Chickens that lay during the winter…

Starting a Farm Business Update

I have been reading the Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens book.  In a section that nothing to do with laying hens, there was a comment about how Chantecler chickens produce well in the winter because they were bred and developed in Canada.  So, this started me to think…one of the biggest problems with chickens (or so I have heard), is that they do not produce well during the winter.  It can get really expensive to feed chickens and not get any eggs. 

The main purpose of our farm business is to make a profit on selling chicken eggs which I know is going to be a challenge.  So, I started to research about which chickens produce best in the winter.  From what I can tell, most breeds will produce relatively well through their first winter.  The problem comes during the second winter when, after the chickens go through a molt in the fall and then don’t really start laying again until the next spring.  So, one thing you can do is to buy new chickens every year.  I am not super excited about this idea.  However, I really do not want to be keeping lots of chickens around that are not producing anything either…

So, this is something I think about a lot and then I found a great chicken chart that puts a little “snowflake” in the column that gives the stats about “egg color, productivity and egg size,”  The chart is called the Henderson’s Handy Dandy Chicken Chart.  The snowflake means that the chicken breed lays well in the winter.
I could not fit the entire chart in the blog here but if you click on this image (above), it will take you to the site. 
This has made me re-evaluate my chicken breeds chart:
I have also been thinking about what type of housing we will have for the chickens but I think I will leave that for another blog post…

Other News

Last December, my youngest son, Joshua, got a cheese making kit for Christmas.  We made some cheese and let it age until Grandma came to visit this week.  
Here is a picture of our big block of cheese.  It is a sharp white cheddar.  It tastes really great.  I do want to make some more cheese but I also want to get some smaller molds.  I think this might be a great Christmas present idea.