up all of the ventilation on the coops to ensure everyone is comfortable and we are also seeing a lot of signs of broodiness from the hens. There is lots of big mama energy happening on the land right now. 🙂
Humans: we are are entering the last month of school and preparing for summer break. We know many of you will be traveling with your families and most likely not thinking about raising chicks in the next two months. Before summer break hits take some time to do a little flock planning for the fall. Now is a good time to order chicks for late summer/fall when your littles return to school. Currently we have availability of all of our breeds including our Alchemist Blue Females which have been sold out for a bit here. We LOVE raising chicks in heat of late summer and fall because it is naturally warmer for them and they grow up over the winter months when full grown hens take their laying break. Come spring of 2024 your chicks will have fully grown and will be ready to lay eggs for your family.
Staying home for the summer and ready to dig into your homesteading dreams? It is finally warm enough to put in a garden and work on your coop! We are still hatching chicks weekly and offering them for local pickup as well as shipping. We have hatches on the following dates: May 30th, June 6th, June 20th, June 27th, July 11th, July 25th and beyond until Halloween this year.
We hope the warm weather is bringing you all joy and a boost of vibrant energy.
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
Two lighter colored Moss Eggers along with Alchemist Blues
Dark Moss Eggers
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.
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!
Perhaps we are far similar than we realize.
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!
From olive Eggers to sage eggers, from dark brown eggs to sky blue eggs. We have you covered here at Alchemist Farm.
Our Heritage chicken breeds have been carefully bred over the last nine years by us. We select not only for fun egg colors but also temperament and climate resilience so you can rest assured that your new feathered friends will be robust and healthy.
We believe there is a chicken breed for everyone, from fancy show chickens to humble homestead style birds, every chicken has a place on our farm! Thank you for your support each year and allowing us to continue to pioneer humane breeding and hatching.
The Beauty In Imperfection
Everyday we collect our hatching eggs from our breeding flocks by hand. We intimately know every nest, every hen, every secret hiding spot.
The daily egg collecting trains our hands and eyes to spot eggs that would not be suitable for hatching. All of the eggs here in this photograph are the “oddball eggs” the eggs that are double, triple hollers, and eggs that are incorrectly shaped. Shape and size matters with fertile eggs because properly shaped eggs ensure correct bone development/ shape for the chicks. Pointy eggs can lead to spraddle leg. Tiny pullet eggs can lead to weak smaller chicks with failure to thrive.
All of our oddball eggs are set aside for eating and make their way to our breakfast table. Each one is its own delight for its unique oddness. This week I brought some of them together to share with you all.
Do you all get fun oddball eggs from your flocks? May we all look for the beauty in moments of imperfection, there is always something positive to focus on.
Every Tuesday during our hatching season we open our hatchers and sort/count the weeks fluffy chicks. After the chicks have been carefully moved from the hatcher we inspect the eggs that have not hatched to see if any chicks are still making a late entrance into the world.
This chick was quietly sitting in its shell, looking around at the world around it. It was pausing before making its final pushes to get out of the only home it has ever known.
We know they the chicks are quite snug in their eggs but this visual was a stunning reminder of nature’s perfect design. There is not a millimeter of extra space inside a chickens egg. The chicks grow to fill the space and then carefully, oh so carefully peck their way out.
Nature only takes what it needs, and uses its spaces and resources wisely. It is a powerful example for us humans to follow.
We have ALL of our breeds available for shipping as well as pickup as early as next week February 15th and all of our website ordering issues have been worked out. Thank you to everyone for you patience as we ironed out our new system!
If you are looking for instant gratification on your chick order we can make the magic happen for you
alchemist_farmAll Breeds Available For Pickup & Shipping This Month
I recently had someone write and ask “what sets you apart? Why should I purchase chicks from you and not a big hatchery?”
The question made me realize that I have not listed our mission statement clearly in a post in sometime so here goes!
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.
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.
All of our chickens are free to roam on pastures, they are not in warehouses or breeding cages.
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!
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.
We have a strong environmental focus. We run on solar power generated in an array in our pasture.
We have plastic free compostable packaging for our eggs, chicks, and shipments/pickup boxes.
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.
We donate a portion of our sales to the @childrenseternalrainforest for their reforestation efforts in connecting rainforest corridors. Boosting the lungs of our planet.
We do our own shipping/customer service so from first order placed to chicks arriving in your brooder you have help along the way.
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.
We offer chicken and quail keeping classes so you can work with your birds in confidence.
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.
This is a special time of year on the farm. The incubators have been quiet for a few months, the juvenile birds have been peacefully growing up alongside their older counterparts and the pastures are a lush green from our seasonal rain.
It is a moment of anticipation, the whisperings of the first eggs laid, the new colors emerging, the beginning of a hatching cycle and offering our energy out into the world.
Our family is rested, regrouped, strong and eagerly awaiting the day when our brooders will be full of the sound of peeping.
Everyday we pray for ears to listen, to be shown the direction our farm needs to go to be of service. These days we begin to turn our attention outward and we think of you all, we pray for our national and global community. The air we breathe is one, the water we drink, the soil we plant in. We send prayers of peace, protection, inspiration and gratitude for you all. May we all arise to the new year of 2021 together. Stronger, wiser, more compassionate and patient from all 2020 taught us.
Here’s to this years firsts, thank you for being on the journey with us and supporting our work in the world. ❤️
When we first began breeding and selecting for egg color it was speckles and texture that captured my interest. Every breeder throughout history has selected traits in an animals that they thought were unique, valuable and beautiful. We are carrying on they tradition by selecting for what is most pleasing to our eyes and senses. The result is a whole world of interesting speckle patterns through us
A speckle is like a hens unique finger print. A hen that throws speckles on her eggs will do so in a similar pattern every time she lays an egg.
Speckles, just like egg color can be selected and bred for. It is something that we are constantly tinkering with.
Sometimes the speckles have a raised texture which is really fun! I am not a big wine drinker but being in wine country here in Northern California I hear a lot of folks talk about “mouth feel” of wine. Well, I guess I have lots of “egg feel” practice . I could close my eyes and tell you which breed lays what egg based on texture. Smooth, slick, matte, raised, heavy and light bloom powdery-ness.
Do you all notice a difference in the way your ladies eggs feel?
From top to bottom our breeds that laid these eggs are: Heritage welsummer Azure Egger Marans Sage Egger Moss Egger Azure Egger Heritage Welsummer