For those getting juvenile pullets this year I thought I’d share a bit for those who are new to poultry. I’ve skipped a few common sense things like how they also need water with their food.
The pullets you receive should be fed a free choice ration of 18-20% grower. Once they reach 16 weeks you can switch them over to a layer crumble or pellet.
The majority of the Backyarder Rainbow Collection are at a juvenile stage in their growth and likely to molt one last time before laying that first coveted egg. If you notice missing feathers don’t fret, they will grow back. If you have birds in the 7-12 week age range you will need to handle gently at that time as they may be in a partial molt. It’s OK if you see chickens eat ground feathers. Sometimes they even eat their own feathers as a good source of protein.
If it’s cold at night you can raise the level of protein to a higher percentage such as 22% to prevent feather damage. Minimize food scraps and treats (corn scratch) until your birds are already laying. They do not require heat at this time. They should be mostly feathered. But if you feel that it’s still too cold out you can supplement heat as long as you have a safe way of doing so.
Fighting hens can be problematic if one draws blood. I suggest treating wound with an anti fungal or salve and placing duct tape over the affected area. The duct tape will eventually fall off after the wound has healed.
Yes, hens have waddles and combs on their heads. However, if it wakes you up in the morning with a trumpet sounding song it’s more than likely a rooster.
Most of our birds are soft feather meaning that they have fluffy feathers. Some that we raise have a more compact feather arrangement and they are known as hard feathered. It’s more likely that you will see feather damage in the soft feathered breeds of poultry.
With the Backyarder Rainbow Collection, we allow you to pick one out of every 3 pack and we will pick the accompanying two. **Update: This blog was written during the 2019 season. Picking one out of every 3 pack does not apply for our 2020 Season onwards. We are only selling chicks at this time, no pullets available. We will pick all three breeds. We will also do our best to give a variety in egg colour.
If you have any other suggestions to add to this list please feel free to email me.
If you have any questions about the backyard rainbow collection here is a link:
You are a part of something much much larger. You are a part of our poultry breeding programs and without you, we wouldn’t be able to do it. I truly appreciate every single pullet order. I always do my best to provide quality birds in season and am always excited to have new members join our extended family.
We really appreciate your orders and thankful that you choose to support small farmers. I am fully aware that you have the option to buy commercial birds or production layers raised by the thousands by someone who has more of a commodity mindset. By choosing us, you aren’t ordering from a hatchery, you aren’t ordering sex links produced merely for the backyard market. Your order and your support help us keep back a lot of birds for breeding programs that would normally go unattended in smaller flocks.
Unlike chick orders, you, our Backyarder Rainbow Collection customers give us the unique opportunity to watch the hens grow from chick to pullet; we then pick the strongest and best breeder to carry on the lineage of the breed. I only keep a small percentage from our Backyarder Rainbow Collection each year. To be exact that number is 5%. Those go towards furthering our progress in strengthening old lines and genetics of birds that have fallen out of favour. You are contributing to something that I can only begin to explain in this post.
It’s a circle of sustainability that is driven to preserve the birds that we love for many more generations to come. We have lines of pure bred birds that can be traced back hundreds of years. Some of those old birds we preserve have actually helped rebuild native populations that would have otherwise been lost if it weren’t for the few committed people who see the necessity in keeping them going.
It’s few and far between who take the time to do what we do. With your purchase of our birds, you help us with all our preservation efforts. I’m so thankful to get to meet you and for our birds to come into your homes.
Thank you so much for doing your part in helping us preserve for the future. We really appreciate your business.
Thanks for dropping by. I'm Matthew Nelson, farmer of Grade Eh Farms. I post on where my love and passion for life intersect with family, farming, food, & chicken for the soul.
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Below are links to websites that gardeners and chicken owners may find helpful and interesting:
Unique chicken coop for a small backyard:
Best source for backyard henhouses in BC. Locally-crafted chicken coops made of repurposed BC cedar:
Useful information on raising healthy, happy free-range hens:
A portion of our ordering policy was stolen from Legbars of Broadway. Thanks Philip. :-)