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Catalog Dreams

January 17, 2011

The new poultry catalogs started arriving in the mail this week and the chatter online has turned to baby chick orders. As I page through the catalogs I find I have a bad case of chick envy.


Aren’t they just the cutest?

I’m not planning on ordering any chicklets this spring, but as I look at all the cute pictures I’m really tempted. The more you learn about chickens and read about the marvelous varieties available, the more you want to try them all. Chicken owners are much like gardeners with their new garden catalogs: each variety seems more promising and, like kids in a candy shop, we want them all!


The trouble with raising chickens in a suburban backyard is there’s only so much room, so you’re limited in how many chicks you can manage. I’m aware that plenty of backyard chicken owners start a whole new flock every year or two, but in order to do that you have to be willing to dispose of the original flock either by processing them (read: butchering) or giving them away. I’m not willing to go there with my girls. Hence, my options are limited.

Right now I’ve got four chickens who are laying like crazy in spite of the frigid weather. In fact, I can hardly keep up with all the eggs they’re giving us, so I really don’t need any more chickens. But I still can dream. Someday I’d love to have Marans for their dark chocolate-colored eggs, striped Barred Rock for their plumage, or Silver Spangled Hamburgs for their regal look. And of course I’d like to have Silkies just because they’re so cute. These tiny bantam chickens with black skin and feathers as soft as fur don’t take up much room at all. (Maybe……just maybe…..I could get a couple this year?)

If you’re wondering which breeds of chickens would be best for you, they all have their own qualities. While I love the elegance and the unique blue and green colored eggs laid by the Easter Egg chicks, my plain brown egg-laying Rhode Island Red hen Ruby has laid more eggs than any hen I’ve ever owned. And my Silver Wyandotte Coco is not far behind.

Good luck on your own chick hunt and let me know what you’re ordering. (I’ll be jealous, but it’s okay.)


As I mentioned, lately we’ve had almost more eggs than we can eat, so I’ve been eating an egg every day for lunch just to make room for the next day’s collection. I usually throw together a salad and top it with a 4-minute cooked egg. The combination is perfect and oh so satisfying, especially when you know the hen that laid your egg.

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