Frequently Asked Questions
What is an olive egger and what is the
difference between F1 and F2?
An olive egger is not a pure breed of chicken; rather, it is the result of a combination of genes which yield certain egg shell colors. Generally, a breed of dark brown egg laying chicken can be crossed with a breed of blue egg laying chicken to produce a chicken which lays an egg with an olive colored shell. This "olive egger" is referred to as an F1, essentially the first generation of olive laying chickens. That same f1 chicken can be bred back to a dark egg layer to produce a second generation of chickens, the f2 generation, which lays an even darker olive egg. This can be done repeatedly for generations to yield f3, f4, f5, etc. chickens until the egg shell color is almost as dark as that laid by the purebred dark brown egg layer you started with.
Currently, Bushel and a Peck Hatchery offers f1 and f2 olive eggers. Our F1 chicks are the result of a cross between a purebred French Black Copper Maran rooster and a purebred Lavender Ameraucana hen. This is why, if you purchase f1 hatching eggs from us, the egg shells will be blue. The chick which hatches from this blue egg will be an f1 olive egger. Our f2 olive eggers are the result of a cross between our own olive eggers (which are from a previous cream legbar over welsummer pairing) and our purebred French Black Copper Maran rooster.
How much space are birds provided at Bushel and a Peck Hatchery?
On our farm, we prioritize our birds' quality of life. To us, one of the more important facets of this is the amount of indoor and outdoor space to which our birds have regular access. Our ducks, Geese, chickens, and bantam chickens flock and coop up separately, and so this space allotment depends on which group of birds are being considered. Our larger chickens, for instance, have roughly 4.5 sqft of indoor space per bird and free range in an outdoor area that measures approximately 4,000 sqft. Our ducks have roughly 4 sqft of indoor space per bird and have access to the vast majority of our 5-acre property. Our geese have roughly 14 sqft of indoor space per bird and share between them an outdoor pasture with an area of approximately 1/3 acre.
How many hours per day do birds spend outside at Bushel and a Peck Hatchery?
We strive to provide our birds with as much access to the outdoors as the season safely permits. Our biggest constraint is ensuring they are safe from nighttime predators and protected from harsh elements. We maximize this ever-changing window of safe outdoor time by relying on a photosensitive automatic coop door which opens with the sunrise and closes with the sunset. As a result of this, during the shortest days of winter, our birds spend approximately nine hours of their day out of doors; and during the longest days of summer, around fifteen hours. during short periods of very inclement weather, we will manually override these doors in order to prevent a severe draft inside the coop or access to the outside during dangerous storms, for instance; but these days locked indoors are few & far between and have always remained within the HFAC Humane Raised and Handled guidelines which allow for periods of up to two weeks spent inside due to extreme weather.
Do I need to wash or refrigerate the eggs I've purchased before consuming them?
Your eggs for consumption have already been cleaned and should absolutely be refrigerated. We follow the recommended protocols put forth by the Illinois Department of Agriculture for the safe collection, handling, cleaning, and storage of eggs. We feel that the safety of the food products we sell is paramount and we allow the fundamentals of microbiology to guide these precautions. Refrigeration is a very important part of this!
What colors of Sebastopol geese are available?
We are very excited to be able to offer a variety of popular and rare colors of Sebastopol geese. We offer the classic white Sebastopols as well as the popular gray and dilute gray. Additionally, we sell blue and silver (or some also call this "double dose" of blue 'Lavender'). Most excitingly, we occasionally have available buff, lilac, and cream Sebastopols. (Lilac is a combination of buff and blue, and cream is a combination of buff and a "double dose" of blue). All of these colors may be available in saddleback, splash, solid, or pied patterns. The availability of certain combinations and their prices will vary. The website will be updated regularly to reflect this information.
How are birds sexed at Bushel and a Peck Hatchery?
At Bushel and a Peck Hatchery, we do not vent sex our birds as this can cause injury when not done properly. Alternatively, we rely on our knowledge of Sebastopol Goose color genetics to inform the pairing of birds and the expected genetic outcomes of those pairings. Prior to choosing to stay home with our daughter, Andrea attended graduate school where her studies focused on molecular biology. She also taught a college course in genetics during those years and so we do feel very confident in our ability to arrange some of our crosses in a way that will yield goslings which can be sorted into male and female based on their down color at hatch. Not all of the genes for color are sex-linked and so this isn't always the case, which is why we do offer straight run/unsexed goslings as well. For added assurance, we do offer DNA sex testing through a third party lab for an additional charge of $50 per bird.
Do you ship Sebastopol hatching eggs?
We do not ship Sebastopol hatching eggs. This is because goose eggs can be very difficult to hatch, an issue only further compounded by the wear and tear of the shipping process. We do offer Sebastopol hatching eggs for local pickup and our chicken and duck hatching eggs can be shipped safely for an additional charge.
Do you sell Gold or Silver Phase Welsh Harlequin ducklings?
We currently have only Silver Phase Welsh Harlequins in our flock.
Why are there no goslings available currently?
Unlike chickens and ducks, geese are seasonal layers. Their breeding season is slightly variable, but generally runs from around February to April. The incubation period of eggs laid during that time is one month and so we generally have goslings available from mid-March through May. It is not uncommon, though, for us to grow out some of our goslings, especially the rarer colors such as lilac and cream, and then list them at a few months of age. So do check back often - even outside of the breeding season - for older birds!
Do you keep a waiting list?
Yes! If you are looking for something in particular or just want to be certain to secure your birds prior to their hatch, we are happy to take your information down with a 50% deposit and contact you when your birds are available. In the event that we are unable to fulfill your request, the full amount of the deposit will be returned to you.