A few years ago, a friend called us and wanted to know if we wanted to raise chickens. They had purchased a “batch” but circumstances were preventing them from caring for them the way they felt was needed. We had been discussing raising hens, so this seemed to be the perfect opportunity. Yes! We would take the 25 or so Araucana’s they had.
Araucana’s are also known as the Easter egg hen. That’s because their eggs are different shades of blue, green, or pink. Gorgeous eggs! This hen quickly became my favorite. Since we had never raised hens before, we really didn’t know what to expect. They seemed to lay very well, about one egg per day per hen. Then winter came and their production almost came to a halt. We had heard/read that hens need a certain amount of daylight and heat to produce, so we placed lamps in the chicken coop. This helped increase their production and we were somewhat happy.
This is our Araucana rooster on the left. He is a beautiful bird, but man-oh-man, is he EVER mean!
This past year, the beloved decided to try a different laying hen. I can’t say I was completely happy about this. What about my beautiful colored eggs? Since I wasn’t the one taking care of the ladies, I didn’t say much. He chose to go with an Isa Brown hen. I had never heard of them but knew from their name it was going to be a brown egg. Okay, I could live with that if that’s what he wanted. Can you guess which one is the Isa Brown?
We decided with this batch of chicks that we would just let them free-range with the other hens. It takes a few months for them to come to “laying” age and this happened during the fall when temperatures were becoming cooler. How were we going to keep them warm and give them sufficient light to produce if they were free-ranged? Well, this breed doesn’t need the extras to produce. The beloved has been diligent to search the property and locate their laying nests. Even with temperatures in the teens, snow and ice on the ground, they have been consistently giving us our daily gifts.
I don’t want you to think I’ve given up on my favorite, the Araucana. I still love them, but as you can see from the picture below, they aren’t quite the producer that an Isa Brown is. This was from one day.
What about the taste of a fresh, free-ranged age? There truly is NO comparison! This picture shows just how much of a difference there is in an egg bought at the store and a free-range egg. Which would you prefer? I did not edit this picture!
Okay, you can’t see a lot of eggs in that last picture, but they are there. I just wanted to show off my basket!
For those of you who have layers, what is your favorite?