My adventure started in late April 2014 with a mixed batch of day old chicks. I picked out six pullets for myself. 2 Leghorn, 2 Ameraucana and 2 Golden Comet. My friend then went to Tractor Supply the next and got a straight run of 14 chicks. They said they were Ameraucana. Of the 18 chicks we lost one. The rest grew and flourished as if they new they had to be bigger to be outside. Not even sure my leghorns are leghorns.
At 8 weeks I rigged up an old 10x10 dog run for them. Putting chicken wire over the chain link. I also put chicken wire all a cross the top. Using a extra large plastic dog traveling kennel as their coop. This I filled half full with hay. After about four more weeks, I started to allow these chicks to free range during the day and coop/run at night. They continued to do amazingly well.
My Golden Comets were the first to receive names: Gertie and Matilda. Then my two Leghorns: Specks and Zelda. My friends 10 year old daughter named one of the Ameraucanas; Chick-o-lay. The rest of the hens do not have names.
We ended up with five roosters out of the straight run. Three have recently been placed at VINE in Springfield, Vermont. They will live out their days happily crowing, scratching for bugs and keeping other fowl company. the other two roosters are currently figuring out who is the dominant one at homestead. We have: Rocko and Rooster Cocburn. I must say that if Mr. Cocburn keeps attacking my grandson then he will be finding another spot to rest his body(cooking pot).
These birds are now roughly 16 weeks. for the most part the last month I have not even cooped them at night. They would situate themselves in the trees, in the goat barn and in the back barn(used for spring kidding). Recently I had to start cooping them back in the coop/run because the coyotes have been making their presence known through song. The coop/run is a tight fit. This next week I will finally have the funding needed to convert the kidding shed into a permanent coop for our chickens. They will still free range during the day after the first four days. No eggs yet. They will be started on laying mash once in the permanent coop.
My friend and I have been bitten by the "chicken bug", so two weeks ago we added 12 EE's to our growing back yard farm. Unfortunately we lost five of those in the first four days. The remaining seven are doing extremely well. They have started to develop their true colors on their wings and tail feathers. We are going to have some beautiful looking birds that much I can tell. Hoping we don't end up with more than one roo. I know not an awesome chance. Cross your fingers for me.
We have; Coal, Astro, Stricker, Beautiful, Princess, Fozzy & Emu.
Once the older birds are in their permanent coop, I get to clean up the coop/run so as these little ones can take it over when they are big enough. They won't be in there long as it looks like the weather here will be cold to quickly. I will have to divide the other coop or add another section for the younger birds as they will be on different feed. Maybe I can just build a small more weather proof coop in the dog run. That will be big enough for the seven of them this winter. Come spring everyone can be together.
At any rate my attitude towards chickens has definitely changed. I use to believe that chickens were chickens. Some prettier than others but just birds to supply meat and eggs. Now I realize that even though they supply these things they also have personalities that vary over a large spectrum. I am so enjoying my neat little flock of birds. I find enjoyment at watching them when I turn them loose in the am, during the day as I do other chores and as they make a bee line for the coop at dusk when I put just enough food in to get them inside.
They will roost on their own in the permanent coop.