Welcome to Farmstead Chickens

Breeding and Raising Chickens for Practical Use on a Family Homestead

Black Australorp Hen eating grass
The essentials for a long-term egg laying flock

It's easy to find articles on what to do if your hens aren't laying well or how to improve egg-laying. Those are useful as problem solvers and tips to follow.

I won't repeat those tips here. Instead, I'll give you an approach to maintain and improve egg production. We'll explore things like how the age of your flock and breed choice affects the lay rate. I'll give some practical advice on you you can know which hens are laying and which ones aren't. And I'll give some guidelines on how you can keep your laying flock in good production for many years to come.

An Introduction to Poultry Breeding

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 easy to take care of. Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can learn how to improve and perpetuate your flock.

In this article, I’ll discuss these things and how they can come together on your small farm or family homestead.

Pasture with wildflowers
Candling a chicken egg at day 19
BASICS OF HATCHING CHICKEN EGGS

Hatching your own chicks is rewarding, whether you use an incubator or hatch them under a broody hen. If you're going to perpetuate your flocks, hatching eggs from your own chickens is an essential step.

With practice, you can hatch 30 or more chicks at a time in small table-top incubators like the one that I use. In this article, I'll go over all the basics.