Indeed, I am addicted.
I began this foray into the world of chicken-keeping years ago because someone down the way was foolish enough to let her RIR run in the street. This is a very busy artery that is one of 8 major North-South streets in a city of 100K+. It's not a little street. I nearly mashed said hen, then promptly went to the alley behind that block looking to see who might have a chicken and be guilty of this irresponsible pet-ownership...not to mention find out how the devil they had a chicken in the middle of town. I found a woman gardening in her small yard off of the alley, and asked if any of her neighbors had hens, to which she replied that she did. I explained the squirrel-like end her hen nearly received- she replied, "Yeah, she does that."
Being truly overly-concerned with others' treatment of animals, I have by necessity trained myself (nearly) to overlook most things not completely cruel or irresponsible, but this was dangerous, and I said so...then asked her how she managed to have the birds in the middle of town. She introduced me to 'The Loophole.'
Merits of poor city management in the mid-80's suddenly became clear. As overwhelming growth caused our City Commission to increase clarity on livestock and agriculture ordinances- and as greenspace was infilled with houses- they made some mistakes. One of those allowed no Animal Control jurisdiction over chickens or ducks, for they were not in any of the definitions of livestock. We were free to skirt the issue at will!!
Thus, I began to skirt! Our feed store was done for the year, save Guineas, and I considered getting some (foolish ignorance-not in the city!!)- BUT-they got a surprise shipment of Barred Rock pullets with the Guineas (Praise God!!). Had I known what guineas were like that would have made me a madwoman, indeed, because they're fast, LOUD, less domesticated fowl...NOT chickens!!!
So: Soon our home collection of birds included 3 Barred Rocks, 4 EE, a Silver Laced Polish, a Banty Cochin, and a Buttercup, a Barnevelder, a Buckeye, a Jersey Giant, a Serama, and more - all are presided over by Professor, the nearly silent contraband EE roo with no lower beak (due to a horrible foible) and requiring tube feeding 2x daily...loved that guy. Still miss him.
The home flock birds are currently penned in a 9' x 25' combo-cattle-panel pen with an 8' x 8' pre-fab garden shed for a coop, with a 20' x 45' pen on the other side, and 300 sq. ft. of long run along the side of our yard. The coop is heated and is fairly luxurious- I couldn't help it! I was willing to give up my garden shed.
They generally have had the run of the 9000 sq. ft. yard. I have lost a few to hawks and one to an immmature Bald Eagle- we live near the river. Daytime is the only real vulnerable time, as I build for bear in coops.
We use a 125 sq. ft. tractor as an annex- the Banty Shanty. It's currently housing 30 chicks from my hatching operation. Our breeding facility outside of town is home to another 200+ chickens and peafowl. We currenly have Isabel, Lavender, B/B/S, Mottled Orpingtons; Partridge Chanteclers; B/B/S, Silkied, Frizzled, Mottled, Lavender Bantam Cochins; Bantam Lavender project and Salmon Faverolles; Mottled, Lavender, Mille Fleur, Porcelain and Black d'Uccles; and French Black Copper Marans; B/B/S/Blue Partridge Silkies; Silkied and PAint Ameraucana Projects.....there will always be more....
This is in addition to the goldfish pond, the Chocolate Lab, the Chihuahua/Chinese Crested/Terrier rat dog, and the 28# cat. I'm sure I'm forgetting something...
Humans are Rick,
We're delighted to make your acquaintance!