At our place, Phoenix Farm, I raise purebred Ameraucana full sized chickens. I keep four colors at this time, blue wheaten, brown red, silver and buff. These birds are known for their unusual blue colored eggshells. I have been breeding the birds for nearly twenty years and have achieved a pretty medium blue-green egg shell with some more greenish and some more blue.
The chickens are so much fun to watch free-ranging around the yard. They have very distinct personalities. Because Ameraucanas do not set very well, I have to hatch the birds with incubators. Every spring I have at least 3 hatches or about 45-60 babies running around. The chicks think I’m their mother and sometimes follow me around. I talk to them in chicken language. They are very friendly and colorful birds.
They help to pay for their grain by giving us lots of delicious eggs, some for us and some for sale. I also blow out the insides of the best colored eggs and sell the shells. I sell chicks and adult birds and also feathers that I collect during the year as they are naturally shed. I used to slaughter some of the roosters and sell their hackles but prefer not to. It makes me happier to sell them to good homes with hens, even if I have to keep some roosters over the winter for spring sale. They are mostly very calm roosters so they live together well in the barn.
Once in awhile we get a predator like a fox or hawk. I use netting to protect the birds in their pens but when they free-range, they are on their own. I think if you asked them, they prefer to take their chances being free than cooped up all day. They love to eat bugs and scratch for tidbits. On a hot summer day you can find ten or twelve of them sunbathing and dusting themselves in the middle of the barnyard. It’s a wonderful life for a chicken at Phoenix Farm. You can tell by the delicious healthy quality of their eggs that my chickens are in excellent condition and very happy.