Looking to buy chicks, eggs, chickens or guineas in the Asheville area?
While we had a wonderful time raising farm-fresh eggs, day-old chicks, free-range chickens, ducks and tick-eating guinea fowl -- we are currently not raising any poultry for sale.
Unfortunately, 1) we never got comfortable with the butchering process, 2) we tired of eating eggs with every meal and -- 3) when you are "gabbers" like we are, we found it too easy to spend an hour talking "shop" every time someone came out to buy a dozen eggs or couple $2 chicks. So, while the cost of getting into the poultry business is minimal, we found it to be a tough way to make any money. Plus, we never got good at sexing the chicks and, since almost everyone wants girls, we inevitably ended up having dozens and dozens of early-rising roosters.
If we haven't yet discouraged you from buying a few chicks, layer hens or guineas, we suggest looking on craigslist.com and the iWanna (Asheville's local, penny-saver type) newspaper.
People often used to ask "what's the best breed of chickens for meat, eggs, etc."
We started out with Buff Orpington (which we absolutely loved), then experimented with a few Araucana (John Adams-type beard and lay gorgeous blue-green eggs), Marans (famous for very dark, brown eggs), White Brahman (meaty with big floppy, feathery feet), Rhode Island Red (really meaty), Barred Rock (friendly as all heck), and Black Australorps (reputation of being the world's most prolific layer breed).
We noticed no significant difference in egg production between any of these heritage breeds -- they all produce well for the first couple years but slowed after that. Since they're heritage breeds, all were good foragers, scattering over a couple acres during the day and then tucking themselves into the coop at night.
Roosters from any of these breeds seem to be pretty interchangeable, as well. They all take about 6 months to beef-up and cooked up to be equally tender in the crockpot. It just makes for good conversation to have so many different breeds running around.
We never raised Cornish Rock Cross, which is what most people are probably most familiar with. (In fact, I believe it's is the only breed of meat chicken you'll ever find at grocery stores or restaurants.) They are the breed of choice for commercial growers since they reach full cleaning weight within just 6 or 7 weeks! Our neighbor had a couple Cornish Rock Cross -- and it's true! While our birds still looked like chicks at 7 or 8 weeks, her's more closely resembled turkeys.
As for the Guineas, we've had just about every color possible: white, lavender, purple and polka-dotted. To assure a good genetic mix, we hatched eggs (purchased off ebay) from a half-dozen states. Our Guineas were fabulous foragers, covering a good quarter mile or so from the coop daily (they seem to have a special fondness for ticks (hooray) and tomatoes (%&#$@!)). If your New Year's resolution is to start getting up earlier in the mornings, having a flock of Guineas around the house will certainly help you accomplish that. If on the other hand, you have only an acre or two of pasture, we'd suggest you go with chickens since that's probably not enough roaming room to satisfy free-ranging Guineas.
Perhaps our favorite foul were ducks. They stick close to home, are wonderful egg layers and can always make you laugh.
SORRY: We currently have no free range chickens, ducks, guineas or farm-fresh eggs for sale.