It has been a wonderful adventure raising my first clutch of chicks at the farm. From day one, they have been curious about their new home at Sugar Grove.
We have two different breeds in this year’s clutch. The ISA Brown chicken has been a regular at the Sugar Grove chicken coop. With a little bit of attention, they quickly become friendly and will follow your every move. One reason why this one of our favorite breeds to raise is because they are diligent egg layers, producing an average of 320 eggs per year.
The second breed you will find in this year’s clutch is the Americana. They are a bit more timid than the ISA Brown, but their plumage is gorgeous and varies from bird to bird. One of our Americanas is blonde and light brown, while the others are dark brown and black. Even with their differing temperaments, these chicks all belong to the same flock.
Up until recently, they have been kept in the coop all day, warm and safe from any predators, such as great-horned owls, cooper’s hawks and foxes, that may be watching from the woods. But now that they have molted their juvenile downy feathers, they are outside basking in the sun and digging for insects. They would stay out all hours of the day and night if we let them, and it has been quite the task herding them inside at the end of each day.
They were separated from the hens for their first few weeks outside as their dietary needs were different. Their grower feed that they eat as chicks has an abundance of protein to help them grow strong. But, now that they are almost full grown, the now “teenager”’ and hens are all a part of the same flock. Since they are now 15 weeks old, later this fall we expect them to start laying enough eggs to keep the fridge in the Creekside Shop regularly stocked. It’s been a joy to get to know our Sugar Grove chickens, all 60 of them!
–Sydney Foster, Land and Farm Coordinator, Indian Creek Nature Center