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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Like any good mistress....

....I am keeping chickens.  The history of keeping chickens for eggs, meat, and feathers goes way, way back, and I won't bore you with a lecture.  Needless to say, we're doing something many have done before us.  I resisted at first, thinking about the smell, the poo, and the general overall ick that would come along with them.  Then I visited a friend and her flock.  I was hooked.  Hers free range and actually greeted me as I stepped out of the truck.  As I watched them crowd around the feed, I thought "I can do this!"  Next, I set out learning about breed, because yes, there are many, many breeds of chickens!  Not all chickens lay white eggs, the majority lay brown, and then there are those that lay blue ones.  I agonized for weeks over what breed I wanted, then I realized I could order multiple breeds at once!  Happy thought indeed!  I decided to narrow it down to 4 breeds, and 12 chickens to start with.  I didn't want to get in over my head!  I studied breed charts, the number of eggs each breed is said lay each week, and with all that swimming around in my head, I chose.  4 Buff Orpingtons, 3 Silver-Laced Wyandottes, 3 Barred Rocks, and 2 Easter Eggers, for Maddie and Caris.  The Buff's and the Barred Rocks are old breeds that are common in many backyards, and the Wyandottes, while old as well, are simply just gorgeous.  Yes, chickens can be gorgeous as well as cute when they are fuzzy.

And so, the day came!  14 little fuzzy butts were carefully placed in the brooder, heat lamp on so they don't catch a chill.  I didn't realize that having baby chicks is almost like having infants, they need almost constant attention to make sure they are not too hot, or too cold.  The first week is the worst, and knowing this I walked with baited breath out to the coop to check on the little ladies, hoping that all were alive and peeping.  After the disaster with the meat birds, I didn't hold much hope.  But, I can safely sat that as of today, they are 4 weeks old, and still going strong.  We have a few weeks before we'll know who is a he, and who is a she, despite having ordered all females.  Chick sexing is 90% accurate, but if we have a rooster, I won't mind.  It will be a few months before we have any eggs, so while we wait, we'll get to know our girls and discover their personalities.  Some are already very friendly and curious of us, coming up to us and even jumping up on my shoulder. (amazing that chick didn't have a heart attack when I shrieked!)

So, this is one way I will be spending my summer...keeping chickens.  Let the adventure begin!

5 comments:

  1. Good luck and may the eggs start rolling soon!

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  2. Wow, sounds like a fun and educational adventure!

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  3. I hope it will be! My goal is to breed one day, and let Caris show them in 4-H. We'll see!

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  4. I just recently purchased my first hens and I love them! ! I went with heritage delawares. Super sweet! Good luck!

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  5. I looked at Delawares!! I might try those next.

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