Yesterday I picked up some day old Red Sex-Link chicks. These will grow to be yummy-egg-producing layers, another perk for CSA members…
CSA members get first dibs on egg sales. These little critters will also help maintain fertility in the gardens. Their manure, mixed with straw bedding, will be composted and spread next fall on garden sights to revitalize the soil food web.
These baby chicks are fed an un-medicated feed, and once old enough for whole grains, all birds at the farm are fed an un-medicated ration that is GMO-free, as well as scraps, trimmings and weeds from the garden, wild grasses and herbs, and whatever insects, spiders, worms, and other critters they can find while on the prowl in the great outdoors.
So what is with the racy name? Well, a red sex-link chicken is a cross breed. Usually between a mostly white Rooster and a mostly red hen (the specific breeds can vary). The off-springs’ colouration is a sex-based trait. That is, baby roosters are white, and baby hens are red. A helpful trait, since this particular breed is a light bird that is a strong layer. There is not much point in me raising male sex-links, because they wouldn’t make the best meat birds. So what happens to all of the white chicks hatched out? That is a good question.
I will also be raising more white Chantecler chickens this year. They are a rare breed that was developed in Quebec. Chantecler are excellent dual-purpose birds, meaning they are desirable for both their egg production and for meat.
For more info about rare breeds, check out http://www.rarebreedscanada.ca/