To the endless amusement of some, each order of chicks from McMurray Hatchery in Iowa comes with one rare or exotic chick! McMurray is an excellent provider of chicks for small and large farmers, homesteaders, and backyard chicken raisers alike. They have an absolutely incredible number of breeds of chickens, turkeys, and more. And it is no easy job to maintain availability and highest quality of chicks of so many breeds!
The chicks I just bought are of three breeds. I got 25 black australorps, a heavy breed with a calm personality. They were bred in Australia, and despite their large size are well adapted to warm climates. The females produce an excellent number of large brown eggs and do fairly well in both winter and summer. The males will be good for meat within a couple of months.
25 Brown leghorns were next on my order list. The leghorns are great providers of white eggs. They are also well suited to hot weather. They are also small and so are supposed to have a better feed-to-egg conversion ratio, which helps cut down on feed costs over the long run. They are active birds and should be good foragers out in the pasture and in the vegetable gardens at the end of the season.
I also got 4 Araucanas chicks. The Araucanas are also known as the easter egg chicken, because their eggs are pastel colored. Chicken eggs don’t just come in brown and white! Green and blue are also options. The Amerucanas may not produce the most eggs of any breed, but they are beautiful and add something different.
And then there is the mystery chick! The one rare or exotic chick provided with each order. I can’t tell what breed it is yet, I’ll have to wait until it grows some more and gets its true feathers. You can be sure that every step of the way I’ll be flipping through the catalog and trying to guess though!!
More on chickens tomorrow, as well as more pictures ….