Chickens: Pets with Benefits (part 2)

As our 10 baby Buff Orpington chicks grew, we anxiously watched for signs of roosters. We worried that we may have more than one or two because we did not want to butcher or give away these new additions to the homestead family. After watching multiple YouTube videos on Buff Orpington roosters, we finally gave up trying to find the difference between the various chicks.

11 week old Buff Orpington hens
11 week old Buff Orpington hens

Knowing rooster behavior, I was looking for the signs. A rooster will drop one wing and dance around a hen in a mating dance, trying to woo her first. Crowing usually begins pretty early too, from my long ago experience raising chickens as a child, but usually a rooster is noticeable by his larger comb, waddle, and longer feathers.

As none of these characteristics appeared, we finally realized that all 10 of our fluff balls had matured into fat hens. How lucky was that! So now the search was on for a Buff Orpington rooster.

Enter Lincoln:

Rooster
Buff Orpington rooster. We bought him for $5 at the feed store livestock swap. My husband named him Lincoln.

The local feed store was having a livestock swap on Saturday so I drove down with my son to see what they had. As soon as we pulled up in front of the store, there he was, a Buff Orpington rooster. I couldn’t believe my luck!

The lady selling him said he was a sweet rooster but one too many for the hens. As will often happen with too many roosters, the hens will get pretty ragged from all the “activity”.

Well, this one had drawn the short straw and would end up in the stew pot if he didn’t go home with someone today. I quickly handed the lady a five dollar bill and she was nice enough to loan me the cage for 20 minutes while I delivered this lucky rooster to his new flock of girlfriends.

It didn’t take Lincoln long to adjust and he soon had all the ladies following him around as he found food for them, did his rooster dance, and performed his roosterly duties. The first morning we awoke to his crow, we smiled and talked about how our Lincoln had the perfect crow.

Chloe and her sisters had started laying eggs at 18 weeks. They were small and soft at first but then small, hard shelled eggs were appearing in the nesting bins like little presents.

chicken egg
Buff Orpington chicken eggs are light brown and large in size. This one is from a young hen so is much smaller than the ones to follow.

Soon we were getting 6 to 9 eggs per day with rich thick bright orange yolks. The taste was so much better than even the expensive organic eggs we had been buying.

We plan to expand our flock and obtain a producer certificate. Producer certificates are issued for crops produced in their natural and unprocessed state, for honey, and for eggs of domestic poultry.  We won’t get rich but it will make a nice little business that gives us joy. Chickens are truly pets with benefits.

Basket of Chicken Eggs
Sam holding a basket of Buff Orpington chicken eggs.

TAX TIP: The IRS allows you to deduct $5,000 in business startup costs and $5,000 in organizational costs, but only if your total startup costs are $50,000 or less. If your startup costs for either area exceed $50,000, the amount of your allowable deduction will be reduced by that dollar amount.

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