Farm fresh eggs are a must on our homestead, and to get fresh eggs you have to have chickens. I have quite the collection of chickens roosting in my coops, but each one is there for one specific reason--egg color. Yes, I pick my chickens based on the color of egg they lay. My Americauna eggs are blue, my Isbar eggs are green, my Lavender Orpington eggs are pink, my Barnevelder eggs are chocolate brown, my French Marans eggs are coffee colored, and my American Bresse eggs are creamy white. It's important to say that the color of the egg doesn't change the flavor, but it sure makes for a pretty nest of eggs. One of the most satisfying chores I do each day is gather these eggs, and when I reach into the nest box I can easily tell who was up early and in laying mode by the colors of the eggs I find. I also know who to keep an eye on if I don't get a certain color for a few days. Sometimes I'll notice a hen hovering over a nest full of eggs or nestled down in the same nest for a few days straight. This usually means she's gone broody, and depending on the time of year, I sometimes let her go ahead and hatch them out. It means I won't get a pretty egg from her for a few weeks, but the fun we have watching little chicks scurrying around more than makes up for it. Oh what a joy it is to raise chickens. I must confess, chickens are my absolute favorite farm animal. But shush! Don't spread it around. I'd hate for any of the other animals to hear me say that.
I love farm animals. There are plenty of good reasons for this: they provide food, income, fertilizer, pest and weed control...they can even till my garden for me! But what I really love is having odd farm animals just wandering around. I like to just sit and watch them happily scratch, root, or strut about--doing whatever comes natural to them. Sometimes it gets a little crazy, but they're such a big part of the homestead equation, I can't imagine not having them.