Welsummer and Ameraucana Chicks Join the Flock

The somewhat frumpy, but utterly endearing Ameraucana is in the foreground, with the sleek Welsummer peering from behind.

The somewhat frumpy, but utterly endearing Ameraucana is in the foreground, with the sleek Welsummer peering from behind.

We’ve done it again! Two years after picking out our first backyard chickens, we brought home two new chicks this week. Of course, they’re just as stinky and ridiculous and adorable as the first batch.

As yet unnamed, the Welsummer appears to have clambered to the top of the pecking order and gave the Ameraucana a few sharp baby-pecks last night. For her part, the Ameraucana seems to be following in our Barred Rock’s footsteps; she is an eating machine!

We chose the breeds for a variety of reasons. For one thing, they were available this week at the feed store. Since we only wanted two, there is no way for us to order chicks through the mail, so the semi-local feed and fuel store is our go-to place for chicks.

In addition, as shallow as it sounds, we were drawn to these breeds’ egg colors. Welsummers lay dark brown eggs with speckles. Ameraucanas are known for their blue/green eggs.  As extremely small scale ‘chicken farmers,’ we have always enjoyed being able to tell the Barred Rock’s brown eggs from the Barred Leghorn’s white ones. With these new birds, we will maintain our ability to keep tabs on who’s slacking in the henhouse.

We also considered laying rates. From our rather limited research, it seems Welsummers lay about 160-180 eggs per year, while Ameraucanas lay in the range of 250-280 eggs per year. Unfortunately, we’ve only recently begun keeping proper records of egg-laying for the chickens we have now. Supposedly, Barred Rocks lay 250-300 eggs per year, while Leghorns (not sure about Barred Leghorns) lay in the range of 300-330 eggs per year. These days, just beginning their third year, both Luma and Petunia are laying about four eggs a week.

The Welsummer had better lay beautiful eggs and be fabulously healthy to earn her keep!

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