December 6th 2010's a balmy 13 degrees for a high today and the chickens are all sunbathing. Thanks to BYC, they have exactly what they need to get them throught this MN winter. My name is Mary and I am mom to 4 children, wife to one husband, and mommy of sorts to 6 chickens (soon to be 11), a cocker spaniel (who loves trying my patients), two honey bee hives, and 2 spring kittens.

My journey started rough as we purchased 2.5 acres from a farmer starting a subdivision with an assosiation booklet. In said book, there was mention of having no farm animals. So I asked the neighbors on either side of me if I could get some pet chickens
. Both said yes and the adventure started. The kids and I set to work on chicks and chose 6 Black Australorps. When we went to pick them up at the feed store the kids were aloud to look at Mr. Rex's order of chickens and quickly discovered how cute his little chipmunk striped Arcaunas were. Mr. Rex, being very friendly, couldn't resist their ogling eyes and let them pick one of his...."If it's a rooster bring it back when it's grown." So now there were seven. Fast forward 8 weeks and our BA turned into Barred Rock...OOPS! Fast forward another 6 weeks and we are rehoming our beautiful Iris (BR-now renamed Iro). Now we are six and getting ready for eggs when suddenly who should appear, grumpy man from the other end of the subdivision wanting me to follow the assosiation's guidlines and get rid of my pet chickens. Not so fast groumpy pants, I can change the guidelines with just 70% of our assosiations signatures...hee hee hee I got 90% as he's the only one that wouldn't sign!! Our coup is hidden behind the "Man shed" and matches both the shed and house's shingles and siding. We let the chickens free range from sun up to sun down and am supprised at how little food we've had to buy. I thought that would change as winter let down her white dander but with a steady supply of table scraps and garden scraps (I froze the trimmings when canning) they are laying like mad! We get very large brown, speckled, and blue eggs! We average 3 dozen a week! I am surprised most by the size of the eggs as they went from small to large in about a month. We are anxiously awaiting a new batch of sexlinks this spring...I've got the fever, and there's no cure!

Besides the chicken hobby, I am an organic gardener. I can and freeze enough produce to get our family of six throught the winter and am always adding to my gardens. This is a project that will never be done for my hubby, as is keeping chickens...because there are never enough beds and one always needs "just a few more chickens".

pictures to follow...when I figure that out!