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How To Raise Chickens ft Annette of Azure Farm

How To Raise Chickens ft Annette of Azure Farm

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Show Notes

Join Nicole and Annette from Azure Farm as they discuss chicken keeping and how to raise chickens.

What You’ll Learn

  • The basics of raising chickens
  • The best breeds for beginner chicken keepers
  • What predators to look out for
  • Get to know Cornish Cross
  • Learn about the Azure Farm Raising Chickens Class (link available on resources)

Our Guest

Annette was raised in Kansas City, MO and moved to the Azure farm almost 4 years ago, where she fell in love with country life.

Azure Farm is about a way of life, helping others know country life, and showing how things can be done more simply; getting back to basics is a great thing! Annette hopes to share with others her family adventures and lessons learned. Azure Farm is set to launch a How To Raise Chickens course, along with the other offerings on their website.

Annette loves her animals and family and is always busy, finding it hard to sit still and not do anything!

Resources & Links Mentioned

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    Transcript

    Announcer: 0:01

    Welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast from HeritageAcresMarket.com when we talk about all things backyard poultry, beekeeping, gardening, sustainable living, and more. And now here's your host, Nicole.

    Nicole: 0:17

    Hello, everybody and welcome to the Backyard Bounty Podcast where we aim to inspire and educate sharing practical information to help your homestead thrive. I'm your host Nicole and today I'm talking to Annette of Azure Farm and the Azure Farm Podcast about the basics of raising chickens. So Annette, thank you and welcome to the show.

    Annette: 0:36

    Hi, thank you so much. This is so exciting. I'm very happy to be a part.

    Nicole: 0:41

    Yeah, I'm excited to get you on the show. We finally made it work.

    Annette: 0:44

    Right?

    Nicole: 0:45

    And we're gonna make the best raising chicken episode ever.

    Annette: 0:51

    I love it. Good idea.

    Nicole: 0:53

    So right now with everything going on, it seems like the interest in chicken keeping has definitely piqued. I've seen a lot of people on my website looking for help and a lot of stuff on social media and I'm assuming that you probably have seen something similar?

    Annette: 1:09

    For sure. It's crazy, all of a sudden it's such a piqued interest in chickens and people want you know, eggs and I mean obviously it's a way to have food on the table and I think people worry about things going on and it's such a nice guarantee to be able to have that with chickens. So it's definitely piqued interest for sure. And friends are asking me do I have eggs and all the things, so it's a good time to get chickens I guess.

    Nicole: 1:33

    It is if you can find them. Apparently they are sold out. In fact, I had a couple people call me today looking for chickens, so...

    Annette: 1:39

    Really, there was a picture I saw at one of our Tractor Supplies that the line was very long going out the door for the chicks, I guess, you know, whenever they get their shipments in, so yeah, it's crazy. They're they're not easy to find, I guess.

    Nicole: 1:54

    Well, it's an interesting, interesting time. Right?

    Annette: 1:57

    For sure. That is for sure. That is for sure. But I mean, chickens can make it a fun time. I'll say that if you're home more and want something to do, I think keeping chickens can be a very fun activity. At least for me.

    Nicole: 2:12

    Especially now in quarantine. I mean, what better thing to do then to go sit in front of your "Chicken TV", or you know, you're little brooder?.

    Annette: 2:19

    Exactly! I love that term "Chicken TV". Oh, man, I need to remember that. What a good idea!

    Nicole: 2:26

    It's way better than cable.

    Unknown Speaker 2:28

    Well, I don't even know I can't even have time to watch television. So I agree. Very true. Yeah, I would think figuring out where to get your chickens from would probably be the main issue right now. But normally people could get them from, you know, a lot of different online sources or your local stores. Usually that's how you can get them. I don't know about near you?

    Nicole: 2:48

    Yeah, I know that, here we of course, have your local Tractor Supply or Big R or something like that.

    Annette: 2:54

    Sure.

    Nicole: 2:55

    Facebook groups are also really good to locate reputable, local breeders. You can order them online. But usually that comes with a minimum for shipping, which I always say find a chicken friend and split the order. That way you don't have 15 or however many if you don't want them.

    Annette: 3:11

    Very true.

    Nicole: 3:12

    Mm hmm.

    Annette: 3:13

    And there's always someone interested, I would say, at least if you live kind of out where there's chickens around, you can usually find someone that's going to want chickens.

    Nicole: 3:21

    Oh, yeah.

    Annette: 3:21

    Yeah, I've gotten mine from lots of different places, actually, from both the store and had them shipped. And I think, you know, there's a few little things in regards to their care that are probably a little different when they come through the mail versus getting them at the store. But I usually get them as babies have you gotten them as pullets a lot?

    Nicole: 3:38

    You know, I actually started with my birds, you know a while ago from a local breeder, and all of the other ones that I've gotten have either been chicks or pullets. But every year I get about 500 or so guinea fowl through the mail.

    Annette: 3:52

    That's amazing.

    Nicole: 3:53

    In fact, I just did a video on YouTube for how to take care of chicks when they come in through the mail because, uh, you It's definitely there's a couple little tricks for those.

    Annette: 4:04

    Sure and I think just when they're little like that, you know, the last ones I ordered came from California and I live in Georgia. So that's a long way obviously they they ship quick but you just got to make sure they get hydrated quick and you know put like electrolytes. I put electrolytes and probiotics in their water and make sure they know where their water is immediately. And yeah, it's just you want to make sure they're hydrated and happy as soon as you get them because they're poor things are scared and have been cooped up in a box for which I feel so bad. But it's the only way to do it, I guess, you know, unless you get them locally, right?

    Nicole: 4:37

    Yeah, I do that same thing with the electrolytes and then I don't feed them for the first probably two hours. That way they can get hydrated and warm and kind of just settle in, take a time, take a nap.

    Annette: 4:49

    Sure. I think the hardest thing, I usually recommend to people to not handle them really for a little bit, even the first few days just because they need to acclimate, And they're brand new, you know, they just literally just came out of an egg. So that's probably the hardest part because everyone just wants to grab them and hold them and they're so cute. But they do need their space for a little bit, especially when they're that little.

    Nicole: 5:13

    Yeah, after a few days, I agree. You can pretty much as long as they stay warm enough handle them as much as you want.

    Annette: 5:19

    Sure. Then they love it. Yeah, I think they love it. Some don't seem to love me. I will say some give me the side eye. I don't know what that is. But some really seem to like me. So I'm glad.

    Nicole: 5:31

    Have you ever had turkey poults?

    Annette: 5:33

    Yes, but they were hatched by their mom. So that was a whole different you know, I didn't have to do anything. It's quite a breeze when the parent does all the work.

    Nicole: 5:45

    Yes. But you know, turkey poults? Well, turkeys in general are like dogs or they just love their people. But turkey poults will beg to spend time with you. I used to, to every time I'd be like sitting around which doesn't happen a lot at all. I'd always have a little poult like on my chest or whatever. And oh my gosh, they're so clingy to like stage five cleaner level, but it's so fun.

    Annette: 5:48

    Oh, I love that! Oh, I'm hoping mine will hatch more this year. I've been waiting to see if anybody starts sitting on eggs, but they haven't quite done it yet. So I'm waiting. I got ducks, turkeys and chickens and I'm waiting for somebody to reproduce. We'll see.

    Nicole: 6:24

    So, what else do you have on your farm? I have a hard time saying "Azure".

    Annette: 6:29

    I know I say Azure. I think the real way is "Azure", but I don't know. I've developed a Southern accent probably by the time I've lived here for 10 years. How long have I been here almost 14 years. So who knows, Azure, whatever you want to say is fine. We've got the turkeys, the ducks, the chickens for our bird category. And then we've got goats, donkeys and alpacas as our larger ones. And then there's a bunch of cats that claim the farm as their own. So they seem to have a blast.

    Nicole: 7:00

    So definitely enough to keep you at least a little busy.

    Annette: 7:04

    I know you don't realize but it's, it's the good kind of busy. I think that's one of the awesome benefits of living out a little ways from the city and having a little bit of land and some animals, I just think it's such a, such a refreshing thing to come home to and to be around and to learn from them and kind of see what they do. And it's just very, very fun. Busy and hard, but fun.

    Nicole: 7:29

    Yeah, it's interesting how that level of work is also almost like therapy or it's a good way to relax at the end of the day is to go do more work, but it's very therapeutic.

    Annette: 7:38

    It is work, but it's not it because it's something at least for me that I enjoy and that it kind of it's just soothing and just seeing the animals like grazing and doing their thing and just the birds in general are so fun, just their little antics and things they do and chasing each other and it's just fun. They all have personalities, you know? And I think people sometimes don't think that certain animals have personalities, or even people are like, why do you have turkeys? And I'm like, oh man, they're pretty awesome. You know, like, there's just so many things that you wouldn't know. And that's okay. People just don't know. But if you have if you're able to experience it, it's definitely very fun and rewarding to see.

    Nicole: 8:19

    That whole dynamic is just different and it's fun and, and I enjoy it too. So with your chickens, I know a lot of people probably have the question of what breeds should they start with, but what are some of the favorites that you have?

    Annette: 8:32

    Oh, there's so many.

    Nicole: 8:34

    It's hard to choose.

    Annette: 8:36

    It's very hard. I mean, you know, I really feel like if you're going to get chickens and you have no idea where to start, you really need to first determine why are you going to get chickens? Do you want them you know for eggs for me for temperament, all those things because they are kind of different in their personalities and what they do. For me like I've loved just, you know, there may be not the like, prettiest quote unquote, but like Buff Orpingtons are very sweet. You know, they just follow me around and hop on my lap and they lay eggs pretty frequently and they're just a fun, you know, kind bird. I have Wyandottes have been good for me too. Oh man, there's I don't know, there's so many breeds. I like the really cute ones I have Silkies now they're super cute, but they're so little you know? I don't know. You know, there's just sometimes I've realized that the more like plain looking bird at least for me have been the friendlier better ones and then the more fancy they get they've been more weird with me maybe that's just me.

    Nicole: 9:36

    I don't know I've had issues with my Wyandottes being really awful creatures of Satan.

    Annette: 9:41

    Really? See, that's what's funny. I don't know maybe it just depends I might have been good. I lost a couple and I was very sad. Oh, but that happens to you know, and so I then try to not get attached because, you know, it's hard to not get attached. It is what have been your favorites?

    Nicole: 9:56

    Oh goodness... I'm not supposed to be put on the spot here!

    Annette: 10:01

    Oh, sorry.

    Nicole: 10:01

    That's okay. It's hard to choose. I originally started with Easter Eggers.

    Annette: 10:07

    Yeah, I love mine.

    Nicole: 10:08

    Those are fun and I like their little puffy cheeks. I have about 50-ish chickens right now and you know, I kind of look at them as my coworkers and not so much my pets because you know, predation and age and stuff.

    Annette: 10:22

    Yeah.

    Nicole: 10:23

    So I try to keep a level of unattachment with them.

    Annette: 10:26

    Yeah, I get that totally. No, that's what I mean, you have you kind of have to at one point you have to because yeah, I totally understand. But I do like those like the Auracanas or Americaunas, those have been fun for me and also fun is the Easter Egger, but they have been fun for me. I think most if you raise them from babies, and they get to know you and all that for the most part, they can be as friendly as a chicken can be and follow you around and stuff as long as you give them snacks.

    Nicole: 10:55

    Yes, treats.

    Annette: 10:57

    There's always, it just works. It's not just love they want, they want the treats.

    Nicole: 11:01

    They're very food motivated, for sure.

    Annette: 11:03

    Yes, that's for sure.

    Nicole: 11:06

    With me because I've had so many in my previous job at the Fire Department where I didn't really have a lot of time to just kind of come home and play with them. So most of mine are pretty unfriendly, but I have this little Polish that I got two years ago, which is the last time I added new birds and I don't know why, I didn't treat that one any different, but that one, she doesn't have a name because every time we name them, they they get picked off by a predator. But we call her "My Little Buddy" and she'll come running.

    Annette: 11:34

    Aww...

    Nicole: 11:35

    And the poor thing. They don't let her grow her crests. She's crestless.

    Annette: 11:40

    That's happened with mine, yep.

    Nicole: 11:41

    Mm hmm.

    Annette: 11:42

    I don't know what it is. They just attracted to those feathers up there.

    Nicole: 11:45

    They are. And of course, this one's the most non-communicative of them and so it's the little, the quiet little gentle ones, so they pick on it.

    Annette: 11:51

    Oh. I guess if people don't know what a Polish is. They have like, I don't know. Does it look like a bit poof like a big mop up top of their head.

    Nicole: 12:00

    Yeah.

    Annette: 12:00

    It's like a big white or depending on their color but a big like poof of feathers literally on top of their head. They can hardly see.

    Nicole: 12:07

    Yes.

    Annette: 12:08

    Because it's there like feathers are coming over their eyes and they're very fun.

    Nicole: 12:12

    Big poofy hair.

    Annette: 12:13

    Yeah, I mean mine was named Tina Turner.

    Nicole: 12:17

    Oh!

    Annette: 12:18

    Yeah. And then the other one was Reba McEntire.

    Nicole: 12:21

    There you go.

    Annette: 12:22

    And then, what was my third one? See I try to not remember the names because I get attached to. Donna Summers or something. They all had like singer names with like fun hair. So yeah.

    Nicole: 12:34

    Definitely a decorative breed not not the best egg layers, but they're cute or different.

    Annette: 12:40

    Very true.

    Nicole: 12:41

    So what are some issues that you faced with your chicken experience either with them as little or or as they've gotten older?

    Annette: 12:50

    It depends, you know, again, like why do you want chickens are you going to get just a few or on a large scale, you know all those things, but it's really figuring out there, like coop and run set up. And for me, we've like had to redo a couple things a few times because I didn't know at first what we really needed and what was best. And so I feel like we finally have a setup where it works and all of that, but I would say like, if you're wanting to get some chickens really have an idea of kind of what you want. It's hard because you know, with chickens, I mean, you probably you have so many but the whole chicken math thing?

    Nicole: 13:25

    Oh, that's a thing.

    Annette: 13:27

    Where you think like, "I'm only gonna have five chickens". Sure you are. Why what? Yeah, like, why would I need this huge... or why would I need more space? Or why do I need to plan for that? I'm only getting five chickens. Well, I'm just gonna tell you. You don't just end up with five chickens.

    Nicole: 13:43

    I started with six for what it's worth.

    Annette: 13:45

    Yeah. See? And now you have fifty. So it just, this is just how it works. It's just multiplies and all these things. So the main thing I probably hadn't really known to plan for and all that is to really have a structure that works well, and that was safe. And to figure out how I was gonna do their daily kind of thing in terms of like do I let them free range or not, you know, is their area safe? All those things because we lost a lot of chickens in the first little while that we had them. And you know, that was really hard because I was attached to them. And then I realized, okay, there's a few things we have to tweak and make sure there's proper, you know, fencing, and they're coop is secure and all those different things which some people don't tell you. I swear, everyone at first just talked about how awesome chickens were and nobody told me you could lose chickens, which is always a risk no matter what you do. But it's just nice to be prepared and have the right housing and environment and all that stuff.

    Nicole: 13:45

    Yeah, I had the same struggle. And that's, that's actually part of how I ended up with so many birds because I had an initial coop and run and it was fine for the five birds and then it had some problems. So I built something new and then I had this old run. Of course, I had to put something in it. So then I got the turkeys or the peacocks or you know, whatever it kind of expanded from there. But we actually had an episode with Matt from Carolina Coops a few weeks back that has a lot of really good pointers for people that are looking to build their own coop and run. But that has been a huge challenge. You have to make it big enough that everybody's happy and easy to clean and easy to get your eggs in the right perches and the right nest boxes and so they don't poop in their nest boxes. That's been the probably the biggest challenge sort of predators, for us as well.

    Annette: 15:37

    I think it's something once you kind of know and what like what to look for then it's okay. But yeah, especially when you have I will say different kinds of birds like not just chickens, because all mine are... most of them are actually together.

    Nicole: 15:49

    Oh, really.

    Annette: 15:50

    Yeah, not everybody does that. Nor do you need to. It's just how it's worked out okay for us. But yeah, it's just interesting how you just have to think of all these dynamics, so many dynamics for between all the children they just you know, they all have different... oh man, what can you do you know?

    Nicole: 16:07

    Yeah I keep all of my birds separate so since you have a mixed flock, what does your coop and run look like?

    Annette: 16:14

    Yeah, so I realized so the turkeys for me don't for the most part do not like to sleep inside the coop. They never did, it's just kind of not their thing so I have for them like tree limbs in the run and the run is completely enclosed and it has a roof over half of it. So then in winter I'll cover a side of it with kind of where they are with like super heavy plastic. So they actually do really well that way and like it much better than when I was trying to shove them into a coop and lock them up. So I realized that that works for them and that's good and now I have ducks so the ducks I have to make sure there's bedding on the ground of the coop because they all sleep on the ground, which is a different dynamic. And then of course, the chickens, they figure out, you know, there's all sorts of perches for them. And of course, they all fight over the super highest part that, you know, where they all think they're at the top of the food chain, so to speak. But yeah, I think it's just making sure you have adequate space for everyone and learning, you know, what works best for your flock. And that might not be what traditionally you might think. Yeah, they seem to do okay. They seem to like it. I think they do anyways, they haven't told me different.

    Nicole: 17:33

    The only reason mine are separate is because like I mentioned, I had a separate structure. So I just kind of Yeah, advantage of it. But I've always been concerned about the possibility of Blackhead with the turkey.

    Annette: 17:43

    Yeah, but, and I researched that a lot. And I talked with a lot of people about that. And that's just something that turkeys can get from chickens. A lot of times if you keep them together, what I realized is mine free range every day. They're actually not really cooped up together all that much, except for at night, and with the turkeys kind of not sleeping with the chickens, because they're separate and a lot of their poop and things don't really go in the same place and a lot of their eating is still kind of separate. And then when they free range they're out and about. So I think if they were cooped up more and have to be like, like 24, seven in a small enclosure all the time, I do think that could be an issue. But the people I talked to told me that kind of also depends where you are and all these things, but that as long as you're not enclosed together all the time, that shouldn't be an issue and so I'm going with that plan.

    Nicole: 18:38

    Well, if it seems like it's been working.

    Annette: 18:40

    Yeah, they've been okay.

    Nicole: 18:41

    So do you keep different feeders for your mixed birds because it's a mixed flock or does everybody eat out of the same feeder,

    Annette: 18:48

    They've got a couple feeders but they all eat the same main kind of general chicken feed and then I supplement into it depending on what's going on with the flock. So I'll sometimes make my own which is very complicated. I wouldn't recommend that to everyone but you can. The ducks need you know more like Niacin and different things especially when they're little so I'll add like Nutritional Yeast or Brewers Yeast and things into that mix as well. And then extra seeds and all those type of things which the turkeys love so everybody can eat everything you just have to make sure that there's the right nutritional things that everyone needs. And again, they free range every day. So they are able to forage and get everything they would want from free ranging as well. And our winters are not super harsh. You're a lot colder where you are where you probably supplement more. I would think then here obviously in the winter, they'll eat more feed versus free range but it balances out I think.

    Nicole: 19:45

    So since you free range them every day, what sort of predators do you have in your area? And I know that you said that you've lost some was that due to predators?

    Annette: 19:54

    In our area during the day it's hawks. That's not an issue with the turkeys but it can be for the chickens, and some of the ducks. The chickens we've definitely lost quite a few to hawks and what I hadn't realized is where you let them free range and do everything it's great if they can have places to shelter under whether that be it could be just brush or bushes or you know even just something that if if there is something coming from above they can quickly like scurry and go under. And at first the area that they were free ranging and didn't have that they were free ranging in a much like wider just kind of field, and it was almost like "Come eat me. Here I am." type of thing. So I would say just make sure if they're free ranging that they have areas they can duck under or little structures to. At night, our issues would be raccoon and fox. Coyotes around here too but it would be a little harder for them to get in. We've got the donkeys and everything near the coop so it'd be hard for the those larger animals to get near. But I know we lost ducks and everything to raccoon especially because the ducks sleep on the ground. So, you know, that's always a bummer. But I will say for a longest time, I didn't have a rooster. And I guess you know, there's probably a lot of pros and cons people could argue for that. But I've not lost hens since I've had a rooster. He takes his job very seriously. And it's helped.

    Nicole: 21:18

    That's one of the things I love about guinea fowl. And I always tell people if you have the space, and you don't have to worry about neighbors being upset about a couple noisier birds.

    Annette: 21:28

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.

    Nicole: 21:29

    Is to add a couple of guinea fowl because they're so much more wild that they pay a lot more attention.

    Annette: 21:36

    Mm hmm.

    Nicole: 21:36

    And they won't leave the flock because they're very, very flock oriented, so they'll stay close with the chickens. But I always keep two to three guineas in with my chickens because they watch the sky. They watch the ground and they are the first to see anything every time.

    Annette: 21:53

    I love that. I've heard that almost, you know, I almost got guineas. It was like almost two years ago and it just didn't worked out in terms of like, I didn't have a place to put them and all these different things. So I'm gonna have to talk to you after this, and we're gonna have to figure out a plan for me.

    Nicole: 22:07

    Yeah, definitely.

    Annette: 22:08

    But the rooster definitely alerts the hens and is on the alert and lets them know. And it's really kind of cool to see how animals communicate with each other and alert and then they all kind of follow and it's just very cool dynamic. So I've heard a goose. Have you heard of that?

    Nicole: 22:25

    I've heard that too. I just don't have any personal experience.

    Annette: 22:28

    I don't either. I've heard that what you have to just get one I guess is what people have told me because two will pair together and then they won't they won't watch but that one will watch a flock and alert too. So I don't know.

    Nicole: 22:40

    I know for us, our biggest issue is coyotes. We do have hawks and that's definitely a problem. But I haven't personally lost any birds, to hawks but the coyotes, they even come out in the middle of the day, and they'll pick them off.

    Annette: 22:54

    Man, that's not fun.

    Nicole: 22:56

    And those are really hard because even if you have a fence, they can climb over tall fences.

    Annette: 23:01

    Sure, absolutely.

    Nicole: 23:02

    It is day and night. It's just I don't free range my birds unless I can actually be out there with them. So if I'm doing yard work or something. And then we have a Rottweiler that has taken the role of livestock guardian dog very seriously. She's very gentle to the chickens doesn't hurt the chickens, but she even chases off like Tweety birds and stuff.

    Annette: 23:22

    Ah, I love that. It's hard. It's hard with animals. And I think it's one thing like, if you're going to get chickens just know that it's bound to happen at some point, the first time it happens will be the worst.

    Nicole: 23:38

    Yeah.

    Annette: 23:38

    And I would say just don't give up on having them because I do feel there's a lot of benefits and enjoyment from them even if you do lose some. But, you know, farm life kind of has to toughen you up a little, you just kind of, just I don't know.

    Nicole: 23:53

    Well, I think especially the people in an urban setting are surprised to find when a stray dog or a passing hawk of some sort or bird of prey comes in and loses takes a bird. So, unfortunately, I think it's just kind of part of the deal. And it's unfortunately inevitable.

    Annette: 24:10

    Yeah, it's just something you just have to know is going to happen at some point and just be prepared. Even if you take all precautions, you know, and I will say, like you said, in a more urban like, oriented neighborhood because so many people have chickens. Now, dogs are a big thing, because dogs naturally will chase something, you know, unless they've been trained not to. And unfortunately, a lot of time it's, you know, a neighbor's dog or even people's own dogs who are not used to having chickens. So just, you know, kind of have to just be aware of that and, and train them or whatever you might need to do there because that's more disheartening. If it was your own pet that did it, then that would just be really sad.

    Nicole: 24:49

    Poor chickens...

    Annette: 24:50

    I know right? We've gotten very depressing. Our chickens are great. Chickens are so great. I do think it's good to talk about it only because people don't talk about enough.

    Nicole: 25:00

    What's your favorite egg color?

    Annette: 25:02

    That's like asking me what favorite chicken I know. It's all pretty. I mean, of course I love the blue ones. I was shocked at how many people didn't know chickens laid more than just white or brown eggs, you know? And obviously, if you don't know a lot about them and you just buy like, you know, just the grocery store eggs, that's all they come in. I had one lady that was like, "No, that's not possible that they're blue." And I'm like, "No, they are, I promise!", and I sell my eggs. So the first time I brought them and it was like a, you know, multi color version. They were just like, What in the world but how cool. You know, how cool that you get your own variety. And it's like a surprise every time and yeah, it's just cool.

    Nicole: 25:41

    And the nutritional value does not change based on outward appearance.

    Annette: 25:44

    I have been asked that. That kind of would be fun, but that wouldn't be fair.

    Nicole: 25:49

    Like M&Ms, they're all the same on the inside.

    Annette: 25:51

    Yes, still delicious!

    Nicole: 25:54

    So I don't know if you have experienced anybody with this, but one thing that I've seen a lot of recently is people that go to their local feed store and maybe bins are mislabeled. Or maybe it's due to a lack of understanding and people end up purchasing Cornish Cross birds that they find is not a good thing if they want egg layers.

    Annette: 26:18

    Correct I have not had that happen to me. I know someone that did that and they were disappointed.

    Nicole: 26:25

    Yeah, I bet that was an understatement.

    Annette: 26:27

    So the Cornish Cross, what we usually say are the ones that are used for meat, right? So it's not the same as egg laying hen. Tractor Supply and those don't normally have a lot of those.

    Nicole: 26:38

    See, ours does.

    Annette: 26:39

    Your does?

    Nicole: 26:40

    Mmm, hmm.

    Annette: 26:41

    The ones here don't maybe depends on local, you know, an area demand maybe, you know?

    Nicole: 26:45

    Yeah, that could be you know, they all look so similar when they are little.

    Nicole: 26:49

    I know that traditionally the Cornish Cross because they grow up to be a white colored bird, so they're yellow, and they have really thick legs. That's the best way I can describe it.

    Annette: 26:59

    That's a good thing. You know, I had two, I bought two on purpose.

    Nicole: 27:02

    Oh, did you?

    Annette: 27:03

    When I first got the flock because I was like, you know what I want to and they are just the plain white but they were actually very fun. And you know, they were loud. They were a little more voice full actually than my other ones.

    Nicole: 27:16

    Really?

    Annette: 27:17

    So I don't know if that had, yeah, I don't know if that had anything to do with it. But you're right, their legs were very prominent from the get go.

    Nicole: 27:25

    So did you get them to butcher then? Did you process them?

    Annette: 27:29

    No, they were two of the ones that got taken.

    Nicole: 27:32

    Oh, no.

    Annette: 27:33

    Right. So maybe the wild animals knew, that those are ones that are more for food. But I had them for a long time. I had them for maybe a couple years.

    Nicole: 27:44

    Really?

    Annette: 27:44

    Yeah. Yeah.

    Nicole: 27:45

    I'm curious about that. Because I know traditionally, they six to eight to 10 weeks they get giant and they usually rub the feathers off their bellies because they can't walk, and they're huge, and everybody says you need to butcher them or they're going to have little chicken heart attacks and die.

    Annette: 28:02

    Mine did okay. I don't know if maybe where they were from? I got them at the local store they got big but they weren't like how you see in like the pictures like you know, because they do they get like really large because that's why you butcher them because they grow like a very meaty chicken. No, I did okay, they didn't I one time I just didn't find them. I'm assuming they got taken. Does that make sense? And I didn't find them around so yeah, but no they were out because I got them in July and they were around at least a year and a half.

    Nicole: 28:36

    Oh, interesting. I haven't raised any myself but that's just everything that that I've read about that that if you don't butcher them, they're gonna die a horrible death because they're so big and fat and...

    Annette: 28:47

    Maybe the ones I got weren't like the full like they were Cornish, but maybe they may because where they came from, I got nothing. But they were fun. I named them Snow and Angel., because they're white See, you're not supposed to name up them, don't name them.

    Nicole: 29:02

    That's how you guarantee them to get picked off by predators. Obviously, there is a lot to learn about chickens, especially for somebody that maybe is jumping into it right now and hasn't had the time and opportunity to spend, you know, while researching or what have you. So I know that you have a chicken keeping class?

    Annette: 29:25

    Yeah, it's so basic. I feel like you have tons of amazing resources on your site. Yeah, it's just the basics. Like if you haven't had chickens, or even if you do and you want to maybe get a little more information about something, it's just a pretty broad from baby to adult course to hopefully make you feel like you're prepared to care for them and you know what to do when they're little and as they grow and what to feed them and I go over like their coop and run and all the different things, a lot of the things we've talked about tonight and just to hopefully make you feel ready and capable of taking care of them and enjoying them because that's the fun part.

    Nicole: 30:02

    Well, and I'm sure I mean, you can get information from my website, somebody else's website and this than the other, but sometimes there can be some contradictory information. So it's nice to have everything bundled and in one little package that you can just go through and get the information.

    Annette: 30:17

    It's all videos like I did videos. So there's videos on each topic. So and like an ebook, and again, like you said, there could be contradicting things. This is what's worked for me, you know, for the time that I've had chickens and all that I've learned. And of course, you know, you still learn things day to day, but I feel like it's good to share knowledge and help each other, you know?

    Nicole: 30:36

    Yeah, no, especially if somebody is new and just kind of jumped in I'm sure that any resource would be helpful. So where can we find your course?

    Annette: 30:43

    It's actually "HowtoRaiseChickensCourse.com".

    Nicole: 30:46

    Well, how about that.

    Annette: 30:47

    Right? Pretty simple. They can also you know, find me through like my Azure Farm website or my Instagram but yeah, we thought we'd make it easy "HowtoRaiseChickensCourse.com". A quick thing I can remember.

    Nicole: 31:01

    And of course, I can put a link to that in the show notes so that will be even easier.

    Annette: 31:05

    Aw, thank you. With the chickens. I just think the main thing to tell people is, before you get them, you know, make sure you can have them wherever you live, because there's a choice and all those things depending on where you are. And then just research a little bit before you get them. It's hard to not maybe just run to the store and buy them when you see them, you know, but I think it's good to just be a little prepared and then you'll be more successful in raising them and having them for a long time and having them be healthy and happy.

    Nicole: 31:32

    Yeah, I agree. Just like anything else, you know, they're a living creature and doing your homework ahead of time will make your life and there's a lot better

    Annette: 31:40

    Agreed. They do grow. They do have a real weird tween stage to you know, like, I think everyone's like, "Oh, baby chicks are so cute", and they are and then they get into like this weird awkward phase. You know, or you're like, "What is that?" Like, it's like their kind of dinosaur looking with feathers. You know before they get like, fully like adult cute hens. So you know, you just have to be prepared. That's all.

    Nicole: 32:03

    Yeah, that "Oh, I hope that you don't look like this forever stage".

    Annette: 32:07

    Exactly. Nobody warned me at first, or my husband one time was like, "Wow, they look different". I was like, "Yeah", and I had like, 18 of them. And like this brooder and they were all like squawking and they just looked like wild. And I was like, wow, this is totally different. But it's very fun.

    Nicole: 32:25

    Yeah, I definitely think that whether or not you're getting chickens right now for you know, sort of a food security thing or you just want to add them to your home or your farm or whatever, however you live. I think they're awesome. I think everybody should have chickens. They're great.

    Annette: 32:42

    I very much agree.

    Annette: 32:43

    Well, Annette, thank you so much for talking chickens with me today and sharing some of your stories and your experience. I hope that the listeners were able to take some information out of this and hopefully make their chicken raising ventures more successful.

    Annette: 32:58

    No, thank you. I admire all you do. You're so awesome and have so much that you do. So it's it's not easy. I know. So, hats off to you and thank you for asking me to be a part. I'm very grateful.

    Nicole: 33:09

    Yeah, thanks for being on the show. And I could say the same to you. I love your Instagram, and I'm so very jealous of your beautiful farm and all of your amazing animals and your Instagram is incredible. I love watching everything that you do there, without sounding stalkerish.

    Annette: 33:25

    Oh, no, no, you're so sweet. Thank you. Don't worry. I'd like to take nice pictures, but they're still all sorts of gross farm things. Don't worry.

    Nicole: 33:33

    Well, you sure make it look beautiful.

    Annette: 33:35

    Well, thank you. Thank you so much.

    Nicole: 33:37

    And for those of you listening, thank you so much for joining us for another episode of Backyard Bounty. If you have a question for the show, call our listener message line at 719-647-7754, again 719-647-7754 and leave your question or comment for a future episode. And don't miss next week episode when we talk to Angela of Ax and Root Homestead about making soap. See you next week!

    Announcer: 34:05

    Thank you for listening the Backyard Bounty Podcast by HeritageAcresMarket.com. Don't forget to subscribe and leave us a review. If you have a question you'd like us to answer on the show, please email us at "Ask@HeritageAcresMarket.com". Also find us on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube at Heritage Acres Market. All the links mentioned in this podcast will be included in the description. See you again next week.

    Edited by PodSugar Audio Production & Editing

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