OK, so, for as many pictures as we take of our chickens and as much as I go on about them I figure why not just start a thread of my own about these little feather headed fluff butts? So here I am. I may ramble from time to time but if that's ok by you, well read on and feel free to let your words and pictures join in.
Gonna start with a little story of us, and the birth of our handle.
My wife is a born and breed South Tampa gal, daddy was a fine man from Kentucky and her mom...well, she's a yankee..but I don't hold that against her, she's a wonderful lady. My wife calls us cosmopolitan rednecks. Me, I just call us stuck in town and dreaming about pulling up stakes and moving to a bit of land far enough away from the population of towns and/cities that at night I'll be able to see the Milky Way in the sky. I've lived in a few places in my time where when you stepped out onto your front porch, the only sounds you heard was crickets and frogs and the breeze going through the trees. Where instead of city lights, you had fireflies lighting up in the night. Where leaning up against a fence post and letting you mind rest after a long shift of earning your pay was enjoyed more than plopping your backside onto a couch and watching TV till you called it a night.
Till that bliss is a reality we can enjoy and cherish...I make it a point to keep the kids humble, remembering that fun can be had without spending too much money, and sometimes not any. Like hanging a bed sheet in the yard and watching a movie by way of a projector that's seen better days. Or maybe having the neighborhood kids over for a sit down around the fire pit we dug up in the front yard. Yah I said front yard...fire pit. Uh huh. As for me and the missus, we "escape" the confines of Tampa every chance we get, taking drives out of town and going no particular place. Lesser populated places the better. Much to the relief of my mind and soul. See my time here is been the longest stretch I been in a place where you can talk to your neighbor...from your front yards, minus the phones. Thankfully, she likes open spaces and understands that I need to get away every so often or I'll end up pitching a tent outside just to get the feel of being...well...free. And I love her to death that she was more than open to the idea of us getting chickens.
Soon as she said "oooh chickens...!" I got to tell yall I didn't hardly hear much else. My head started churning ways to get this project up and going like a pig being chased.. Limited budget meant I had to figure on getting as much materials as I could for as cheap as I could...or free. Free's good. "if it's free it's for me" is a motto I live by. I been known to pull over and get out of the truck to fetch a bungy cord or screw driver off the road and my kids know I like hardly nothing better than grabbing something that got hauled to the curb and saving it from the trash pick up. After hitting up the two home improvement spots by us for scrap wood and going through craig's list EVERY DAY for fencing and what all, I hit the jack pot of all jack pots one day. A damaged storage container 8 ft long by near 8 ft tall was being given away. FOR FREEEE.
"Why...that would make a heckuva hen house!" Says I to myself
Ya daddy I called for it, told the fella I'd be over and took off like the devil was at my heels.Once I got there though I had to figure on how to get it home. I won't bore yall with that part but how we moved it in place once it was in front of the car port, well, that there is a story to tell.
Day after I got it I had both feet planted off to the side and was staring and staring at it. I was thinking so hard and furious I think I smelled wood burning. A sucker that size even without so much as a tig in it is a weighty thing, indeed, let me tell you. And there was no way it'd be all that much lighter even with 2 feet cut off the top of it. See I had to do that to get it into the carport...and through the side of the carport so it could head off the front of the house and round the corner to the far end of the side yard and oh my God and all the little fishies you created...I may have bit off a bit more than I could chew. I had to do it this way because the alternative was take down a portion of the fence and I couldn't do that...trees in the way...think think think think think think think, *wood burning* Ta dah, solution! Went to work where I push a broom and with a smile on my face and hope in my heart asked the boss man if I could maybe borrow if ya please, your pallet jack, hum?
The hydraulic one.
That one that can lift up that big old gennie.
Yah, that one.
* smile showing all my teeth*
"Sure, no problem just bring it back tomorrow"
I coulda kissed him. So for yall that know me you know how we moved this thing into place. Those that don't Hi, we moved that monster by way of my wife and daughter laying down 3 panels of plywood, leap frogged over and over as a sort of redneck styled pathway, while my son pushed and I pulled with all our might but no to fast cuz it wobbled a little to and fro and though I love him, the boy come close to rolling me under and turning me into a greasy spot in the yard, and stop catch your breath, now PULL!!! PUSH!!! l LEFT! GO TO THE LEFT STOP!!! Back it up, now PUUUUUUUUSH!! Almost there...STOP! The panel, Babe, get the panel over here! I said stop! Wait for the panel! Watch my foot watch my foot! Get out ot the way Push Push Push...THERE! WHEW! We got it 100 and some odd feet to where it now sits and will stay AMEN! The rest of the story is sort of dull in comparison to the move. Heh. Just cut and nailed, and stapled and dug, you know, a typical hen house and enclosure dealio. End product we called the chicken mansion because it is HUGE. Spacious enough friends say when I get myself in the dog house with the wife, I could stay in the hen house real comfortable like, no problem! And I wouldn't have far to moved for breakfast neither!
So, one near hernia and hen house painted red later.. .( that's why we call it the mini barn ) we got our first bunch. that being a buff orpington and a speckled sussex we got from the local feed store. The weeks not even half over and wouldn't you know it, wife got hit by the chicken fever. She wanted 2 more chicks on account of 2 is so lonely...uh...ok. So that following weekend 2 light sussex babes were got from a breeder that become our trusted friend. After a few days we named them Marilyn Norma, Jeannie and Tippy and we got to tending to them like what they were going to be; spoiled little chickens that would give us eggs. As they grew, each day was a new story to each other of how they did this and how that did that and isn't that cute? Pictures started being taken on a daily and we got to showing them to everybody. Even the waitress at our favorite restaurant. She indulged us.
The day came when they moved into the mini barn for good rather than "field trips" like we'd been giving them becaused they were so young and the wife said she wanted to sit out with them and just watch them play. So I hauled over a couple yard chairs and we sat and watched them check out their enclosed yard and run in and out of the pop door to the barn. It was quiet. It was calming. Peaceful. After a bit she turns to me and says kind of quiet like, in a real happy tone like on Christmas eve when you head to bed knowing something's under the tree waiting on you to open it the next day
"Hum, we got chickens in our yard. And a fire pit. And 2 hound dogs. We're kind of like...cosmopolitan rednecks aren't we?"
That was some time back now. Since then, wife said they'd like more room so the fence for their yard area when we let the out of the enclosed coop...was...moved...twice. UHHHHHH! Guess she speaks chicken cuz they seemed happy enough to me with what I started them out with for "get out and stretch your legs" area but hey...what momma wants, mamma gets, then everybody's happy. Norma and Marilyn were found out to be Norm and Marlin. We gave them both to our breeder friend, happy to do so because his light sussex roo couldn't mate anymore and he know a young man that was looking for a buff orpington roo. So good homes for both. Then we lost little Tippy Hendren. Poor little Henny. She was my favorite and was a character and she's still missed to the point I accidentally call Jean Tippy sometimes. That left Jean all by her self. She didn't take to that and seemed to mope around so we started researching what to get. This time we were going to pick from among the auto sexing so we wouldn't have baby roos again. Being stuck in town, we're not allowed roos. Wouldn't you know it though...wifey went to the feed store with me and I walked out with a bag of chick feed and she...well...she walked out with a pair of RIR chicks. Jeanie never really took to them though..funny, that. Kind of stand offish to them, realy. Maybe cuz they're yankees? They're names are Scarlet and Lucy but mostly we call them the Twins cuz the're attached at the hip. Then one day Jeanie wouldn't get up off her nest. Which quickly got me to worrying because there wasn't egg laying going on, I had already got her egg a couple hours earlier. We just lost Tippy not to long ago now what? She's not getting up, I took her out and set her down on the pallet boardwalk and she just sat there with this look on her face. Like she wasn't checked in. Those of you that know, you know. But I didn't know so I freaked a little. She didn't eat that day, and didn't show interest in anything but sitting in her nest the following day so I had wifey call our breeder friend. Told him all her "symptoms" and what could it be what could it be?
"Hum. I wouldn't worry, she sounds like she's gone broody."
Wow. Ohhhhhhhhh okay so she's wanting to make her own company and forget the yankees!
That weekend , 6 weeks and 2 days ago, we picked up 6 cream legbar eggs from him. All 6 hatched, way to go Jeanie you sat on them like a champ! Since they auto sex, we pick out 2 little baby hens to keep and the rest went to a friend that lives around the corner and down the road a look see. Our 2 bitty hens are Boo (she's brave) and Poppin. Poppin's got a lot to say. Ok actually she complains...a lot. Like it's a hobby.
So there you have it, yall are all caught up life life at the cosmopolitan redneck house. Where we got more pictures of our chickens on my wife's phone and our computer than we do of our kids. Where I have a little slice of the life I miss in the middle of Tampa. Where tending to chickens not only is a daily chore but in a way a sort of therapy for me. Like my wife says
"where you can lose your mind putting around with the dogs and chickens happily"
I hope to say in reading this and what I'll jot down in days to come it will bring a nod of understanding, seeing as yall have and enjoy these birds like we do. And I hope to see pictures and read stories of yalls chickens too. Have a good day.