Here is our story of how it all began when looking back to then on what it was like starting out up to now. I hope you all enjoy my point of view on the Chicken world as seen by myself. It's been a interesting and wonderful ride but well worth it all the way
How it all Started:
Four Years ago we lived in a 1,100 sq ft 2 bed,1 bath house in California . 30+ years later we all finally had a chance to leave that all behind and leave that home that I grew up in . Coming to Washington State closer to most of our family on my dad's side and my mother's side was a huge move and at first you'd think we won a huge lottery when we stepped foot into our new home. To us it was like a mansion but nothing compared to the size of property along with it. A few months later we realized that we could do and have things that we couldn't have before living in a city in California: CHICKENS!
Luckily the property already had a 12x14 shed and a 10x14 what looked like a previous shed coop, so here's where it all began. The hunt for little fluffy butts. You know it's very difficult to only take just a couple chicks when you haven't been able to do so before - the temptation is excruciating. So we bit the bullet and only got a couple at first, (2) Rhode Island Red pullets and 3 Barred Rocks. We brought them home and it was like I had died and gone to heaven. I couldn't NOT go peek in on them, or snuggle them... I was surrounded by utter and complete cuteness 24/7.
Now the worst thing to do to someone who is first experiencing this explosion of cuteness is to tell them " You know there's somewhere else you can go that orders different breeds and sizes of chickens" --- BEWARE, it's a TRAP! So of course my mother is like OK we'll go and see what they have to get a couple more birds. Now we already had 5 but whats a few more gonna hurt. Oh it hurt alright, later down the road. So we all piled up to take the trip to Monroe Farm and Feed at the time...Following the mass sound of peeps to the back area, it was as if the gates of heaven opened up showering you with bright light and the angels are singing hymns at you . Being someone who just LOVES anything baby, I swear I was like a little kid in a Walmart sized candy store , fireworks are going off left and right... the oooo's and ahhh's spewing left and right. So now we're in trouble my mother and I looking at all the cuties waiting to be taken home... at this point we had gathered up a few different types and sizes. Thinking back to then we managed to almost nab each type, now I said almost... we had gotten (2) Blue Serama's, (2) Iowa Blue (which found weren't that later),(1) Jersey Giant,(1) Russian Orloff, (3) Buff Orpingtons,(1) Silver Lakenvelder- Finally we left this oh so tempting place to introduce these little fuzzy buts to the 5 we already had at home.
So now the chicken math hit us hard when we didn't even realize it . As this bunch grew and developed personalities I anyway became more attached. I made multiple trips out to sit, talk and spend time with our little feathered friends and before I knew it 2 hours had passed while sitting with them. As they grew we had to move them to larger areas until finally we got the one shed situated for their arrival....
So jumping a few months ahead, If I new then what I know now... our so called "pullets" Rhode Island Reds wound up being a "pullet" and "Rooster". Yup right off the bat we hit the first obstacle, should we keep him or not. We decided to keep him being for a Rooster was very social and loved attention from people. Enjoying this bunch of birds, that summer the good ol' Chicken Math hit us yet again... Back to Monroe we go and guess what, again I think we wound up with a bunch of birds. This time (2) Salmon Favorelles,(5) Bantam Frizzles, (3) Bantam Golden Necked D'Uccles,(3) Americuanas, (3) Golden Laced Wyandottes ---Sadly we did lose a couple, between both bunches as chicks which was only 2 I think. Who would of thought later that Bantams and Standard wouldn't work out too well together...our next problem... Where to put the Bantam Birds. Easy fix.... Order another Coop which my mother named "Meals on Wheels" as it was able to be moved around if you had something that could - of course we found that we had nothing that could pull the weight of 4,000lbs+.
OK now we have these birds, we're getting eggs.. wound up with beautiful birds, all healthy happy.. whats next?
The summer of next year 2012, we decided to take a shot at it.... what is it you ask? Why hatching our own this time. YUP we went there! So OK we need the main thing to do this with so we bought a . I found out later how frustrating this type of incubator could be for newly starting out on hatching. It's touchy with temperature control and keeping the humidity leveled out and high for lock down was rough. When they did hatch I never realized how exciting it was to watch them make their way into the world. I was like a father pacing back and forth as his wife was in labor.... During the hatching I noticed a chick hadn't come out or pipped and thought "Oh no, I need to try and save it".... my first mistake ever... I worked hard getting that chick out, for the poor thing to not make it anyway due to lack of oxygen. So all the remaining eggs, even tho there is slight life in the egg I had to dispose of with tears streaming down my face . After that I learned that if they don't manage to pip there's no saving them either way.
Now we have our first batch of fluffy Butts... the cutest little things I ever saw. Being they were all crosses the colors and markings were way different than what their parents looked like as chicks. What babies we did hatch out as time went by, went to my uncle for his own set of egg producing attachments. He found how attached you can become to them as well by the way.
That summer I believe we went and got more birds as well. My mother decided to get hooked on Silkies. Now here is a bird that is all looks NO brains. We found that we needed to compensate for their lack of. Make ramps shorter, make sure they have full cover from weather and few other things. We hatched a few later on, but over all later my mother decided to part with them just because it's too much work to adjust ways for them to function.
Now we got birds, hatched a few batches what is left to do? How about just turn our hobby into a small business for the future. I'm more into this idea for my kids future, and I just enjoy chickens. I rather enjoy them more than cats and dogs almost.
So four years later we've learned a lot - the do's and don'ts - came across issues that we learned to resolve and everyday is still a learning process no matter how much you read, what other people tell you to do or don't. What works for one, may not work for another. So far we stick with what works and it all has turned out just fine. We haven't had a lot of casualties except for newly bought chicks, some that came to us with problems and we had to cull or Roosters that are too mean and aggressive to re home. All the birds we parted with, that I know of are still alive, happy and healthy.
Here we are today - we've come a long way from when we first started - Chicken math still no matter what hits us every time. We went from sheds to:
My mother is now up to a full sized chicken house (barn) - People drive by not believing its a chicken barn..She went all out for her birds to keep them safe,healthy and happy plus to help us with the care of them.The joke around here from the guys who built it is "The chickens have a better house than I do"... So we've for sure come a long way from our first 5+ chickens.. my mother has 39 total w/ 30 new chicks due to arrive. I myself have a few, not counting the ones my mother has that I will be taking. We still have a couple of our Original birds that no matter what we couldn't part with them since they became "pet" -
We went from:
Our so called "pullet" Rhode Island Red has become our mascot and he's so wonderful to watch and spend time with. We found out that he is a rare occurrence do to the Rhode Islands generally being too aggressive to even be placed in shows. Big Red so far everyone has tried to talk us out of him, but he's our family. It will be a very sad day when his time comes and it's almost around the corner. We have broken down the naming of birds tho. Only a select hens have actual names as they are the originals, but our system is to name the Rooster to each flock so we know who is being referred to. Then this way we don't get too attached to any of them as of now.. until we get "that" bird who you just cant help but attach too.
We decided to specialize in Lavender Orpingtons as they are just down right beautiful. Cochins well that's an easy one... the Fluffy Feet and Plumpness...My mother is partial to the Standard Cochins while I am more so towards the Bantam / Frizzle versions. We've moved forward in feed for the birds to Scratch and Peck foods. The first bag we had gotten to try, one of our birds who had been picked on by every bird we put her with had received injury so bad her feathers didn't grow back, until she was put on Scratch and Peck fee... low and behold her feathers came back and now she's just as cute as the day she was a chick. So now we've gone organic food. No ones needed any antibiotics since we went to sand in the runs (coccidiousis ran high in the soil) - Only birds who have gotten Mereks vaccine are the parents and any new chicks we receive.Our hatched babies don't receive the vaccine.Out of these birds we have not had any problems with illnesses like Mereks. Even previous hatched chicks that we've found homes for are still happy healthy and going on 2-3 yrs old now. We allow them to build their own immunities instead of dosing them up with mass stuff to hopefully prevent it. Chickens have done it for many years on their own.. they just need a chance to do so again. Each generation can gain their immunity to things that are common occurrences.
I hope you all enjoyed this story of how Lil Go Peep came to be as of today. We basically just started as Lil Go Peep, it needed a name so thou shall have a name and become something other than My House or My Mothers house. It's a joint effort with my Fiancee manning the maintenance and tally's lmao - It's my Obsession I guess, not so much anyone elses. As long as someone actually enjoys it, it's worth the effort
To those people who do receive birds from us - I hope you are as happy with them being a part of your family as we all are in a Candy Store.
Thank you for taking the time to read this story and if you'd like to stop by our FB community page feel free to stop in (https://www.facebook.com/lilgopeep) it is still a work in progress - I'm trying to multi-task between 3 different things to at least get things going.