For years I had been wanting to get chickens. I remember my mom bought me a book called "Chickens in Your Backyard" about 10-15 years ago and it quickly became well-loved and read but at the time, chickens just were not a possibility. Finally, this year, while visiting our local feed store to see the chicks with my mom and kids, I said, "now's the time." So the kids and I came up with an elaborate plan to convince my husband that we couldn't live without chickens. When he got home from work, we attacked with our plan fully expecting to be turned down. The surprising answer was, "okay, what do we need to do?" So began our love and obsession with chickens.
My husband is a carpenter and quickly got to work planning a brooder and a coop/run. We spent days looking at coops online and here on BYC and came up with a design that incorporated features from several different coops.
The brooder and one of our very curious cats.
In between the late snow of spring and spending hours mesmerized by the peepers, we built the girls a permanent home.
With summer blooms
The girls have given us hours of entertainment and joy! A little info about each of them and pictures of their growth:
April, our EE, is the youngest and most adventurous of the flock. She started laying around 21 weeks.
about 2 weeks
Here she is on her favorite roost.
Checking out her new ramp (4.5 weeks)
At approx 9 weeks
April came in for a little tv before bed. 20 weeks
April's first beautiful egg.
Frisbee, our Black Sex Link, was sold as an Ameraucana Bantam. She became very sick at around 1 week old and we were prepared to lose her. She somehow pulled through but has become the bottom of the totem pole. Frisbee layed her first egg at 21 weeks.
21 weeks and an official layer!
Princess Lay-a, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, is our beauty, though she doesn't look it in this pic. I think she's the leader of the bunch. She's also the first to lay at exactly 18 weeks.
My day lilies have become the "cool" hangout. 13 weeks
15 weeks with another of our kitties
almost 17 weeks, in all her fluffy grumpiness!
Our first egg! So proud of Lay-a. She even deposited in the right spot!
So cute and perfect!
Pixie, our Black Australorp has always kind of been under the radar. She's always been a bit of a loner and rather quiet. She's now the noisiest of the flock but still a loner. She was the last to lay at almost 24 weeks. Here she is at about 2 weeks.
13 weeks, in my lilies again!
15 weeks and a true beauty
Sweetie, our Buff Orpington, was named by my son. We knew BO were known for their wonderful, docile personalities. She has, however, turned out to be anything but sweet! She is constantly picking on the other gals and doesn't care for human contact. She's the biggest of the bunch. Sweetie layed her first egg a day shy of 22 weeks. 1 week
21 weeks and getting more social everyday
So there's our girls! We are having the time of our lives and just can't believe we waited so long to get them. We can't imagine a life without chickens!
The Rest of the Story
In this area, I will provide updates and general pics of our girls as the seasons change and the girls grow.
Just home from the feed store
We fell in love with our babies right away
Everything tastes better when it's eaten out of a hand
Their first outing
A visit to the run on a cool spring day
unexpected house guests
all grown up
Summer break is ending and our spoiled birds, who have had free reign of the backyard all summer, will have to be shut in the run while I'm at school all day. We've done a few dry runs this week and they didn't go so well. Let's just say they aren't pleased about being locked up and are not afraid to tell the whole neighborhood. I decided to try to come up with a few ways to keep them occupied while locked in their run (which now seems so small for our grown birds). I bought a couple of suet cages to fill with their favorite fruit and vegetables. It took them three days to even approach the first tester. They wouldn't even come out of their coop into the run because of the terrifying "trap" was there filled with delicious, but most likely deadly, treats. Finally, someone must have braved a nibble because on the third day, the cage was empty! I'm hoping this will cure their boredom until I get home.
Update on suet cage: This has been working out really well. I just toss one in the run before I head out to class along with a bit of scratch and they seem to be very happy.
The chickens have finally experienced their first snow storm, and we were out of town! We came back to about 17 inches and spent the day digging out our driveway, deck and various trails around the backyard for the chickens to get around. It took the girls two days before they would come out of the run and I made sure to be there with the camera when they did.
As always, April is the first to explore the snow.
She coaxes out some friends.