About two years ago (2010) I told my husband I wanted to start a farm. Pygmy goats were first on the list. "What about chickens?" He asked. "Ugh! I don't think so. Maybe if you still want them in about ten years, but I doubt it!"
Fast forward to April 2012 in TSC. I was starting my first real garden. I needed fencing. Then I heard it. You know what I mean. That pathetic little chirping sound of hundreds of chicks wanting Mama. My husband suddenly didn't want chicks! 3 days later I went home with my six Columbian Rock Cross babies. The sales girl tried for all pullets.
They started in the downstairs bathroom where I could be nearby to watch them during the day, but not hear them at night. The dog was anxious to play with them. He would do anything to get to just look at them. As the weeks went on, I was already begging for more chickens. We went to a Chicken Swap on the motorcycle. We were just going to look! Really!!! Well, you know how that goes. I settled on rescuing two "pullets" that were crammed into a cage unable to move. No food or water. We called a friend to come get the new 8-week-olds. No one was available. So, I strapped the box onto the back of the bike, and we were off. FYI, chickens do not like rides on the motorcycle. It was so traumatic that one turned out to be a rooster (Red) and the other a cross beak (Cadbury).
As it always turns out, the Columbian Rock Cross were not "all girls" but "all boys" except one. Penny was the lone girl. Well protected by her big brothers, she and her siblings got along well enough with Cadbury and Red. It was actually Cadbury that was challenging the boys! I went ahead and got four Red Sex Link hens.
I knew I didn't want 6 boys and six girls, so I made plans to process 5 of my original chicks. How was I to know that one of the pullets I had just ordered was going to be ANOTHER rooster? So I opened the door between the now 7-week-old chicks and the older birds. All went well. Then Red hit his teens. He never stopped attacking me. After going for my face, he was given to a lovely couple that enjoyed him in a stew and used his feathers to help Veterans.
Rocky, my surprise RIR rooster.
Columbian Rock Crosses. Penny is the one who's feet you can see.
The boys before ... "you know"
Red, my Production Red.
Cadbury. The EE. She loves sitting on me. Whether it is my shoulder, arm, back or lap.
Sturgis helps with the chicks when I am letting them out to explore. They think he is Mama.
My 15 "pullets" on delivery day. They were born July 16th.
There are 3 each of RIR, Barred Rock, Black Jersey Giant, Partridge Rock, and Golden Buffs.
It is now Spring again, and I was offered a trio of BCM. Chicken math happened (again!) and I also brought home 2 splash EE. They began laying within a few days. The new gang is "Brat's Angels".
And as much as I thought I didn't want bantams, two managed to jump onto the motorcycle with 4 Leghorn pullets in March. It was a cold ride home, but I am a creative person. These biker chicks wore my leather jacket.
You know there was no way to keep six chicks in the picture. Multiply the Leghorns by two.
I can only guess that the white butt is a Cochin, and the other is an Old English Game Bird.
This is one run of two. They are all looking for corn. They are not cramped.
The dining room. It allows me to close a door so I can fill food and water without being yelled at for stepping on anyone.
I introduced them to straw. Great in nest boxes!
Long winter. They didn't appreciate it after the first few snows.
Pop doors make great roosts!
My first broody
Ameraucana egg is on the left with a nice BCM chocolate egg above it. The other egg is an EE.
Thanksgiving and Dinner
Five very adorable Bourbon Red poults
They are so cute when they are little!
The new turkey pen surrounds the garden. After the final harvest, the flock will be allowed in to clean up and fertilize the garden for next year.
The BBW and Bourbon Reds getting to know each other.
She looks good enough to eat.
Speaking of eating ...
I read somewhere that a woman doesn't think that Bourbon Reds are good looking adults. I think they are gorgeous!
Sturgis is accepted by the turkeys even though they haven't had much contact with him.
LEARNING TO LIVE AGAIN
Life happens, and I'm raising chickens again after a seven month break. The tom was eaten for Christmas (45# live, dressed at 38) and the girl is still in my freezer (19# dressed).
Last week an enabler, and my favorite chicken dealer delivered six mutt chickens. Five pullets and a cockerel. They are 15-17 weeks now. I knew I didn't want to start with chicks. I have too much going on. They will have musician names. Though the names may change, they are;
Now I am drooling over other people's new chicks. When someone goes broody, I will let her have some eggs. Until then, I am forcing myself to be patient. Wish me luck with that!
Birds come and birds go. Sheryl has gone to chicken heaven. I was given two Pekins and I needed more girls. The eggs were not fertile for some reason, so I bought six "Pekin" from TSC in the spring of 2016. You can find several threads on the subject. They were actually French White Muscovies. One passes away and I was left with one girl and four boys. One boy went to freezer camp. I had fertile Pekin eggs, and hatched them with some Silver Pencil Rocks shortly after the getting the other ducklings. Three male and three female SPR, and a pair of Pekin hatched. I adopted three turkey poults. Two went missing. The new Pekin pair adopted the hatchmates. Even the poults. They are so adorable together!
The five Muscovies.
A SPR lounging on a duckling's back. The other duckling had three on her.
Banti and Christopher learning to swim.
First hatch of the season was 18 mutt chicks. I still have a boy that escaped while processing, and eight girls.
The light chick above grew to be one of three of these grey with black head pullets. That is a drake in the picture.
The three poults.
Bonnie Tyler and Sheryl Crow are about to be moms to 18 SPR
Lily and Jojo.
A chick that showed up one day. It is the same age as the first six SPR and the other youngsters. I am going by size.
Jojo was a house duck for a few months last year. He now is jealous of the dog because he wants to be inside too.
One night several months ago, the flock decided to be wild. They slept in the woods behind the coop (visible in the photos of introducing straw above). It took a while, but all of the girls, and two roosters disappeared. I built a small run two weeks ago, and I caught the last rooster last week. The ducks decided it was time to winter in the coop. There are also three bantam Lavender Ameraucanas in the mix. They belong to the munchkin you see carrying a bucket in a previous photo.
The run is only meant to get them through the winter. Twelve birds total each have 12 ft.² in the coop, and 6 ft.² in the run. It is amazing how horrible I feel!
I actually plan on doing away with four roosters soon. I hope to add two hens though.