I was reading the other day about the difference between organic and pastured eggs and it made me think of my own Poultry Preparations in case of TEOTWAWKI (The End of the World as we know it). Many of the lessons that we have learned would need to be updated. I am betting that now is a better time to adjust than later.
One of the first things that will happen if trucks stop delivering is there will be no more deliveries of baby chicks. So many people have a mail order relationship with a hatchery. The one problem with a hatchery bird is that you are not certain what kind of bird you have. The hen in the above picture is a Plymouth Barred Rock from a hatchery. Below is what is considered a heritage Plymouth Barred Rock.
The Barred Rock has always been known as a good forager. The cessation of trucks also means that there will not be delivery of poultry feed. We are all going to need a bird that gather a lot of it’s own food. I can tell you that the Heritage Barred Rock is a better forager than the hatchery stock.
Another area where the Heritage breed excels is the ability to raise replacement chicks. The hatcheries breed broodiness out of the hens to ensure egg production and also may be for future orders. Now if you are going to raise replacement chicks then you will either have to have a hen that will brood some young or ensure that your incubator has a source of power.
I know there are incubators that will run on Direct current. The importance to remember is that for 21 days you will have to maintain constant power to the incubator. The natural way with a hen is much easier, but you have to have a hen that is capable.
Another important factor where the Heritage breed excels is the egg production. The natural cycle is for a chicken to rest in the winter. You can fool that with a light in the coop to simulate longer days. The first year that we kept chickens we did not need to supplement light, but we have every year since then. The other important factor is to have a rooster and a good flock of egg layers to ensure future chicks. These will be a source of food and eggs in the future.
The ability to have good foragers, reproducing flocks, and good egg layers will be vital if anything ever happens to the movement of freight. Based on our experience the future is in the Heritage breed of chickens. The hatcheries no doubt have made poultry raising easier but to ensure poultry preparations we are making the move to heritage breeds.