Trip to a Chicken Farm


I want this.

I called our neighbor down the way who has a chicken farm and asked her if we could come out to see the chickens. Then I called Georgia and told her about it. “Do you want to come with us?” Of course! An outing! Georgia loves an outing. Below, that’s my chicken lady there on the left, with her husband, Georgia, and Princess on their chicken farm.

They also raise ducks, geese, and guineas–which are often in the road. She is a true chickens in the road inspiration. They have two daughters who are both enthusiastically involved with the chicken operation. Their oldest will be selling their farm-fresh eggs at the local farmers market this year.

She told me she got her chickens from ordering “rainbow” mixes, so she raises an assortment. If you recognize any of the breeds in her flock, please, fill me with your knowledge!

I love this gorgeous Golden Buff rooster. I believe the black one is an Araucana. She has brown and black Araucanas (which make the green and blue eggs), though she said she also has some slimmer-appearing black roosters that are Anconas. She also has some red-headed black roosters she called Black Stars.

And this speckled one, which she said was a Barred Rock.

They seem to have a lot of roosters….. (She said quite a few of the roosters are headed for new homes soon.)

Everything comes running when one daughter heads to the food barn.

Can you see ducks running and not be happy?

I’ve had ducks and geese before, but this is my first time with chickens. In the background, below, is the hen house on their farm.

I filled up a box with eggs right out of her nesting boxes inside the hen house.

Sometimes her chickens misbehave and won’t come into the hen house at night. This is Cell Block A, where several naughty banties were being held for psychological reconditioning. She says three days in lockdown next to the henhouse and they learn to come back to the right place at night.

She showed me where rats have been digging into the geese’s nesting house and dragging eggs down a hole.

Her chickens are free range during the day and they range all over the farm and up the hills and into the woods. Do you see the chickens up the hill?

She has several month-old babies in a large metal trough with a light, feeder, and waterer. She says a red light prevents fighting.

I came away with a “rainbow” mix dozen myself. The little white ones are banties. The others will be a surprise!

I have a Little Giant still air incubator. I used it several years ago when I lived by a lake and raised ducks. I had good success hatching ducks with this incubator. We’ll see how I do with chickens.

I worked on stabilizing the temperature to around 100, added water to the wells under the tray, and added the eggs. I marked a X on one side and an O on the other. They’ll need to be turned three times a day.

Since I’ve had success using this incubator before, I would be optimistic, but I’m a bit worried because I haven’t used it in a while, plus I had to take the eggs down our bumpy, rocky road home. I put them in the egg carton, drove slowly, and held them against my stomach with one hand while driving with the other. Still, I’m concerned about the jostling they took. But, I had to get them home….. I set the incubator in a room where I could shut the door and shut out cats, who I’ve found in the past enjoy batting at the incubator and upsetting the eggs. (Not to mention snacking down on babies.) Unfortunately, my lack of recent incubating experience and newness to this house left me unprepared to walk in and find sunlight streaming down on my incubator, raising the temperature over 107, which can kill the eggs. I taped cardboard over the window and quickly got the temperature back in line. I’d been checking the incubator frequently–but did they get too hot, for too long? I don’t know, but I think so. I called my chicken lady. She said, “You might have cooked your eggs.” How fast can I screw up?

I’ll try candling in a week to see what I’ve got….but I’m going back for a second batch of eggs tomorrow.

There’s nothing to do now but turn and hope, watch the temperature and humidity, and get some more eggs. And maybe, just maybe, if something miraculous happens, I’ll be holding some of these beauties in my hands in 21 days. Or a restarted batch in 23 days. Or a re-restarted batch in however many more days. This could be a long chicken watch, people!

Wish me luck?


  1. Country Girl says:

    Oh, I do wish you luck! I am de-lurking here to say I love your blog, and it will be fun to watch your chicks hatch.

  2. Shirley says:

    I can’t wait to see your babies. Maybe the ones you have now will be ok. ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    We always had white chickens. I don’t know if they were a more hardy variety or if my mother just liked them better.

  3. Kim A. says:

    Oooh, we’re on chicken watch! ๐Ÿ˜Ž

    My favourite is that golden rooster — very pretty!

    Of course, silly me thought you were collecting the eggs to eat, and I envisioned breakfast, until I read further. I didn’t realize you were set to go *now* for egg-incubating and hatching.

    Good luck!


  4. Carol W says:

    That was fasinating, seeing all the different types and colours. I have to admit I’ve never really given chickens much of a thought before but I’m really excited waiting for the eggs to hatch. Fingers crossed no harm was done to the first batch. Good luck

  5. Cheryl S. says:

    You’re a farmer! Good luck! Anxiously awaiting the results. I hope the first batch are ok. I love your enthusiasm . . . it’s catching. Reading your blog first thing in the morning always makes me smile and starts my day off in a good way.

  6. sc says:

    Good luck with your eggs….
    I am fairly certain the black and white chickens are not barred rocks. They look more like silver laced wyandottes. The buff coloured ones may be buff orpingtons. To me, the golden buff chickens look like hens not roosters. They seem to lack the associated feathering in the tail and neck.
    …so much fun, and so many to choose from!

  7. Granny Sue says:

    I love the mixed flock. I will hope for the best with your eggs. It may depend on how long they were at that temperature.

    My guesses on the chickens would have been buff orpington, guineas of course, black australorps (probably spelled wrong, but it’s something like that) and silver-laced wyandottes. I’ve had barred rocks (or Domineckers as they’re called here) and they did not look like the chicken in your photo. And I would have guessed the chicken held by the little girl to be the Araucana. It looks very like the Araucanas I’m raising right now.
    But I might be completely off target. There are so many different breeds and now with cross-breeding it’s even more confusing.

    Usually one rooster is all you want. They fight, sometimes to the death of one or the other–it can get pretty war-like, even in a chicken house!

  8. sc says:

    ….please correct me if I’m wrong…I’m still learning

  9. sara hardaway says:

    I too thought ” breakfast” was on the way. Never thought about where chickens come from. There is a lot to this hatching of the egg, raising the chicken for more eggs. Will you sell yours too? It will be fascinating to see as you go along and keep us posted on your progress. Exciting for sure. thanks for sharing.

  10. Cyndi Lewis says:

    I love, love, love chickens! Keep us posted. And keep giving us lots of wonderful pictures (and knowledge).

  11. Hillbilly2 says:

    I have been around chickens most of my life. I never paid attention to the breeds. But when you spoke of “rainbow mix”, I got a mental picture that started my day off with a laugh. The first, I pictured “A” chicken in bright colors. Then I pictured a flock, each chicken in a different color. :chicken:

  12. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Re the breeds, I could be wrong about everything, LOL! That’s what she told me, and I could have then misidentified in the pictures or she might have been talking about different chickens that what I took photos of since she didn’t identify them based on the specific photos. I’ve got a lot to learn!

  13. Howdy says:

    Hey Suzanne – I thought I’d share a couple web sites with you that I had bookmarked. We at one point had been considering a more rural place when we moved and I had been pondering some chickens.

    One site has details on 60 different breed chickens

    the other is a Rare Breed Hatchery where you can order chicks, supplies, etc.

  14. Elcie says:

    I hope you put dates on those eggs. . .

  15. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Thanks, Howdy! I’m going to put those links on my old barn page!

    Elcie, I’m going to do the turning marks for the new ones tomorrow differently so I can tell the batches apart.

  16. Jen-o-topia in TN says:

    Oh, this is so exciting! Thanks for sharing your incubation with us! ๐Ÿ™‚

    I have a few links posted on my site from all the research I did before I got chickens of my own ~ you are welcome to check it out:

  17. MARY says:

    Good luck with the chicks!!!! But what in the world is “Candling”? I love the speckled birds. They are so pretty!! Are you going to have “holding cells” for the bad birds??? I hope they’ll all survive! :butterfly:

  18. Lisa J says:

    Well good luck. Me, I am scared to death of chickens. Carried a gun, chased bad guys, drove at high speeds, for over 21 years, and I am SCARED TO DEATH of chickens. Bad experience as a child, and have never out grown it. So to watch you via the internet is a great way to experience chicken love at its finest. Keep us posted, and maybe I will come to love chickens besides fried and on the dinner table!

  19. Rosa Veldkamp says:

    What fun! I love all the diffrent varieties. That is the way I’d go if I didn’t live in the middle of a large city. I don’t think my neighbours would appreciate the clucking and the crowing on top of my sweet dog’s enthusiasum in letting everyone know when someone’s walking down the sidewalk! :wall:
    Happy chicken hatching! :clap:

  20. Maria says:

    So cool!! Today my daughter asked if she could have a pet when we get our “new house”…my husband said “Sure, you can have chickens if you want…” and a little thrill ran up my spine. But first, we’ll watch and learn…..

  21. Ann says:

    I love Georgia’s velour pants! She reminds me so much of my dear m-i-l!

  22. Treasia says:

    Good luck with your first batch of chicken babies. As well as the rest of them.

  23. Lynn Jones says:

    We just had baby watch in our family–my neice had her first baby. Now I can watch for your baby chicks–what fun. I hope the first batch surprises you and you have chicks before you know it!

  24. Jill S. says:

    I remember when you had ducks. Can’t wait to see the babies!

  25. kacey says:

    well, I’ll enjoy watching and seeing if they hatch. What fun! Can seeing the baby chicks and watching them grow. Hope this all turns out for you. We’ll all be sitting here counting the days!

  26. Paula says:

    Hi! These folks might be able to answer your chicken questions. I read and enjoy their sites and they have lots of info (and pictures) on cats, chickens and pigs.



  27. Remudamom says:

    Oh you are going to have so much fun. When we were going through our Y2K insanity we had 300 chickens, guineas, peafowl, 40 ducks and a flock of the most beautiful geese.

    I have a small flock now, but I keep them at our farmhouse down the road instead of here where we live. I’ve developed a low tolerance for chicken poo.

  28. ML says:

    Yay! Congrats on your way to chickens in the road. It will be so fun watching your eggs hatch and grow up. I wish you the best of luck. Can’t wait to see which type you got.

  29. Fred A. says:

    Heh. My wife sent me this link to read, and I find myself linked in the comments. ๐Ÿ™‚

    I’m with SC above on the breeds — the ‘golden buff’ looks like a Buff Orpington hen, the black one looks to be an Austrolorp or Black Jersey Giant, and the black/white one is a silver-laced Wyandotte (you can see a couple of barred rocks in the middle of this picture, as well as two Buff Orpingtons and an Ameraucana).

    The chicken the little girl is holding is an Ameraucana.

    Good luck with your eggs — I’m about to try hatching my first batch, too.

    (Yay! Some of my chicken learnin’ finally paid off! ๐Ÿ™‚ )

  30. lintys says:

    good luck with the babies Suzanne. I love little baby chicks. They’re so cute and fuzzy. I’ll be looking forward to watching the progress of your new project. Looks like it will be a fun learning experience.

  31. Amy Addison says:

    Oh, chickens! Cute! And one of Younger’s spelling words this week is: chicken!

    Hugs on having possibly cooked your eggs (there’s a sentence you don’t get to say too often when not referring to breakfast). I’m living my country life vicariously trough you, so I’m on chicken watch, too!

  32. Linda~ says:

    Hey there Chickie (Hee Hee)

    I peek in on you daily and am looking forward to the progress with the chickens.

    I am curious about the difference between raising chickens and having chickens for the eggs (i.e. to eat). Is it true that if you just want the eggs you wouldn’t have a rooster around to fertilize them?


  33. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Yes! You only need a rooster if you want fertilized eggs (chicks). Otherwise, a rooster isn’t necessary to get eggs!

  34. Christine says:

    ๐Ÿ˜ฎ 107?! Yeah, I’m afraid you may have cooked ’em. Any idea how long they may have been that way? I’ve heard of some amazing stories where chicks have hatched from the most horrid conditions, so don’t give up hope. You’ll be able to tell for sure in about a week.

    This is just a guess of course, but I think the four darkest brown eggs are Barred Rocks and the three softer beige colored at the front of the incubator are Buff Orpingtons. Or that’s who the mommas are, hard telling who’s the daddy with that many roosters running around. ๐Ÿ˜†

  35. Tori Lennox says:

    Chicken Watch! Such fun! I miss your duck adventures, so I’m looking forward to your adventures in farming. ๐Ÿ™‚

  36. Jodie says:

    Gee, I’m with the poster who was thinking about breakfast. My grandfather who had chickens in the city back in the 1960s & 70s always purchased chicks already hatched. I remember the cute little fluffy ones. But it would be really cool to see a chick hatch. Looking forward to some photos if you catch them in the act. GOOD LUCK! :chicken:

  37. Estella says:

    Good luck with your eggs!
    Bantys tend to hide their eggs at nesting time—they seem to multiply like rabbits.

  38. Susan says:

    The next time my Doctor makes his house call I’ll ask him about his chickens. He raises cows, buffalo, chickens and turkeys. Can you tell we’re country people? ๐Ÿ˜†

    Wishing you only good luck with the chicks! :heart:

  39. Brandy says:

    Good luck! Is it bad that I feel sorry for the eggs that were dragged down the rat hole?

  40. Nicole says:

    Suzanne, I just recently found your blog (via Patry Francis’ blog, I think). We have Silkies, and just the other day I posted about my new incubating adventure with my Little Giant. We await (hopefully) a hatch of Silkies eggs on 4/17. Our eggs came to AZ from FL, so don’t worry too much about the trip down the road your eggs had to endure. Happy hatching!

  41. Nicole says:

    Oh, and here is a great resource I found that does address the temperature spike issue:


  42. Diane says:

    I can’t remember now how I stumbled on your blog, but I’m glad I did! ๐Ÿ™‚ I also live on a farm. And I have chickens! The araucana’ are my favorite. :chicken: I wish you luck with your endeavor!

  43. catslady says:

    It’s not one or the other is it – I mean you still eat the fertilized eggs but I would assume you make sure you eat them right away? I remember my mom saying you didn’t need the rooster to get eggs lol. Isn’t candling when you put it up to a light (candle) to see if anything is growing? someone asked and I’m just guessing lol.

  44. Angie says:

    :chicken: :chicken:
    One of my current “addictions!” I’ve had chickens for a few years now, but this year I began dabbling into buying hatching eggs off eBay and hatching out some new breeds! I’m now a chicken hatching freak! As for the breeds in your pictures… The black one doesn’t look like a black australorp – the comb’s too big, but I’m not sure what it is. Lots of options there. The golden one may be a buff orpington or some various mix related to the buff orp. The one you were told is a barred rock is actually a silver-laced wyandotte. I have several of both barred rocks and SLWs. Nice birds, both. The last picture looks like an Araucana/Americauna. I have to tell you, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE having chickens. The satisfaction of gathering your own eggs is beyond thrilling! When I started, I ordered a batch of chicks. But it takes a good 5-6 months before they will start laying eggs, so I couldn’t stand the wait. While they were maturing, I ran out and found someone willing to part with a few Araucana hens that were already laying. Farm fresh eggs! Nothing better! If you want info, info, info on chickens, check out the forum and other information on . I visit that site daily – just as I do this one! :rockon:

    • feathrencox says:

      :chicken: :chicken:
      I’ve just become obsessed with! Holy moly! There are other chicken crazed people out there just like me! I can’t believe it! :snoopy:

  45. Bayou Woman says:

    I had a solid white Ameracauna, and she was the sweetest hen and laid the prettiest teal blue eggs. I miss her dearly, along with my little red hens.

  46. Carole says:

    I just recently found your blog and enjoy reading about your chicken adventures. Good luck in hatching your first batch of biddies.

    I raise chickens and have some new biddies that are being raised with their mother but I have not ever tried the incubator route. I am considering this in the near future as I expand my flock.

  47. Heather Dobbs says:

    hi…I love this site.I really loved my trip to West Virgina.I have always missed it & tell everyone they need to go.I love living on a farm.You have the old house, farm and the mountains.Perfect!!

  48. Mary says:


  49. feathrencox says:

    The last picture of the black and brown chicken with the earmuffs…that looks just like my Skywalker! She is part Wyandotte and part Araucauna and lays green eggs! What a great site!

  50. Dunbar Hill says:

    I am doing the same thing in the same incubator!!!! Cool!!! But I have show stock ameraucanas (blues and blacks) I wish you the greatest of luck!!! From the sounds of it you were kind of in deep water!!! Hope you didnt cook them!!! Hope you do well!!

  51. samuel says:

    here i am with my knowledge: the first picture is a buff orpington HEN despite what she may have depicted to you, she happens to be incorrect. this being because of the lack of sporting tail feathers, as it seams to be of mature age. also, the second picture with the “barred rock” happens to be a silver laced wyandotte. and the second hen in the buff orpington picture i believe to be a black australorp, which originated in australia. and as a last thought, the word i think you used was “bantie” has been miss-used and is very commonly done so, but the correct term is bantam. good luck!

  52. aspendog says:


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