Tuesday, July 8, 2014

We've Got Chickens, and They are So Much Fun!

We let the kids name them...(from left to right)
Tinker Bell, Gerti, and Midnight.
Somewhere along the way in life my plans changed from wanting to be well known and rich, to wanting chickens and a peaceful chunk of country side to call our own.

We haven't gotten our own chunk of country side yet, however we did get our own chickens!

I kept reading about people who had chickens and wondering 'why would anyone want chickens?'.  I decided that farm fresh eggs right outside our door everyday was enough motive for me.

Until we got them though I didn't get why people kept saying they liked them so much.  It turns out they're like watching a slow moving circus where the chickens do really small things that we find very amusing.  For instance right now they are all out in their coop and have just discovered their new branch to perch on, so they're all perching on it! So amusing!  Okay it sounds totally boring, unless you've raised the chicks and know them like we do now.  It's like watching a baby learn something new.

We ordered our chicks from a local farm store (never knew you could do that).  We were able to pick out exactly which breeds we wanted to have, and the city decided our number (that being 4 chickens for the size of our coop).

Our chicks coming home from the store.

We got them one month ago and it seems like we've had a lot of adventures with them already.  The first adventure being one of the chicks (which were only 2-3 days old each) attacking one of the other chicks in their box on the way home.

I'm holding the box and there's a lot of commotion going on in there, so I open the lid.  One of the Americaunas is attacking the other!  It's pecking at it's head, biting it's legs and using it's beak to pull it's legs nearly off.  Hubby is driving so I'm trying to help the little chick by lightly thumping the aggressor on the head.  It took a while but she finally stopped attacking.

It turned out that chickens have an instict that we were about to learn about the hard way.  We had all the chicks in a large plastic tub in our kitchen, with a heat lamp on 24/7 to keep them warm.  The chick that had been attacked kept getting pecked every now and then by the other 3 chicks, so we put it in a shoe box in the tub to separate it and keep it safe.

The instinct we then learned about was that chickens will attack a weaker chicken, particularly if it's sick.  I'm guessing it's a survival instinct that allows them to have more of what they need to survive, like food, if there's one less chicken around.

Sleepy, as we'd come to call the chick because she slept so much, live only 23 hours at our house, despite our best efforts to nurse her.  I reminded myself that this is part of farm life, even if we're in the burbs, and after a moment of sadness I moved on.

Thankfully that was the worst of it.  Since then it's been mostly fun having the chickens.  I say mostly because there's still their cage to clean out and food and water to take care of on a daily basis, but honestly it's pretty easy.

The kids LOVE having chickens!  Everyday they are so excited to hold them, and now watch them run around the yard.

We let the kids name them.  The Rhode Island Red is named Tinker Bell, the Americauna is Gerti, and the Barred Rock is Midnight.

Our chicken coop and run area. Can you see the
chickens perching on their stick?  :-)

Americaunas are supposed to lay either tan, blue or green eggs.  Isn't that cool that chickens can lay blue and green eggs!  Love it!  We won't know what color her eggs will be until she starts laying them.  I'm so hoping for blue or green!

Our coop was bought at Sam's Club (yes apparently they sell chicken coops), and I managed to score the last one in a 2 hour radius of us.  My hubby being the great guy that he is, was worried the chickens would be too cold in winter, and so he insulated the coop as he put it together.

It will be another 3-5 months before the chickens start laying eggs but we are already enjoying them, and looking forward to the time when we'll have fresh eggs in our own backyard!

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