My Backyard Chickens, Really!
I have been around chickens off and on most of my life. When I was in Jr Hi and Hi School we lived out in the country and had various birds at various times. ALL, and I say ALL the males were MEAN MEAN MEAN. They would chase me around the property until my daddy heard me screaming and came a runnin'.
Fast forward about 20 yrs and my husband (ex now) decided to get some chickens. We started out with old battery chickens that could hardly walk. Then we ordered new chicks, all pullets, but ended up with one Barred Rock Roo. We named him "Old Devil", need I say why???????????
Fast Forward again several years. Im divorced, live alone in my daddy's small lake cabin and I decide to get some chickens. I found a place in TX that had a $25 min order so I ordered 7 New Hampshire Reds and 7 Barred Rock Pullets. I lucked out and all were pullets. I was very lucky for the first couple years. My outside dogs respect the hens and dont bother them. I lost 1 to I know not what. Another I think from the heat, and another looked like from diarhea. So Last April 2010 I had 11 and they were very cozy in my back yard and I had the hen house (old boat shed) set up with ex pens so they could walk out, go around the corner and into the old garden. I go lax about locking them up at night and that night 'something' dug under the garden fence and killed 6 hens. 2 completely gone, the other 4 dead with heads gone. What a mess that was to find. It looked like it has snowed in the night!! They were all out in the garden. I filled up the small hole by the fence, and put all 5 hens in a dog crate in the chicken house that night, and the varmit came back the next night and dug up the chicken that had died 3 wk before. Iguess it didnt want old dead chicken so he left it and went on his merry way. So, I filled up the second hole by the fence and it dawned on me since aranging the ex pens and such the way I had the dogs had not been allowed in the 'garden/chicken yard' in quite a while and therefore had not pee'd on the fence line. I had always heard that if males dog or human would pee on the perimeter, varmits would not come in. So, from now on my chickens are back loose in the yard and the garden gate is opened when I let the hens out, and closed when I put the hens to bed. I also learned to always lock up the chickens after they go to bed.
I didnt think I would get any more chickens, and kept thinking about it for a year and after my neighbor asking me if I was going 'out of the chicken business', I decided to get more. I checked hatcherys all over the US and they were all backordered. I found a place that would me to order as few as 3 lil chicks coz they would send a warmer thing with them and ship them overnight. So I ordered 7 Buff Orpingtons. I paid more to ship them than I did for the chicks!!
So here I am reading BYC, my baby chicks are almost 4 wk old now ( they were hatched May 23, and I got them May 25 2011.) , and I just started putting them outside in the little pen a couple days ago. They can only stay out til about noon because the heat here in TEXAS has been terrible. Over 105 every day. So I carry them in and out just as I did the first chicks 3 yr ago.
I will post pictures of my two bunches of chicks/chickens when I figure out how. I have the pictures uploaded now, but dont know how to post them. (June 19, 2011)
Oh, by the way, I am a dog groomer by trade, 31 yrs now. I love working at home in my lil ol shop in my backyard.