I am a bit of a self proclaimed "chicken lady", or as my husband calls me "the chicken whisperer". I have had laying hens now for about five years and I love it. Aside from the fact that I could eat eggs for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (and believe me it's not unheard of), there is nothing like taking care of an animal and having it feed you in return.
When I moved to Massachusetts I couldn't take my coop with me so I gave away my flock to a coworker. By that summer my husband was re-purposing an old dog house and converting it to a beautiful coop so that I could have chickens again. Given our space restrictions (for now), we are limited on the number of chickens we can house comfortably, but at least it's something!
As far as layers are concerned, I like to stick with dual purpose, American breed, brown egg layers. They are hardy birds that can withstand the heat of summer, and the cold frigid winters. When it comes to egg production, in their prime you can consistently bank on an egg a day per bird. In the summer when the pecking is good, the Rhodies are notorious for their double yolkers which is an added bonus. Personality wise, they are very docile and can usually be seen following me around or being carried under under my arm.
When it comes to food, I try to waste as little as possible. Although they won't eat everything like pigs, you would be surprised by the scraps chickens will eat. Some of my flock's personal favorites include : pasta (look/move just like worms!), the rind of watermelon, cantaloupe, spaghetti squash, kale, arugala, broccoli, avocado, and shredded potatoes. Scraps and veggies that are past their prime are great supplements to their existing diet. Plus, I don't have to throw the food out, relinquishing myself of any guilt!
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