My First Chicken Customer

| 3/28/2017 11:13:00 AM

Jennifer Quinn

Greyscale on fence with hen

Recently, I posted about an extra rooster I didn’t know what to do with (“What to Do About a Shy Rooster?”), since I was in the beginning stages of building my Icelandic breeding flock and had only a few hens and pullets. Finally, it came to me that the thing to do was to post him on Craigslist, hoping someone would be shopping for a rooster and be willing to try an unusual breed. So I posted him for 15 dollars, which is cheap for an Icelandic rooster, but not for one that I probably should have culled in the first place.

Sure enough, that same evening I got a call from a guy who lives only a few miles from me and had seen the ad. He wanted to know if I had any hens to go with the rooster. He had gotten interested in Icelandic chickens after seeing a picture and admiring their plumages. Well, with only one mature hen and three pullets I was reluctant to part with any, but I finally decided I could offer him my least productive pullet along with the rooster (an 8-month-old cockerel, actually) for 25 dollars. I had a sale!

Then it occurred to me that if I collected eight or ten eggs from my remaining hens/pullets (one of which is an amazing egg-layer) and popped them in the incubator, I could probably hatch out a few more pullets for him by summer. They’d be mostly siblings or half-siblings, but since he’s not planning to breed them I figured it wouldn’t matter. And if I cull all the cockerels, I’ll have an abundance of chicken meat later. I suggested that to my new customer, and he said he’d like to have the pullets. So now I have my incubator purring away with ten very nice eggs, all of which look viable so far.

When I began keeping Icelandic chickens I was thinking I might be able to sell some, since the breed is rare and no one else seemed to be selling them in my area. At the time, there was a self-editing list of breeders on the Icelandic Chicken Facebook page, and I thought — once I had a little flock established — I could add myself. Then, the association began limiting the list to approved breeders, with a requirement of 25 birds minimum, including at least 3 roosters.