All posts tagged: rotating pasture

Chicken Egg Colors By Breed

Do you enjoy looking at colorful egg baskets and ever wonder which breeds laid which eggs? We are going to lay it all out here for you in this article!

French Black Copper Marans (or sometimes called marans chickens) lay dark chocolate colored eggs.

  • French Black Copper Marans a rare breed that is gaining popularity, too achieve the desired true dark chocolate eggs it is important to purchase from a smaller breeder who is paying attention to the genetics. Large scale hatchery marans chickens will disappoint on the egg color.
  • Marans chickens have a beautiful dark black plumage with a beetle sheen over top.
  • They are known for laying large, dark chocolate eggs.
  • They are a docile and friendly breed.
  • Gender: they are sold straight run

If you are looking for a laid back and beautiful chicken breed, the French Black Copper Marans is a great option. They are sure to add a touch of elegance to your backyard flock.

Heritage Welsummer lay lighter brown eggs with dark speckles over the top 

  • Appearance: Welsummer chickens have a beautiful plumage that is a mix of brown, red, and black. The hens are typically a darker color than the roosters.
  • Eggs: Welsummer chickens are known for laying large, dark brown eggs. The eggs are so dark that they are sometimes mistaken for being black.
  • Temperament: Welsummer chickens are a docile and friendly breed. They are easy to handle and make great pets.
  • Gender: They are sold straight run

If you are looking for an intelligent and beautiful chicken breed, the Welsummer is a great option. They are sure to add a touch of friendliness to your backyard flock.

German Bielefelder lay large beige with speckles to tan eggs.

  • History: German Bielefelder chickens were first developed in Germany in the 1970s by crossing several different breeds, including the Lakenfelder, the Rhode Island Red, and the Wyandotte.
  • Size: German Bielefelder chickens are a medium-sized breed, with hens weighing between 5 and 6 pounds and roosters weighing between 6 and 7 pounds.
  • Lifespan: German Bielefelder chickens can live for 10-12 years.
  • Temperament: German Bielefelder chickens are known for being docile and friendly. They are easy to handle and make great pets.
  • Appearance: German Bielefelder chickens have a striking appearance, with a mix of black, brown, and white feathers. The hens are typically a lighter color than the roosters.
  • Gender: German Bielefelder can be sexed upon hatch, we offer them as both guaranteed females and guaranteed females

Double Silver Laced Barnevelder lay smaller sized pinkish to tan eggs sometimes with speckles

The Double Silver Laced Barnevelder is a unique breed of chicken that is known for its incredibly beautiful plumage. The hens have a rich, dark black body,  with a double silver lace pattern on their feathers. The roosters are a darker color, with a black body and a silver feathers throughout. Both hens and roosters have striking yellow legs. Our line of them are smaller than the average large fowl, not quite bantams and not quite a standard sized bird.

Double Silver Laced Barnevelders are also known for being good layers. They typically lay 4-5 eggs per week. Given the right conditions they can lay year round.

Double Silver Laced Barnevelders are a docile and friendly breed. They are easy to handle and make great pets.

  • History: Double Silver Laced Barnevelders were first developed in the Netherlands in the 1800s. They were created by crossing several different breeds, including the Java, the Sumatra, and the Cochin.
  • Gender: they are offered straight run

Isbar (some folks have renamed them Silverudd Blues) lay light green eggs sometimes with speckles over the top

Isbar chickens are a unique breed of chicken that is known for laying green eggs. They were developed in Sweden in the 1950s by a Catholic monk named Martin Silverudd. Isbar chickens are a cross between the Rhode Island Red, New Hampshire, and Cream Legbar breeds.

Isbar chickens are a medium-sized smaller framed bird, with hens weighing between 5 and 6 pounds and roosters weighing between 6 and 7 pounds. They have a wild streak in them and are predator wise while still being curious and friendly.

Isbar chickens are good layers, producing about 200 eggs per year.

  • Plumage: Isbar chickens come in the feather colors blue, black, splash.
  • Gender: offered straight run.

Bantam Cochin lay small cream to pinkish tinted eggs

  • Friendly and docile: Bantam Cochins are known for being very friendly and docile chickens. The small size of them   makes for great pets for children.
  • Easy to care for: Bantam Cochins are relatively easy to care for. They do not require a lot of space and can be kept in a smaller sized area. If space is a hardship for you this could be a good backyard breed.
  • Beautiful: Bantam Cochins are very beautiful chickens. They have a variety of colors and patterns, our 2023 line of cochins and beyond will have a 50/50 chance of being smooth or frizzle feathered which makes them extra cute and comical.
  • Good layers: Bantam Cochins are good layers. They typically lay about 200 eggs per year, their eggs are not the largest but they are plentiful.
  • Fun to watch: Bantam Cochins are fun to watch. They are very active and love to play. They are also very curious and love to explore their surroundings.   
  • Gender: Offered straight run

Moss Eggers lay a whole host of interesting dark greens.

  • Eggs: Moss Eggers are known for laying a variety of colored eggs, including green, light green, and olive, dark green, dark green with a white bloom over top that sometimes can make them look silver and occasionally a bark brown.
  • Temperament: Moss Eggers are a large docile, social, and friendly breed. They are easily trained to handle and make great pets.
  • Gender: offered straight run

Olive Eggers first generation cross lay a reliably olive colored green egg.

  • Plumage: our olive eggers come in blue and black feather colors
  • Gender: offered straight run.

Sage Eggers lay lighter sage colored eggs with speckles over the top

  • History: Sage Eggers were first developed in the United States at Alchemist Farm in 2014.
  • Size: Sage Eggers are a medium-sized breed, with hens weighing between 5 and 6 pounds and roosters weighing between 6 and 7 pounds.
  • Personality: smart, curious, excellent foragers with high predator awareness.
  • Egg Production: They are remarkably prolific at 230+ eggs a year
  • Gender: offered straight run.

Azure Eggers lay light blue to blueish greenish eggs

  • History: Azure Eggers were first developed in the United States at Alchemist Farm in 2016.
  • Size: Azure Eggers are a medium-sized breed, with hens weighing between 5 and 6 pounds and roosters weighing between 6 and 7 pounds.
  • Personality: smart, curious, excellent foragers with high predator awareness and climate resilience
  • Egg Production: They are remarkably prolific at 230+ eggs a year
  • Gender: offered as guaranteed female or male.

Alchemist Blue Chickens lay blueish greenish eggs, sometimes with interesting blue speckles.

  • History: Alchemist Blue Chickens were first developed in the United States at Alchemist Farm in 2019.
  • Size: Azure Eggers are a medium-sized breed, with hens weighing between 5 and 6 pounds and roosters weighing between 6 and 7 pounds.
  • Feathering: These svelt elegant birds come in blue and black feather colors
  • Personality: smart, curious, excellent foragers with high predator awareness and climate resilience.
  • Egg Production: They are remarkably prolific and dutiful layers at 230+ eggs a year. If given the correct circumstances they can lay year round.
  • Gender: offered as guaranteed female or male.
alchemist_farmChicken Egg Colors By Breed
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What is a straight run chicken?

What are Straight Run Chickens?

You will sometimes see this phrase when buying baby chicks online. On our website we have some breeds that are “guaranteed female” and others that are sold straight run. Straight run chickens are a mix of male and female chicks. Each straight run chick has a 50/50 chance of being male or female when you order them. They are not sexed before they are hatched (you cannot tell the gender of an egg) and they are not sexed when they hatch so you do not know which sex you will get when you order them. Straight run chickens are typically less expensive than sexed chicks, but they do come with the “risk” of receiving a rooster.

The Pros and Cons of Straight Run Chickens

Pros:

  • Straight run chickens are typically less expensive than sexed chicks.
  • You have a 50/50 chance of getting both male and female chicks, which can be helpful if you are planning to raise both for eggs and meat or if you would like a flock protector.
  • If you end up with a sweet rooster they will bring balance to your flock of hens and protect them from predators.
  • You will be actively stopping the killing of unwanted male chicks that large scale hatcheries practice upon hatch.
  • Straight run chickens are often more available than sexed chicks, especially at smaller hatcheries like ours.

Cons:

  • You do not know which sex you will get when you order straight run chickens, so you may end up with more roosters than you want.
  • Roosters can be noisy and aggressive, the safety of you and your family is always number one. An aggressive rooster should be removed immediately after the first sign of aggression.

How to Choose Straight Run Chickens

If you are considering getting straight run chickens, there are a few things you should keep in mind:

  • Do your research and choose a reputable chicken hatchery.
  • Order your chicks early, especially if you are looking for a specific breed. We often sell out months in advance
  • Be prepared to have both male and female chicks. If you know you would like three hens of a specific straight run chicken breed then go for six chicks to hedge your hen bets.
  • Have a plan for what you will do with the roosters if you do not have enough space for them. Often times local feed stores will take them and resell them to other folks looking for flock protectors.

 

alchemist_farmWhat is a straight run chicken?
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Buying Baby Chicks Near Me

Where to Buy Baby Chicks Near You

If you’re looking to buy baby chicks, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll show you where to buy baby chicks near you, as well as what to look for when choosing a hatchery. We offer pickups of chicks directly from our farm for folks who are local and for folks who live further away, we offer shipping nationwide!

Where to Buy Baby Chicks

There are a few different places where you can buy baby chicks. You can buy them from a local hatchery or national hatchery you trust, a feed store, or even online.

If you’re looking for the best selection of chicks, your best bet is to order chicks online, this way you can secure the breeds you are interested in without having to wait in line at a feed store. Hatcheries typically have a wide variety of breeds to choose from, and they can also give you advice on how to care for your new chicks.

If you don’t have a local hatchery near you, you can also buy chicks from a feed store. Feed stores typically carry a smaller selection of chicks, but they can still be a good option if you’re in a hurry or don’t have time to drive to a hatchery. Do be aware that chicks in the feed store are exposed to many people touching them and there is always the possibility for disease to be transmitted to the chicks if people are touching the chicks who have diseased flocks at home.

Finally, you can also buy chicks online. There are a number of websites that sell baby chicks, and this can be a convenient option if you live in a rural area or don’t have time to go to a hatchery or feed store.

What to Look for When Choosing a Hatchery

When choosing a hatchery, it’s important to do your research and choose one that has a good reputation. Read online reviews and talk to other chicken keepers to get recommendations.

Some things to look for when choosing a hatchery include:

  • A good reputation and good animal husbandry practices. How are they caring for the birds?
  • A wide variety of breeds. We offer 13 unique breeds that lay gorgeous egg colors!
  • A healthy chick guarantee. We guarantee live arrival of all of our baby chicks in the mail 🙂
  • A fast shipping time. We select overnight express delivery through the USPS.
  • A convenient payment method. We accept all credit/debit cards, PayPal, Venmo and checks.

It’s also important to make sure that the hatchery you choose participates in the NPIP program. This will help ensure that the chicks you buy are healthy and free of disease.

How to Care for Baby Chicks

Once you’ve chosen a hatchery and bought your baby chicks, it’s important to know how to care for them properly. Here are a few tips:

  • Provide a warm, safe place for your chicks to live.
  • Feed them a high-quality chick starter feed. Do your research on if you need medicated or unmedicated feed.
  • Keep them clean and dry.
  • Socialize them with people and other animals.

With proper care, your baby chicks will grow into healthy, happy chickens. And you’ll have the enjoyment of watching them interact with your backyard. Chickens are wonderful pets to help get us outside, they give us a reason to get some exercise, they provide company and they lay us eggs. They are truly the perfect pet!

alchemist_farmBuying Baby Chicks Near Me
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Ordering Baby Chicks online

How to Order Chicks Online

Ordering chicks online is a great way to get the breed of chicken you want, when you want it. Skip the line at your local feed store with this method of bringing new chickens into your life. With a little research you can end up with an incredible flock that you will enjoy for years to come. There are many reputable hatcheries (like us!) that ship chicks across the country, and with a little planning, you can have your new chicks arrive healthy and happy. It is important to make sure you know what kind of practices you are supporting when you select what hatchery you would like to order from. We are a no kill humane hatchery meaning that none of the male chicks are killed upon hatch as they are at large scale hatcheries. If that is something that is important to you it is good to do your homework before purchasing at hatcheries other than ours!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when ordering chicks online:

  1. Choose a reputable hatchery that aligns with your values. The power of your dollar is huge, support folks who are treating animals and the planet right! There are many hatcheries out there, so it’s important to do your research and choose one that has a good reputation. Read online reviews and talk to other chicken keepers to get recommendations.
  2. Order your chicks early. Chicks are in high demand, so it’s important to order them early, especially if you have your heart set on a particular breed. Many hatcheries have a waiting list, so it’s best to order as soon as you know you’re ready for chicks. We offer chicks from February through October each year so you have a nice long window of opportunity to order though us.
  3. Provide a warm, safe place for your chicks to arrive. We recommend reading this guide to get you started. When your chicks arrive, they’ll need a warm, safe place to stay. A brooder is a great option for this. You can either buy a brooder or make your own. Just make sure it’s big enough for your chicks to move around comfortably and that it has a heat lamp to keep them warm.
  4. Feed your chicks a high-quality chick starter feed. Chicks need a lot of protein to grow and develop properly. Make sure you feed them a high-quality chick starter feed that is formulated for their age.
  5. Keep your chicks clean and dry. Chicks are susceptible to disease, so it’s important to keep them clean and dry. Change their bedding regularly and make sure they have access to fresh water at all times.
  6. Socialize your chicks. Chicks are social creatures, so it’s important to socialize them from a young age. This will help them become friendly and comfortable around people.

With a little planning and care, ordering chicks online can be a great way to add to your flock. Just be sure to do your research and choose a reputable hatchery. And most importantly, have fun!

Need some help with your supplies to get yourself started? This amazon list has you covered from the time your baby chicks first arrive all the way up to their senior years.

Happy chicken keeping!

alchemist_farmOrdering Baby Chicks online
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Chick Body Parts

Baby chicks, like all birds, have a unique anatomy that is adapted for their survival and growth. It is fun to see them shift and change over each week. For the first few weeks of life here are the different visible body parts of a baby chick:

  1. Beak: The beak of a baby chick is a sharp and pointed structure that is used for pecking and foraging. In the first three days of life the beak will also have an egg tooth attached to it which is a hard extra piece to the beak which helps the chick break out of its shell. The egg tooth falls off naturally.
  2. Eyes: Baby chicks have large, round eyes that are located on either side of their head. They are equipped with excellent vision that helps them find food and stay safe. Fun fact: a chickens eyeballs do not move, instead they have to turn their head to see – this is why the birds have such long bendable necks.
  3. Comb: The comb is a fleshy structure located on top of the baby chick’s head. It helps regulate the bird’s body temperature and is also used to attract mates.
  4. Wattles: Wattles are fleshy, elongated structures that hang from the baby chick’s chin. Like the comb, they help regulate the bird’s body temperature and are also used in mating displays.
  5. Neck: The neck of a baby chick is a slender, flexible structure that connects the head to the body.
  6. Wings: Even as babies, chicks have small wings that are covered in soft feathers. These wings will eventually grow and allow the bird to fly.
  7. Breast: The breast of a baby chick is the large, meaty area located on the front of the bird’s body. It is a popular part of the chicken that is often eaten.
  8. Legs and Feet: Baby chicks have two legs and two feet, each with three toes. The feet are scaly and equipped with sharp claws that are used for scratching and digging.
  9. Vent: The vent is the opening located at the base of the baby chick’s tail. It is used for excreting waste and if your chick is a female this is the same place that eggs will come from.
  10. Feathers: Baby chicks are covered in soft, downy feathers that provide insulation and protection. As the bird grows, these feathers will be replaced with adult feathers. The adult feathers will be the traditional style of feathers you see on chickens which will cover their downy fluff underneath 🙂

Understanding the different body parts of a baby chick is important for anyone who is planning to raise these birds. By learning about their anatomy, you can better care for them and ensure their health and well-being. It is useful to also know the correct names for the body parts. Happy chick raising!

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How many chicks should a beginner start with?

This is an excellent question! The answer ultimately lies in asking yourself why you are keeping chickens? Is It for pets? Pest control? Egg production?

If the answer is eggs for you and your family then the question of how many chicks to start with lies in how many eggs you would like to be receiving per day when they are old enough to lay.

Baby chicken chicks are sold in two ways, “sexed” and “straight run” the sexed chicks are sold as guaranteed males or females. Straight run chicks do not reveal their gender upon hatch and are sold with a 50/50 chance of being male or female. We offer 13 breeds for sale. These breeds are offered as sexed and the rest such as our moss eggers (who lay dark green eggs) and our marans chicken (who lay dark chocolate eggs) are sold straight run.

Lets say you are a family of 4 looking to receive 8 eggs a day in the long run:

Egg Production:

First and foremost, it’s important to understand that not all chickens will lay eggs every day. Egg production depends on the breed of chicken, the age of the bird, and various other factors like diet and living conditions. In general, you can expect a laying hen to produce about 5-7 eggs per week, or roughly 20-28 eggs per month.

Family Size:

To determine how many eggs you need per day, consider the size of your family and how many eggs each person is likely to consume. If each person in your family eats two eggs per day, then you’ll need a total of 8 eggs per day.

Chick Quantity:

Assuming you’re starting with straight run chicks, it’s important to keep in mind that roughly half of them will be male and will not lay eggs. If you want to end up with 8 laying hens, you’ll need to start with at least 16 chicks to ensure that you have enough females. This way, even if a few of them turn out to be roosters, you’ll still have enough hens to meet your egg production needs.

Plan for the Future:

It’s also important to consider the long-term when starting a flock of chickens. Chickens can live for several years, so it’s important to plan for their care and egg production needs beyond the first year. If you want to ensure a steady supply of eggs, you may want to consider adding new chicks to your flock every year or so to replace aging hens.

Once you get into the groove and practice of keeping chickens, adding some new young layers to your existing flock will feel natural and easy.

alchemist_farmHow many chicks should a beginner start with?
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How Do I Care For My Chickens?

This is the most commonly asked question, and a very important one because you want to make sure you are prepared before brining in a new sweet animal into your life!

There are many details within this larger umbrella question. For a deeper dive on how to care for baby chicks you can visit our website section titled “New Chicken Keeper“. For those of you who prefer video classes we offer a Beginning Chicken Keeping Class and for everyone else, here is a general overview to get you thinking in the right direction!

Feeding: Chickens require a balanced diet of protein, carbohydrates, and essential vitamins and minerals. A diet high in protein is especially important for laying hens, as it helps them produce strong, healthy eggs. Chickens can be fed a commercial feed, supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as kitchen cooking scraps and given access to grit for digestion.

Housing: Chickens need a safe and secure place to roost at night and lay their eggs. A chicken coop should provide protection from predators, be well-ventilated, and have ample nesting boxes for egg-laying. It should also be kept clean and free of moisture to prevent disease.

Health: Chickens are susceptible to a range of diseases and parasites, so it is important to keep a close eye on their health. Regularly checking for signs of illness, providing clean water, and keeping the coop clean are all important aspects of maintaining healthy chickens.

General Care: Chickens require regular attention to ensure their overall well-being. This includes monitoring their behavior, providing them with adequate space to move around, and maintaining a regular egg-collecting routine. They invite us to come outside and be with them – daily observation can tell is so much about what is needed for their health and wellbeing.

alchemist_farmHow Do I Care For My Chickens?
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History of The Welsummer Chicken

The History of This Beautiful Breed Is Interesting

The Welsummer chicken is a breed of domestic fowl that originated in the Netherlands. The breed was developed in the village of Welsum, located in the province of Gelderland, in the early 20th century. The breed was created by crossing several other breeds of chickens, including the Partridge Leghorn and the Plymouth Rock, with the goal of creating a bird that was hardy, good layers, and had a distinctive appearance.

The Welsummer was first introduced to England in the 1920s, where it was embraced for its attractive appearance and excellent egg-laying ability. The breed quickly gained popularity among poultry fanciers, and it was soon being exported to other countries, including the United States.

In the United States, the Welsummer remained a relatively unknown breed until the late 20th and early 21st centuries, when a growing interest in heritage poultry breeds led to a resurgence of popularity for the breed. Today, the Welsummer is widely recognized as an excellent layer of medium to large brown eggs, in our case we are selecting for heavy speckling on our eggs. Our line of heritage welsummers originated from an old school breeder in Appalachia and we are continuing on his work of selecting for speckling and robust health!

This is one very understated but amazing breed not to be missed in your flock 🙂

 

alchemist_farmHistory of The Welsummer Chicken
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Benefits Of Keeping Backyard Chickens

There are many benefits to keeping backyard chickens

  1. Fresh eggs: One of the primary benefits of keeping backyard chickens is having a constant supply of fresh eggs. Eggs from backyard chickens are often considered to be of higher quality and have a richer taste than store-bought eggs.
  2. Sustainable food source: Raising your own chickens can be a more sustainable and eco-friendly way to obtain your own food. Backyard chickens require less land, water, and feed than traditional livestock, making them a more efficient source of protein.
  3. Pest control: Chickens are natural pest controllers and can help to keep your garden free of bugs and insects. They can also help control weeds and other unwanted vegetation.
  4. Fertilizer: Backyard chickens produce nutrient-rich fertilizer in the form of their droppings. This can be used to fertilize your garden and improve the soil quality.
  5. Educational opportunities: Keeping backyard chickens can be a great learning experience for children and adults alike. It can teach responsibility, animal husbandry, and the importance of sustainable food production.
  6. Companionship: Chickens can be friendly and sociable animals, and keeping them as pets can provide a source of companionship and entertainment.

There are so many more! Chickens are the most generous of animals, they give and ask very little in return. Some folks say dogs are a mans best friend but we argue that it is in fact chickens that can be! 🙂

alchemist_farmBenefits Of Keeping Backyard Chickens
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Connecting With Your Flock

Not sure how to connect with your flock and start establishing that sweet relationship? Give these suggestions a try! 🙂

  1. Spend time with them: The best way to connect with chickens is to spend time with them. This can involve simply sitting with them, watching them as they go about their day, or providing them with treats and interacting with them. Chickens have unique personalities, and getting to know them can be a rewarding experience.
  2. Handle them regularly: Regularly handling your chickens can help to build trust and a bond between you and your birds. Start by holding them gently and talking to them in a calm and reassuring tone. With time, they will become more comfortable with being handled and may even start to enjoy it.
  3. Provide a safe and comfortable environment: Chickens are social animals and do best when they feel safe and comfortable. Providing a clean, spacious coop and run, along with access to food and water, will help to keep your birds happy and healthy. Adding a dust bath, perches, and other environmental enrichment can also help to make their living environment more enjoyable and increase their overall well-being.

In addition to these three ways, it’s also important to be patient and gentle with your chickens, and to always treat them with respect and kindness. With time and effort, you can develop a strong bond with your chickens and enjoy the many benefits of having these fascinating and entertaining pets in your life. May you all connect sweetly today with your flocks!

 

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