We know spring is coming even if the weather isn’t cooperating because the chickens are laying eggs like crazy! We currently house about 40 chickens here at Goebel Hill Farm. Truly….we house them. The chickens are spoiled. From the day they hatch until the day they die of old age, we provide them with room, board and protection. A few of the ladies are over nine years old! In return for the housing, the chickens give us eggs, fertilizer and entertainment. Our first 25 chicks came in the mail from the good people at Sand Hill Preservation Center in Calamus, Iowa. Sand Hill’s mission is “genetic preservation of the diversity of this planet we all call home”. We are all in with that at Goebel Hill Farm.
Black Copper Marans Hen and Rooster
Over the years, we’ve learned that chickens are a lot like people. The roosters tirelessly compete with each other to be top dog. They flirt with the hens and strut their stuff around the yard; plying the hens with gifts and treats. If we don’t intervene, they will fight to the death over the ladies. There are mean girls in the coop, hens who form clicks and gang up on the less confident hens, pecking them hard on the head if they get too close. After you raise chickens for awhile you learn where all of those idioms come from such as having a “hen party”, being “hen pecked” or acting like a “mother hen”. All true!
The chickens talk among themselves. They calm themselves with soft purring or trilling sounds from the day they hatch. Hens announce when they’ve laid an egg. The roosters warn the others when danger is near, using different calls for different predators. They shout out a loud, sharp “hawk” sound when there is a hawk flying over and all of the chickens disappear under the nearest cover. Sometimes the whole group will let loose with a cacophony of noise at the top of their lungs when there is trouble brewing, which usually bring us running. We’ve arrived out of breath more than once to find a raccoon slinking away, a hawk dining on a small chicken or a coyote running across the yard with a hen in it’s jaws! Once, when the noise started, we raced up the hill to the coop to find all of the chickens pressed up against the fence and two big, ole’ peacocks eating the chicken food. The chickens did not like that! We’ve learned a lot about life and death from raising chickens.
Russian Orloff and her chicks
These days we raise Black Copper Marans and they lay super dark eggs. It has taken many years and lots of patience and we’ve finally reached a good place with them. We are very confident that the eggs they lay will produce another quality Black Copper Marans. We crossed our original hens with hens we hatched from eggs we bought from Frasier Creek Farm in Corvallis, Oregon, a process that took a couple of years. We sell eggs for hatching, so if you’re a chicken aficionado, be sure to pick up a dozen eggs when you come out to tour Goebel Hill Farm. Keep us in mind for local flowers and Christmas wreaths and trees and be sure to click on the video above whenever you need a lift. High five to all of the chicken lovers out there and thank you for your interest in Goebel Hill Farm.
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