Oh, boy was I right or what?
A year later the only population that has dwindled, is the cats! We're down to two.
We added two spring chicks last year, Ginger and Mariann (Golden Comets probably, they were sold as "Production") In late summer we adopted the lone chicken our neighbor girl had left in her flock. Most of them died from her lack of care, after the 4H fair she wasn't really good about remembering to feed and water them. It was sad to see and I didn't really know what to say, or if I should say anything. But when her mom mentioned that the girl was "Over" the chickens, I said I'd be glad to take them. Unfortunately, there was only one left by then. :( So Oreo, a poorly colored Wyandotte relocated to our spacious hen house and has been quite the happy chick ever since - even though she's a bantum and on the bottom of the pecking order.
In October I added a pair of Easter Egger hens, Millie & Mable, and my favorites - a pair of White Crested Blue Polish hens, Annabelle & Isabelle. The EE's were a year and a half old and coming out of a big molt, but once they got done, they are beautiful. The polish were just a year old. We lost Isabelle to a predator - likely a neighbor's dog, this past spring. I really miss her. The two of them would chit chat with each other all day long, and were so pleasant. We also lost Lillian (the one that loved the neighbor's dog, LOL) when she didn't come into the coop by bedtime, & roosted under the deck one night - in a place we couldn't get to her. But a predator (Likely an oppossum) could. So sad.
So, of course chicken math comes in to make it all better! This January we got 5 bantums for 4H. One Brahma roo (he's since been rehomed), 2 white polish hens, Silver Belle & Lucybelle (Silver is deformed, like her "frame" is twisted, so she won't be shown in 4H, and besides, she had just a tiny touch of silver, that makes her white coloring look dirty so she wouldn't have shown well anyway), one EE Roo - Ducky, and one Buckeye hen, Bella.
Then we had a hen go broody, little Oreo - the banty Wyandotte. Ordered Polish eggs since they're my faves ;). She sat on eight, but none hatched, so of course we ordered day olds to make up for it! Now we have 10 polish chicks running around, 8 look to be frizzled and 2 are smooth. No names yet since they are only 3 weeks old. Momma is taking them out into the grass to free range and they are all so cute together.
We also ventured into Meat Chickens - got 5 and will show the two best at the 4H fair. No names or love for these since they will be processed -- we'll see how we all do on that part! So far they are growing like gangbusters and eating like pigs, just as expected!
So, the adventure continues! DD has done a great job being responsible for the ones for 4H and helping me with the laying flock. We keep them all together in the coop DH made, although we have rearranged and made a longer roosting perch, LOL! We're planning some more rearranging and changes this weekend to make roosting areas for the 10 babies as momma is encouraging them to roost up on the perch, instead of cuddling with her in their own cage.