Owning chickens is always an adventure, but a rewarding and relatively easy undertaking. The taste of a free-range egg is unlike any egg you will ever eat. The nutrient levels are much higher in eggs from chickens that eat bugs and vegetables versus chickens that eat just grain. Read more about this at Mother Earth News.
Our flock is free roaming in a large field of grass. We started with 5 Ameraucaunas (blue eggs layers who inspired the name of my blog) and 7 years later our flock has grown to about 30 birds, a mix of barred rocks, Ameraucaunas, and Copper Marans and a couple of mixes that we hatched that are crosses between a cochin rooster and maran hen. In 2015 we raised our first birds for meat, and plan to raise about 30 per year in the future for our own dinner table.
We have a completely sustainable chicken operation, meaning the girls pay for themselves with their egg laying. We try to create an environment where there are plenty of insects and varied plants in our backyard for their foraging, which saves quite a bit on feed costs and bedding. The downside to the free -ranging is that we sometimes lose a few from predation by hawks.
I have a facts & questions section here on raising laying hens!