Friday, April 26, 2013

Country Living We Got Chickens!

The first thing I asked my husband if I could get, when we started our downsizing adventure, was chickens. I have been wanting to raise my own backyard flock for years now. Pastured eggs from our area run anywhere from $2 to $4 a dozen and most of the time it is hard to get my hands on some of the cheaper ones. I also just can not afford to pay for pastured chicken meat.

So here I am! About 2 1/2 weeks ago I went into the local feed store and purchased 10 straight run white leghorns and 5 Rhode Island red pullets. Oh, and two ducks. Don't ask me what happened there. I made the cardinal mistake of purchasing them because they were cute. Thankfully, they have been easy to raise and I am looking forward to some roasted duck in a few months.

Back to the chickens. We *think* that we have 7 roosters and 3 hens from the straight runs. A little disappointed since the leghorns are supposed to be my big layers but that is the risk you run when you buy straight run. I am glad I decided to get the reds as back up.

We started them off in big totes in the house with plans to move them at about 6 weeks into the large outdoor coop we made. However, after about a week and a half I was chatting with a friend who said that we could move them out now as long as they have a heat lamp. I know that probably breaks every chicken raising rule, but it is true, they have been out for about 5 nights now and even through a near freeze and survived and are thriving. They seem to be enjoying it much more than being cooped up in the boxes. The ducks especially. They have quadrupled in size over the last 3 days.


I forgot about this post so things have changed a bit since I started it. Mostly, I have contracted a horrible ailment called "crazy chicken lady" and what is commonly known as "chicken math" followed close behind. We have since the top part of this post added 2 hens which we have had for about 2 weeks now. They have been laying an egg each, regularly since we got them. I have also added in 10 more chicks, just over three weeks old. I wanted to add some variety to our mostly white leghorn flock. I now have 6 different varieties of chicks, which I will have to edit in the names later because I didn't write them down when I purchased them!

My husband has been ever so tolerant of my new obsession. The day we got the new babies he came out to watch them with me and suddenly looks at me and says "did you get more?". I said yes, and he playfully walks away and says, "I don't want to know any more". I love that man. It definitely isn't his thing, but he supports us doing it anyways.

My oldest has become known as the chicken whisperer. She would spend all day around the coop if I would let her. I can not tell you how many times she has gone "missing" and we have found her cuddling chickens in the coop. I think we might let her show one next year.

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Rachel E. said...

I had the same ailment when we got our hens. I was fascinated. I have a chicken whisperer or two around my place. I often find them in the pen holding them and cuddling them. It's silly in my opinion. So silly I was teasing them this morning as I put my grapefruit up next to my face and pet it and rubbed my cheek next to it. I then proceeded to tell it I love it and eat it.

Anna said...

I keep having to remind myself that these are not pets, these are not pets, THESE.ARE.NOT.PETS.