We started our adventure raising chickens in March 2015 when we ordered 15 chicks from Meyer Hatchery. We went with the “All Pullet Rainbow Pack” hoping that a variety of different breeds
would help us decide what type of egg layers we wanted to move forward with. We ended up losing one of our chicks upon arrival and later found out one of our hens was actually a rooster. We had a great summer learning the ins and outs of our egg layers and in the spring of 2016 added another 25 hens to the flock. We never did decide on one particular breed so we again went with the Rainbow Pack from Meyer Hatchery.
Our venture into raising meat chickens started in August of 2016. Picking a breed to raise for meat chickens was difficult. The standard Cornish Cross was not appealing to us for a few reasons, so we settled on Delawares in the end. The determining factors were relatively fast growing birds and the fact we could keep some laying hens and a rooster and hatch our own meat birds to raise.
Our coop is a retrofit of the previous property owner’s coop. It hadn’t been functional in a long time, but with some TLC and some design and material upgrades it has been functioning great. The coop is split in half so we have meat chickens on one side and egg layers on the other. Both sides of the coop have an outdoor run attached.
We also use a custom made brooder that we designed and built in an unused room of our house.. More about both these projects can be found in the Projects/How-To section of this site.
Another brooder was built outside in the summer of 2017. We use this brooder for older chicks that need to get out of the house but are not quite big enough to mix in with the other chickens.
We also started running chicken tractors in the summer of 2017. Starting with just one tractor and 15 laying hens they we got from a friend. The goal for 2018 is run about 5 chicken tractor with approximately 30 meat chickens per tractor. See the video about our chicken tractors by clicking the link Happy Hills Homestead Chicken Tractors .