http://whitsflock.co.nr The picture above was taken in Early Summer 2012 From Flock #3.
The Beginning: When I Didn't Know How To Care For Chickens
Born in Ohio - Raised mostly in Oklahoma - Finished in Utah - Got Flocked in Utah
Way back when - my family and I came home with four chicks. It took weeks of negotiation and reasoning for us to get chicks and we got them at the very last shipment at the feed store. We'd purchased three white leghorn pullets and one strait run australorp to be the rooster. All ended up being hens.
At first I didn't really know how to care for chickens so I kinda messed up. We finished the coop when the chicks were 3 months old and I didn't even help and the original chickens had weird names too: Anonymous, Jell-O, Dorito and Ms. Butterworth besides all that Ms. Butterworth has a severe case of splayed toes.
After the coop was all set up I was okay with just the laying hens because at the time I didn't really care, my mom just wanted eggs and I had wanted some cute fluffy things that stayed cute (hadn't even looked at anything past laying breeds let alone a cool looking one, just the...what I called "Stripes", reds, Orpingtons and Rhode Island Reds and I knew no other breeds.)
(Above: The first chicks I ever hatched from an incubator, from Flock #2)
I added to the flock, which I refer to as Flock #1, I added a Polish pair. Their names were Puff (hen) and Fuzzball (rooster). The hen was a White crested Grey and the rooster was White Crested Black (we had brought them home after I'd told my dad about the add on craigslist, they costed $15 for a pair and she had two pairs). Fuzzball was missing all the feathers on the back of his head and was really mean, I mean mean. We liked the oddballs so much we went to the same house again with ten dollars wanting to buy the other hen ; she had already sold the other pair. Once before we got our second rooster, I dropped an egg on Fuzzball's head and he had a seizure, but he had been spurring everybody every time we went to collect eggs and this time he had really spurred me bad. I gently picked him up, feeling utterly guilty and held him there for a few moments until he could walk again. I thought I'd killed him, this is one of the changing points of chicken keeping for me.
I did not stop adding there though, we decided we wanted silkies - which we wouldn't have for another 4 years! Technically I didn't add the second rooster, Charley, he was a rooming male that I spent a couple hours trying to catch until I got him out of breath. The family across the street had let me get kitten but they didn't care about their animals, this was their rooster and they'd abandoned it. At the rodeo the two brothers had each caught a chicken, one hen and one rooster. Their house was right behind the park, and I guess the hen had wondered out to the park and was killed by a dog which left the poor Buff Jersey Giant rooster to fend for himself, which is why I had to get this rooster! They casually moved houses and abandoned him. So I brought him home and put him in our extra pen. He was let out the next day with the rest of the flock were all but one of Fuzzball's hens had taken a shine to Charley instead. Puff stayed by Fuzzball.
My memory fails me a little, on what happened during the couple months we owned Charley. I do however, recall that I tried to make Dorito the Australorp hen go broody by locking Charey and her in the extra cage for a few days (What was I thinking?). My plan had failed. I think the last little bit we owned Charley, he had slept on my Brother's motor-cross bike one night and they went out to work on it for something and they scared him off in the middle of the night and I tried to catch him but he disappeared into the goat stables. I never saw Charley again, I bet he went to one of the surrounding flocks, since most of them did not have roosters.
My good ol' dad brought home a Duck when Charley didn't come back. I named the duck Axle, he was a wild Malard duck just to add to our farm. My dad had done some work for a lady who had a flock of ducks, she said if you can catch one you can keep it. I had him for two days and then he disappeared, his wings weren't clipped so he must have flown back to his flock.
(Above: Satchel - a beloved Phoenix Bantam I raised, from Flock #2)
Someone let out bunnies at the Gully down the street so everyone was going there to get one to keep. The people across the street, the one's who'd had Charley (they hadn't moved away yet) agreed to help us each catch a rabbit for $5. They and myself were in the Gully for three days from 10AM until around 4PM. I got my bunny alas, on the third day of hunting, these were lop ear rabbits. He or she was a HUGE lop eared rabbit with tan fur and black eyes. I was in the extra dog cage getting a place ready for the rabbit. I said "I got it, the poor thing was all alone." and I was out of breath. That rabbit got out when I was gone the next day
The next and the last chickens I added to Flock #1 were Kiwi and Slippers. Kiwi, a pullet, was the first Barred Rock I'd ever owned and Slippers, a cockeral, was a Partridge Cochin. Both of these chickens were very sweet. Slippers had the tiniest crow my family and I had ever heard. These two were the funniest pair of chickens I'd ever owned, we brought them home in a shoe box. Fate was a horrible thing in the future for these babies.
I called the lady back who I had bought the chicks from wanting to buy more chicks from her and she was going to sell me a bunchy of silkies but most of them were killed by a predator the night after I got my pair. She had one chick that was sickly and picked on by the others, she said she'd give it to me for free. So we drove to her house and picked it up. I think it was a silver wyandotte chick. After I'd come home the next day from my classes my brother had told me the bad news - the sickly chick had died, even with out kind pair that were separated from the big chickens. The previous owner had warned me that it would most likely die. It was so sad.
Newborn and weak Baby Chick Hatched in Flock #2
Later that week I had helped her sex over 65 baby chicks with another guy down the street. He had gotten the remaining silkie chicks. I can't remember how I sexed those chicks for her - I don't recall knowing until years later!
I told her I know how - the other guy told me, roosters have a red dot when you squeeze their butt.
Eggs, layed by bantams I'd have a couple years later in Flock #2.
The homestead farm house with a lot land we were buying was being foreclosed on, it wasn't our fault - the woman we were buying the house from was a fraud, she wasn't paying her mortgage on the house or something, she was using the money we payed to her to pay for her other house. So we were screwed over and had to move out on a short notice.
We sold all but two chickens from our first flock and our coop. First to go were our first four laying hens: Dorito, Ms. Butterworth, Jell-O and Anonymous, the whole lot for $20 for hens that weren't even a year old yet (no chicken in the flock was even a year old yet). Next our coop was sold to a new family just starting out for $100, they didn't buy any of the chickens. Later that day, Puff and Fuzzball were sold to a petting zoo for art students (model chickens!) where they would be in good hands for the rest of their lives, they were advertised like so "Rooster With Free Hen - $15" on Craigslist and they sold next day.
We were left with two chickens, Slippers and Kiwi. We moved to the middle of nowhere, but in the same district. In an open run, with no top and not in the enclosed front yard lived our two chickens. For the first three days they lived on out porch then we pushed them away. After 1 night - one chicken was gone, Slippers! I felt horrible. Day #2 I spent with Kiwi, crying and feeling bad for her. I had one thought - had she seen the blood? Night #2 - Kiwi was taken.
Barred Rock pullet from Flock #2
We wouldn't own chickens for another year and a half.
The Second Try, Flock #2: We Need Fresh Eggs and "these bugs are killing me."
We moved in the dead of winter, to a semi-pitiful (cozy) hunting cabin with an acre of land with a stream that floods into a river in the summertime. Life sucks here, we don't even have a garage unless you want to go down a vertical driveway. There are two sheds and there are giant cabins on either sides of our temporary property - for six or twelve months, depending on our needs. Then we'll move once again. Money was so tight, it was ridiculous, but a short notice does that.
This was the setup before the next Spring.
We did the year lease, then we moved down the street to a different "cozy" property with three acres, and a lower rent to save money for the real move to our home that we would later purchase.
That 2nd Spring, things had looked a little bit better, we had decided to get chickens and be more self sufficient again. And so the coop began. And we prepared to move in three months. We had a nice 5ft by 8ft coop that would be kept until Spring 2012.
It is around this time that I joined BYC in this part of the story!
So at that time I had mingled the thought of chickens and ended up with a White Crested Black Polish Rooster named Fred and three guinea hens named Puddle, Periwinkle and Faerie? Yes. Who would have thought that'd ever happen, not me, I'd never even imagined something like a guinea fowl.
Fred my old Polish Rooster
Getting the guineas was a memorable experience. They made noises I'd never heard before and were pretty loud. Some time during the stay at the three acre cabin they had wondered across the road and a man thought they were turkeys and almost shot them but noticed they were coming to him like chickens.
One of my old Guinea Hens
Well my chicken fever had been officially became critical after a winter of a rooster and three guinea hens, because we went to the feed store and brought home three baby chicks right before Easter, they were marked pullets. Lieka was the barred rock, Bumblebee the white leghorn and Featherfoot the light Brahma.
This is a picture of the original three chickens of flock #2 meeting a guinea.
Then we thought, "Eggs! We'll need more eggs. Three hens aren't enough." So we picked up four strait-run Rhode Island Reds, which ended up as New Hampshires and a free white leghorn chick. We also ended up with a baby chuckar with that batch.
These are the rhode island reds and the free white leghorn cockerel I got as babies.
But what came up on Craigslist? Midget Whites turkey poults for $10 each. Turkeys kill snakes and we're right by a river, "Lets get one, make sure its a tom if you can!" I was so excited to get it, disregarding the BYC thought not to keep turkeys with chickens [Please NEVER keep mature toms or hen turkeys with your hens - read about it later].
Zinger the Midget White Turkey.
The chuckar's name was Matue. He was very wild. It was brown as a baby but it got so colorful as it aged. Zinger the turkey was its best friend.
This the the baby chuckar we got with the second chick batch.
The chickens really liked to peck under the fourwheelers.
Before the move to the State Park I had picked up three more White Crested Black Polish chicks. But one had been snatched by the first predator through the cage. Their names became Pheebe and Noodles. The chick that had passed away had been named Perky.
Some of the first chickens from Flock #2
So lets fast-forward to the night of the move, my camera was almost dead as I quickly snapped a picture of the coop right before I left. This brings you to Mid-Late Summer 2011.
Blurry camera picture as camera died,
When we moved, Fred the Polish became louder and louder and louder. He and the Guinea hen were traded for a couple other chickens. Those tradee chickens were named Dutchess (barred rock hen) and Curry (which ended being named Peck because it was a boy scrawny leghorn)
Peck as a scrawny baby.
Dutchess became my favorite hen, she was the friendliest chicken I'd ever owned at the time. She was my first avatar on BYC.
Dutchess (RIP September 1st 2011)
Butterbean, Puff-Head-Hen & Olive were given to me.
TBC, gotta take breaks from memories!