Articles about Raising and Breeding Chickens

broody hen

How Long Does it Take Chicken Eggs to Hatch Under a Broody Hen?

Once a hen goes broody and starts setting on eggs, it takes about 21 days for the eggs to hatch, which is the same amount of time it would take in an egg incubator. When it comes to eggs that … Read more

black australorp eggs

When Do Australorps Start Laying?

Our Black Australorps usually to lay their first eggs at around 6-7 months of age. Several things that can affect when they start to lay: What type of food you raise them on What time of year you hatch (or … Read more

GQF Incubators

At what humidity level should I incubate chicken eggs?

Humidity level can have a big effect on the success of your hatch — your hatch rate. Start by following any instructions that came with your incubator, but keep records and improvise from there. The more you incubate and learn … Read more

How much space do chickens need?

It’s important to give your chickens plenty of space. Overcrowding can lead to all sorts of problems. Pecking. Aggression. Poor health. Transmission of diseases. Chickens don’t thrive in an overcrowded coop. How much space is enough? A common recommendation you’ll … Read more

Heritage Black Australorps

Resources for getting started with raising chickens

If you are new to raising chickens, here are several articles and other information that will be useful to you when planning your flock. Articles Planning to start your flock How many chickens should I get? How much space do … Read more

Black Australorp Hen eating grass

How long do laying hens live live?

Although individual laying hens can live for 10-15 years and occasionally longer, the average number of eggs that hens lay tends to drop off as they age. We have hens that are productive after 4 years of laying, and we … Read more

Thumbnail image of a chick brooder

What is a brooder?

A brooder is a space to raise baby chicks. A place that supplies warmth and protection. When baby chicks hatch in an incubator (or when you first purchase them), they need additional heat in order to stay warm. That’s because … Read more

Young chickens

What are started pullets?

Started pullets are female chickens that are at least a few weeks old. Different suppliers sell them at different ages. It’s common to find started pullets anywhere from 4-5 weeks old on up to several months old. If you’re new … Read more

Easter Egger

How many chickens should I get?

Figure out how many eggs you want per day. Multiple that number by two and get that many hens. Most of the year, you’ll have more eggs than you need. That’s the simplest approach. Below, I’ll go into several other … Read more

How I got started raising chickens

My parents first started raising chickens in the early 1970s. When I was 6 years old, we moved to a small town in southeast Texas. We built a coop and bought a small flock of meat chickens and began raising … Read more

Candling a cracked egg

Incubating Chicken Eggs, Day 1

Selecting and Candling the Eggs We went through first and selected the eggs to use. We’ve already set aside any that are too dirty or too old, now we’re candling the “good” eggs to look for any that are cracked. … Read more

Learn from Watching Your Chickens

It’s good to watch your chickens and notice what they do. You can learn a lot more about them that way. And knowing them better will help you care for them better. It’ll also help you see how to integrate … Read more

Black Australorps

Black Australorps Black Australorps are a breed of chicken that was developed in Australia beginning around 1890-1900. They were based on Black Orpingtons from England, which were mainly being raised for meat production. Breeders crossed the Orpingtons with several other … Read more

Heritage Black Australorps

Black Australorp Breeding Goals

Having raised my current flock of Black Australorps for nearly 2 years, I’ve been very happy with them – both the breed and this particular strain. They’re good layers. The males grow quickly to where I can process them for … Read more

Heritage Black Australorps

Heritage Chickens

The clearest and most complete definition of “Heritage Breed Chickens” that I’ve found is on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) website. The ALBC’s definition touches on several important points: APA Standard Breeds Natural reproduction Long, Productive Lifespan (Outdoors) Slow … Read more

The Best Waterers for Chickens

It’s essential that chickens have access to plenty of clean, palatable water. During hot weather, it’s best to put the waterers in the same shady area that the chickens tend to hang out in. If it’s too hot, they’ll be … Read more

Choosing Which Chicken Eggs to Hatch

I recently incubated another batch of eggs from our Black Australorps. One of the first steps when incubating chicken eggs is choosing which eggs to hatch. Why does this matter? For several reasons. First, not all eggs are equally likely … Read more

Baby chick visible at day 19

Hatching Chicks in an Incubator

Once you’ve gained some experience raising chickens, I recommend starting to hatch eggs. You can perpetuate your chickens by hatching eggs from your own flock instead of needing to buy chicks every few years. It’s interesting and enjoyable, and you … Read more

broody hen

Hatching Under a Broody Hen

Certain times during the year, particularly during the spring, some of your hens may go broody. Some breeds of chickens (and certain strains) are more prone toward broodiness than others. What is broodiness? It’s when a hen decides to sit … Read more

Know Which Hens Are Not Laying Eggs? Find Out How

If you aren’t getting as many eggs as you know you should be getting from your flock, how do you tell which hens are not laying and which ones are? There are a number of different ways to tell, some … Read more

Black Australorp Rooster

How to Get Starter Stock for Breeding Chickens

If you want to start breeding chickens in order to perpetuate your flock, there are several different ways you can start: hatch fertile eggs — get eggs from a breeder and begin hatching those buy adult birds — get adult … Read more

black australorp chicks

What Are Straight-Run Chickens?

Straight-run simply means that you’re getting the chickens “as-hatched.” No attempt has been made to determine the gender of the chickens. Does “straight-run” mean that half will be males and half females? No, not necessarily, when you hatch chicks, they … Read more

Black Australorp Rooster

Selecting Chickens for Breeding

January to mid-February, is a good time to begin selecting your breeders. It’s important to do this early in the year so that you have time to move your breeding pairs into separate pens several weeks ahead of when you … Read more

Black Australorp Roosters

Are Black Australorp Roosters Aggressive?

There are several kinds of aggression: Aggression toward people Aggression toward other chickens, particularly roosters. In 5+ years of raising them, I’ve never had serious difficulty with Black Australorp roosters being aggressive toward people. They do tend to be somewhat … Read more

Toward a Self-Sustaining Chicken Flock

Chickens are remarkable. They produce fresh food in family-sized portions, both meat and eggs. They’re adaptable to a wide range of climates and varied purposes. Their manure, properly managed, can build your land’s soil fertility. They’re excellent foragers. And they’re … Read more

Black Australorp Hen

How to Maintain Your Flock’s Egg Production

Having a productive backyard flock requires more than just choosing the best egg production chickens. It has a lot to do with how you manage and maintain your flock. In this article, I’ll give you a basic framework and some … Read more

Black Australorp Rooster

Selective Breeding of Chickens

What is Selective Breeding? Selective breeding is, simply put, breeding with the intent of accomplishing some type of goal. Usually, the goal is multi-faceted. It takes into account various traits, the overall health and vigor of the chicken, the reasons … Read more

black australorp rooster

A Clarification about Selective Breeding

I think it’s important to clarify something about selective breeding because it has, to some degree, gotten a bad rap. Some people take issue with selective breeding because it is an approach that has enabled breeders to produce factory-raised broiler … Read more

black australorp males

How We Got Started Breeding Black Australorps

My family and I began breeding Black Australorps in 2015. We started with a flock of about 100 Black Australorp chicks. I chose Black Australorps for several reasons: They are good layers (they’re known for being the most prolific heritage … Read more

2017 Black Australorp Breeding Plan

Based on our breeding goals, here is a list of what needs to be accomplished this year: Grow newly-hatched chickens to 18 months of age before selecting which ones to use in the breeding program. This will enable us to … Read more