I can’t have spring without raising at least one batch of chicks. We only keep about 10-15 layers around all the time. If I keep anymore than that we have to many eggs and the feed bill gets to high. I try to change out at least three or four layers each year. I buy red, white and blue leg bands. I put on red on the new ones one year. And white on the new ones the next year and blue on the third year. On the third year the reds get butchered and I can use red all over again for young ones coming in the next year. It helps me keep up with who’s who in the zoo. I put double bands on a good broody so I don’t butcher her. As I let them raise chicks sometimes and I might want a good broody hen if times get much harder.
I buy a batch of layers in the spring each year. Enough for me and a few friends that need a few. This year it is White Leghorns for me and Commercial blacks for a friend. Aren’t they so cute! I have a field trip of toddlers coming out to the farm tomorrow. So I wanted the chicks to be here especially for them to see and pet. I will milk a goat for them and then put the milk into bottles so they can see us feed the baby goats. They plan to come and see the animals and then have a picnic on the playground. The weather is supposed to be in the low 70’s tomorrow so perfect for a farm visit and a picnic. I just know that seeing all those toddlers is going to make me want one!
Later on in the year I will buy a bunch of cheap roosters to raise up to fill the freezer for stewing down all winter. I buy them later so I can butcher them when colder weather is here so I don't have flies on butchering day to deal with.