Apr. 18th, 2013

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I'm looking at chicken breeds to have some idea what kind I'll keep in the future.

The main issue with this is, of course, I don't really know where I'll be living in said future and so I don't know how winter-hardy I need them to be. But I'm planning for the potential eventuality that I will in fact be in the same house (I'm considering if parents will give the house to [profile] dakfire and me if we buy them a nice, smaller house to retire into. The downside to this plan is that I will have to continue to pretend liking Mom, and we could probably get more land elsewhere for cheaper, but then I would be able to work with a yard I'm already very familiar with, and be able to continue monitoring the faerie situation here. Also, I'm not entirely sure we're actually zoned to keep chickens, but the people down the road have a whole herd of cattle, so I'm assuming we can get some kind of permit...)

But regardless, it's a good, I guess, practice? for addressing the logical concerns of raising animals the way I want to. I want to have more than a typical backyard flock of 3-5 hens; and if that's important to me (which it is), then it's going to have to factor into my decisions when I do settle on a house.

(Speaking of houses...would it make sense to build a coop or shelter off/against the side of the house? I was thinking that would help keep the chickens warm in the winter. It would probably take extra planning though, since that's one less side to put things on, like the chicken door and the trap door for the nest boxes to steal their eggs like the predator you are and the breathing holes so the chickens don't suffocate and so on. As you can see, my understanding of coops is very technical.)

Anyways, I'm doing research on keeping different breeds together and if you even should do it or not, and it seems like the biggest concern is size. Big chickens might squish little chickens by accident even if they aren't aggressive, because they just aren't the most graceful animals in the world. (I sympathize.) I'm tending towards larger breeds because, well, I want to eat them. Also, bigger eggs. But I would like some variety in size, which apparently is not so bad if they're free-ranging all the time, and/or have separate coops. But, uh, no bantams, I'm guessing. Which is a shame because they are SO CUUUUUUUTE but it's not like I have much use for them anyways?

Like I know several small chickens obviously makes up in meat for a big one so I could have a larger flock of little cute chickens but I would also have to clean more birds and collect more eggs and overall it would be more effort for the same amount of meat and egg which seems kind of silly.

Mostly what I've taken away from my research so far is that I want some Cubalayas (hens, the roosters sound demonic, although it's probably just a matter of respecting them and maybe it would be better to have a multi-spurred aggressive rooster if they're going to be free-ranging and he might be needed to run off/maul predators?), Marans, Silkies (black I think, although I will admit the black skin on the meat freaks me out a bit LOL but I assume it tastes normal so I'll get used to it), and Faverolles.

I might cut out Cubalayas though, because the roosters are aggressive to other males and I...am pretty sure that with the size flock I'm going to have I'll want multiple roosters? I am not sure yet. STILL SO MUCH RESEARCH TO DO. Also, they are apparently very rare to find in North America, and it seems like it might be mean to mix them with the Faverolles who are very meek.

I am also not entirely sure what would happen if you crossbreed Silkies with any of those other breeds. Bad things? IDK. Will I be breeding defective chickens? Mutant chickens?

The Hunter Farm for Gifted Chickens

I haven't mentioned ducks because I kind of already have an idea that I just want to stick with one breed. There are a couple of rare breeds that are in need of preservation, which are good dual-purpose birds, and I want to just keep one of those so I can help preserve the breed, especially in North America. Ancona, Magpie, and Silver Appleyard ducks all sound appealing...as do the Oprington and Campbells, but they're less rare. (Cayugas are reeeeally pretty but apparently very very difficult to pluck, so they're out when the others, especially Magpies are apparently same quality of meat and very easy to pluck. But OH MAN I WISH. LOOK HOW PRETTY THEY ARE MAFKDMSKSF)

Actually, most of those really endangered ducks all look boring, let's just let them die out. I'll keep some Campbells, I love them because they're like your typical mallard but in sepia tone 6 u 9 THEY COME PRE-INSTAGRAMMED.

Nah, I'll probably end up with Magpies.

I kind of like the really natural process of duck and chicken breeding where if an animal isn't preferable for breeding, you don't have to find it a home as a pet, you can just eat it.

Okay, I'm off to do some more research. Mostly on how to keep free-ranging chickens safe from predators and shit. I'd kind of like to let them free-range all of the time but then wouldn't some of them choose to lay out in the yard and every day would be like Easter except more frustrating because I want to eat these eggs? (I admit, I am basing this knowledge entirely off of Harvest Moon games, and maybe...real chickens...are nothing like digital chickens...)


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