Monday, May 21, 2012

Chicken Swap

It was a glorious day yesterday for a chicken swap in the southern part of the state.

The sun was high and hot, with a slight breeze and the smell of fresh mown grass.

I woke a friend up and dragged her with me since she has never ever been to a chicken swap and I felt it was something she had to experience!

The big event was held at an apple orchard with a nice parking lot and a small field across the road where vendors parked, set up shade and cages and sold hundreds of various birds.

We were greeted by the sounds of loud ducks and angry geese.

I made sure that I arrived an hour early so I would not miss a single thing.

My goal was to purchase a few more pullets to round out my flock.

It was easy to get swept away by all the different kinds of chicks, ducks, geese, turkeys, as well as house birds such as parakeets, canaries and finches.  Everyone's incubators have been going "full tilt" since March and the immense variety of poultry confirmed it.

I met up with a woman I had been communicating with about her several breeds of chickens.

Chris had some unusual buff chanteclers that I was interested in, but they were much smaller than my current young flock and I thought it best to not get any.  As I said " they were too big to live in my bathroom and too small to go in the coop."   Her other older birds were really nice and calm and I suspected I would return to pick a few out after I had cruised the rest of the poultry being unloaded up and down the road as the crowds started arriving.

This may have been a poultry swap, but there were rabbits, goats, guinea pigs, kittens and other small livestock available.

I was temped to get 2 weeder geese to help me in the garden, but decided I already had my hands full with the flock I already was accumulating.

 The breed that was making the biggest impact on the buyers were the Red Sex Links.
 People were buying 6 at a time.

My favorites are ducks.   I just adore them, especially the call ducks.

I was also looking for a few miniature Silver Appleyards and hoped some would be here.

I found this little pair and watched them for 15 minutes while the hen laid an egg.

Again, I came close to purchasing these 3.  Self control flowed back to my brain and I continued my window shopping experience as i walked down the long field road.

Until I came upon several hundred 4 day old chicks.....

The cage was full of Blue Laced Red Wyandottes (BLRW).  My favorite heritage breed.

I had gotten a chick in March, but it turned out to be a rooster.  I really wanted a few more, but again these were too small to be incorporated into my flock.

I took so many photos of hens and pullets that my camera batteries died.

I met my first pair of Sebastopol geese. Impressive. Enormous. Loud.

 After seeing every single animal that was brought to this chicken swap, I headed back to Chris's area and eventually picked 3 pullet to bring home.

I chose a Red Sex Link, a Speckled Sussex and a "Pullet Surprise."  The last being a questionable mix of possibly Buff Orphinton, Brahman and Easter Egger.  I liked her because she was so calm, had unusual highlights on her feathers, had a small comb and might lay some blue eggs.

Chris's birds were the absolute calmest in attendance and I really wish now I had gotten more of them.

I put them in my 4 slot transport cage and headed home. 

They didn't utter a peep the entire ride home.  They were perfect back seat passengers.

Here is a quick photo of the girls just before I brought them to the coop.

These 3 were hatched the same week as mine and were almost the exact same size. My flock immediately accepted the Speckled Sussex since I already had 2 of them and its clear to me that the flock has imprinted on that particular color pattern and did not see the new gal as being an intruder

However, the red and the gold one had a bit of a tussle for the first 15 minutes and then they got up on the perches and camped out. The red pullet followed me around and let me pick her up. She sat with me while I sorted out garden seeds.  These girls were hand raised, gentle and tame.  I regret not getting more.
The red one has the potential of being a house pet.

Last night the flock roosted together and all is cozy and good this morning.

If I can find 3 more pullets the same age as mine, then that will fill the coop and we will be able to make it thru the winter with enough "hen heat" to keep the coop comfortable. I will still search for some BLRW and a Barred Rock or even a Swedish Flower Hen.

So if you ever get a chance, go to a chicken swap!  There are several going on until July in most New England states. Check with your local Poultry Association or just Google it to find one near you.

Now, be honest and tell me how many birds you have come home with from a swap....



  1. You have remarkable restraint. I would have filled my car to capacity.

  2. Such restraint. I have never been to a "chicken swap" I agree with the previous comment, I'm afraid my OutBack would be filled to the brim!!!!

  3. I got 5 Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, straight run. Too soon to know if they are all roosters..

    My concern with chicken swaps is bio security. I don't want to be bringing home diseases and pests...

    I am glad you 3 new ones settled in well with your others.

  4. There are weeder geese?! I must have one -- I have plenty of weeds to keep it occupied! I've never been to a chicken swap, and neither did I know that they had such interesting names!

  5. I am really afraid to get started with chickens. I already have way too many horses for a sane woman.

    Another issue is that I couldn't let them run around because of the coyotes, mountain lions and bobcats.

    It is fun to live vicariously through you and some of the other bloggers I know who keep chickens!

  6. I'm such an animal lover, I'd have a huge problem deciding what to take home. Actually, I'm really lazy; I prefer buying eggs in a carton, but those bunnies are irresistible.

  7. There are a couple of swaps not too far from us and we visit them both. It's a great way to spend a Sunday afternoon and we have been known to come home with a hen or two!

  8. How neat.

    I didn't even know swaps like this existed!

    It's amazing how blogging broadens my knowledge base.

    I wouldn't have come home with any chickens, however, had my grandlittle's been along I shudder to think what the number might have been!

    Xcellent and fascinating link for the letter X!