(last update: 10/26/2008)Anne's story...I am a Mom to 4 incredible kids, ages 12(g), 10(b), 3(b), & 2(g). Wife to one fabulous hubby, and "Mommy" to many critters! We were animal free (aside from two kids) until Christmas 2002, when we got Rolie and Drew, two Lab mix puppies, for our kids. Rolie and Drew are brother and sister from the same litter! Here is a photo of them at 2-1/2 months. They were so adorable!Here they are at Halloween 2007 at 5 years old. They sure grew up! Has it been that long ALREADY???
Next came the ducks and geese every spring, beginning in 2004. Our local fox and her kits ate most of our ducks each year until we finally fenced in a large area. We dug a little pond for them too. Here is a photo of our first Goslings when they were a couple weeks old.
Here is a photo of Rolie and Odd Ball. We named her Odd Ball because she had a pink beak and pink feet. All the other geese like her had both black beaks and feet!
From the beginning I taught Rolie and Drew that any furry animal was MY baby and not to be eaten! They may get into a lot of trouble for mischief, but I am very proud to say that Rolie and Drew have NEVER eaten any of Mommy's babies!
The summer of 2007 our oldest son, then 9 yrs old, kept asking if we could have chickens. It was too late to start raising chickens in Northern Minnesota for the summer, so I told him we would "next year".
Well, "next year" came and he had not forgotten what Mommy had promised! So, I took him to our local "feed" store and let him pick out 8 pullets. He is mentally impaired and I was hoping he'd learn more about responsibility, and caring for animals, due to the chickens. I am blessed to say that raising chickens HAS helped him! It is his responsibility to check for eggs at least once a day. On weekends and non-school days, he probably goes out and checks a half dozen times! It's pretty funny because right now we only have three chickens laying! By the time our 8 Pullets were six weeks old it was very apparent that we really only had SEVEN pullets! To make matters worse, when they were about 2-1/2 months old a weasel got five of them! I ended up with a White Leghorn cockerel and two pullets - an Australorp and a Buff Orpington.By the time my three Standards were 14 weeks old, I knew I needed more Standard pullets! I ordered six more through our local "feed" store and received eight. I know, I know... extra ones are usually cockerels, but somehow I lucked out and not only ended up with two FREE ones, but they are ALL Pullets! YAY! I have 2 each: White Rock, Barred Rock, Production Red, and California White (they were suppose to be Leghorns).
By the beginning of May, 2008, I had fallen in love with Bantams. I purchased several from the "feed" store. I learned a hard lesson right away... Bantams are delicate creatures! Although choosing a chick because it is the smallest and looks like it needs the most loving sounded like a good idea at the time, I realized that those babies were NOT the ones to purchase because chances are pretty high they won't make it. After a couple purchases, a couple replacement chicks, and one saved chick, I ended up with 9 assorted Bantams - 8 Cochin's and one Rosecomb.
At this point I realized that seven out of my nine Bantams were cockerels. Talk about crappy luck! I found Ideal Poultry through BYC links, so I placed an order for five different Bantam breeds... three chicks per breed: Blue-Red Old English Game Bantams, Golden Sebrights, Blue Wyandotte, Sultans, and Self-Blue Cochin's! (When I get obsessed, I really get obsessed! muaahhh haaa haa haa) I ended up losing one of my Sultan's.So, if you have been adding it up on your own, I now have 11 Standard sized chickens and 23 Bantams! Yes, I went from ZERO chickens as of March 2008, to 34 by the end of August, just five short months later! YIKES! Have I mentioned yet how completely wonderful my husband is?!White Leghorn: Prince Roo (cockerel)
Here are my current :chicken counts
1 Black Australorp: Nighting Gail (p)
1 Buff Orpington: Ginger (P)
2 White Rocks (unnamed pullets)
2 Production Reds (unnamed pullets
2 California Whites (unnamed pullets)
2 Barred Rocks (unnamed pullets)
Buff Cochin's: Chuck (cockerel) and Shirley (pullet)
Red Cochin's: Squiggy (cockerel) and Laverne (pullet)
Self-Blue Cochin's: Blue (p), Miss "M" (p), and Sky (p)
Sultan's: Farroh (c) and Cleopatra (p)
Golden Sebright's: Edward (c), Beatrice (p), and Tigerlily (p)
Blue/Red Old English Game Bantams: Baxter (c), Buttercup (p), and Honey (p)
Blue Wyandotte's: Samson (c), Conan (c), and Dahlila (p)
Rosecomb: Fonzi (c)
Barred Cochin's: Cody, Alex, and Justin (all cockerels!)