PotterWatch's Peeps
*Yes, I am a Harry Potter fan. All our chickens have HP names.*
For regular chicken updates see my blog at www.potterwatchpeeps.blogspot.com .

We are a homeschooling family that is trying to live life a bit more simply. We are attempting to raise some of our own food through chickens and gardening. We live in the 'burbs on a small lot with neighbors on all sides but are trying to make the best of it. Here is our house and yard (before we had the current coop and run; we always seem to be in the middle of projects):

We have had several different breeds of chickens including rhode island red, barred rock, easter egger, delaware, australorp, jersey giant, barred leghorn, light brahma, black sex-link, buff orpington, and red broilers.
Delaware pullet on the point of lay:

Three Easter Eggers:
Barred Rock:
Black Sex-Link pullet:

Light Brahma pullet:
California Gray Hen:
I (the Mom), have processed some meat birds for our consumption and plan on doing so again in the future. We usually keep dual-purpose layers so that when their laying years are over, they can still serve us well on our dinner table.

I have been bitten by the hatching bug! I found out that I could get an incubator on loan from a local program for school teachers. Since we homeschool, I am able to make use of the program and all the wonderful things it has to offer (not just chickens!). I bought 24 buff orpington eggs from another BYC member and invited several other homeschool families to come help put them in the 'bator. Hatch day is supposed to be Oct. 26, 2009 and we are all looking forward to it. This has been a wonderful homeschool project to share with our friends and I can't wait to see how many chicks will end up hatching! I have already started looking at purchasing our own incubator since this has been such a great experience so far.

Update on the hatch!:

We had some temperature issues and many of our eggs didn't make it to hatch, but we learned a lot and had a great time. We did have ten chicks hatch and it was fascinating to watch! All the chicks have found new homes but we enjoyed them while we had them. I think that I will buy a better incubator before we try this again (and a new coop to house the babies of course...). There was a straight split down the middle with five cockerals and five pullets. A few of the pullets and one cockeral went to friends so I will hopefully get an updated picture at some point so you can see them all grown up!
Some of the chicks getting out in the sun before going to new homes:
We keep our birds in an enclosed coop/run area because we did have one incident with our dog killing a chicken when we allowed them to range freely around the yard. Our coop is built against our shed and is very simple, but works well.

[Here is the coop and run as they looked on July 25, 2009 (the fan is to help keep the girls cool on the hot summer days we get here in Southern California):

The girls waiting not-so patiently at the door for me to give them the weeds I just pulled from the garden:

We use milk crates for nest boxes. They work well and since we already had some lying around, we didn't have to spend anything to put them in. We currently have eight hens and though we have two boxes, they all lay in the same one.

This basket holds the eggs from almost two full days of laying from our 10 hens. The bluish ones are from our easter eggers. The spotted one at the top is from our light brahma. The long light-brown one on the top right is from our rhode island red. The brown one in the middle with the spots on the end is from our australorp. The pinkish-brown one at the bottom is from a delaware. The smaller brown one on the bottom left is from our black sex-link. I really love having a colorful basket of eggs!

Thanks for looking!