Here at The Oak Tree Low Carbon Farm we breed our own chicks laid by our own ladies and fathered by our magnificent cockerels! We do this because we are improving our “dual purpose” chickens, that is chickens that are suitable for both meat and egg production.
Most chickens farmed today are either fast growing meat birds, or “specialist” egg laying birds. The boy chicks of the egg laying birds (including those of free range, high welfare, birds) are routinely killed as soon as they hatch for “efficiency”.
We prefer to give our boys a few months in the spring sunshine before they become one of the the most delicious roast dinners you can imagine (closely rivaled by our Oak Tree Pork!) A few of the larger boys go on to become our breeding cockerels.
Dual purpose birds have been bred for looks rather than meat or egg production in recent decades, so we are selectively breeding birds that are good meat and egg birds.
This is our third year of breeding chickens, and we have already noticed a significant improvement in both carcass weight and egg laying! In future, when they have improved some more, we plan to sell the fertile eggs to others to incubate so they too can enjoy the benefits of improved dual purpose birds!
They are a real mix of colours now as we have introduced numerous breeds to our flock (Golden Lace Orpington, Light Sussex, Buff Sussex, Plymouth Barred Rock, Ixworths…) and we leave them to find the partner of their choice 🙂