3.01.2012

backyard chickens

Fowl are food, not friends.

This is what I keep telling myself every time I go in to feed or water our chicks. And to be honest, it's not all that hard for me to differentiate between our adorable cuddly puppy and these little balls of fluff. They may look sweet and innocent now, but feathers and scaly feet have never really been my thing. We're in this strictly for the knowing-where-my-food-comes-from benefits, and if I get free garden manure and my own personal composters as a by-product I'm not complaining.


We ended up with six little gals, two Buff Orpingtons, two Barred Rocks, a Rhode Island Red, and a Black Sex Link (cross between a Rhode Island Red and a Barred Rock). We were originally going to get four or MAYBE five, but when we arrived at the feed store they were giving away Barred Rocks and Rhode Island Reds for free with the purchase of feed and it seemed silly to turn down free chickens only to end up having to buy more if one or two chicks died before they hit maturity. I don't mean to be morbid and we aren't planning for any of the chicks to die. However, in our house it's just a practical consideration since we have a cat who frequently snatches birds out of the air and a dog who has been practicing the waterfowl shake on every toy she's ever had. I've been told that once the chickens reach full size they will keep the cat in line by chasing her en masse across the yard, so as long as we keep them safe and sequestered in a guest room until they're big enough for the outdoors everyone should come through this transition alive.

Now the hunt is on for a coop.  We're definitely going with a chicken ark, probably similar to this one. The only question is whether to build it ourselves or buy it from a local business that specializes in them. The chicks should be inside until they are about two or three months old depending on how fast the weather warms up here, so we have a little time to think about it.

Here's to new adventures and fresh eggs...and I'm not joking about the fresh eggs. Find yourself some and scramble them up, you'll never go back to storebought again. Or better yet, just come over in six or seven months...with six chickens I'm sure I'll have some to share.   

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