Farming chooks for free eggs seems to be the most common reason to have them. In the beginning, it probably was for us as well. Then the kids took over the chicken/sheep jobs and it became a part of their lives to care for them, tend to their needs, be with them (not all the time of course, but everyday for a while, to bond).
After the winter moult (almost no eggs) they started to lay heavily in spring (up to 6 eggs a day) and then … suddenly one after one got broody (hormones take over then and tell them they can’t leave the nest anymore, the stop laying and just sit there – if there are eggs in the nest or not doesn’t bother them)(yeah, weird).
Stripey started the first brood – we bought a handful of Leghorn eggs for her to sit on. Unfortunately a cold spell in the last week of incubation killed some of these delicate little ones just before they were born – Jelly the little rooster was our only Leghorn (a legitimate successor for Heinzi :)
In the excitement of having chicks we completely lost sight of the other hens, and with three of them also starting to sit on their own eggs, we were expecting to have much more new life soon. At least a Campine (white eggs prospect) is the Dad (and turns out a dedicated one, even feeds his chicks like their moms do, adorable).
Following an intense first-week care, all the moms+chicks were released into the freerange den with the others. It went quite well with minimum hacking. With food and water in abundance, it should stay that way ;) At the moment we have: One rooster, two layers, one irritated ex-broody yet not laying hen, 4 moms with total 11 chicks – of which hopefully will be about 50 % female (keepers), the rest gets to be yummy roast when grown up.