Welcome toIt started out so simple and small. My dear hubby, Gary wanted some chickens with good layers we could have plenty for food and they would taste better. I initally rolled my eyes and said, "uh, huh" which simply means, "Are you crazy? I know how this work, and I'll be the one taking care of them, don't you think I have enough to do around the house with a new baby. Besides I really don't like birds." After him mentioning it off and on for a year and watching his aunt and uncle with their chickens, I slowly began to come around, thinking that might not be so bad. So we talked and talked and talked about it. However, there was always some reason why we needed to wait. In October of 2009, our local feedstore had a Fall Extravaganza where they gave 5 free chicks to the first 40 families. So we went and got some afterall we just needed some yard chickens, nothing fancy.
~Our Chicken Obsession~
Over the next couple of months I started to do my homework as we built our coop (you know that stuff you are suppose to do before you bought the birds). And I really enjoyed the experience of building a coop with my hubby (not so sure how much he enjoyed it), and the birds began to grow on me. One afternoon I was in the feedstore again to pick up feed, and found that they had some pullets in a chick brooder much too small for them. We had been thinking about getting one more since we lost one chick to a hawk, but when I saw that I couldn't refrain I took 3 EEs (listed as Americanuas but they aren't any normal colored ones) and 2 more red sex links. Now we were up to .9 sweet mutt chickens
In a few months it was obvious that we had 3 black sex link cockrels and 1 red sex link cockerel in the bunch. So we set out to rehome them. A little sad since the black and white boys were the best in the bunch. They were awefully personable and entertaining for chickens, and I was getting hooked. We just had to replace them with some more hens. I started doing research on breeds, because the only way to sell dear hubby on more birds was if we could make enough money to off set the cost. For our first adventure into purebreed chickens we decided on Marans - they are a hardy breed that does well in humid and marshy climates (so perfect for Florida), lay large beautiful DARK brown eggs, and are a fairly docile breed (very important since at this point we had a 14 month old and another on the way). We knew that we wanted to raise them by hand like the last set, so that they knew us and were easy to handle, besides have you ever looked for a Maran hen that is laying (impossible to find).
Now we just needed an incubator. Tractor Supply was running a steal on incubators we got one and an egg turner for $40 total, and needed some eggs to test out before the expensive ones got here. So in April 2010, I bought a dozen Buff Orphington eggs from Tammy with Majestic Farm (she has such gorgeous birds and I've always wanted some buff orph hens). Everything that could go wrong with a hatch did with that one, completely with a 10 hr lost of power due to spring storms on hatch day. Only one buff baby made it, but I had baby hatching fever. We learned alot from the experience and within a few more days in went our 31 Marans eggs.
It started out as a pipe dream, I thought I might make enough selling some eggs to justify having more birds. At least that's how I sold it to Gary, I thought it would be alot of fun to help develop a beautiful bird and get them recognized with the American Poultry Association. After doing a bit of research we decided to go with two different lines, with hopes of getting a couple of different colors. I fell in love with the Blue Marans, and no one had prettier birds than Bishop's Chickens from the Wade Jeane and Grisham lines. To help keep egg color up and give us a little variety, we also decided on some Copper Black Marans and we picked out some from Melissa of Paso Fino Farm of the Bev Davis line. So at the end of April 2010, we set our eggs. After another round of spring storms (I will never again set eggs in April), we only had three hatch. Two roos one of each and a blue hen. The black roo died in June after he hopped out of the pen and ran straight to the dog, while we were gathering eggs. Leaving us two blue Marans - Marcus and Mia. They are very attached to each other, and any time we have separated them even just a few days they stand next to each other through the wire in two separate runs, and keen for each other.