Hi, I am a fifteen year old girl, and after spending two weeks on a farm in Vermont, I fell in love with the chickens I had to take care of. When I came home, I begged my mother for many months to let me get a few chickens. Finally, she gave in and on March 9th we went to a local farm and bought three Easter Egger chicks. I only wish that we too lived on a farm, however we do not. For the first many weeks of their lives, my precious chicks lived in my bathtub. Somehow, they managed to wake me up every morning with their peeping, for my bathroom is attached to my room, but it was actually okay since I had to get up early for school anyway
Before getting my chicks, my mother and I filled the tub with bedding, and attached a heat lamp to the top of the shower head. Also, I put in their water and food bowls and a few things for them to climb on. Boy did they love it. They also managed to make a mess with every step. I was always cleaning bedding out of their water bowl and taking the wet bedding out when they spilled their water bowl. Because of that heat lamp, my bathroom became extremely hot, so every now and then I opened the window to let in some fresh air. The chicks were certainly very cute and fun but after a while I just wanted them out of my room. Sometimes, I would let them hop around my bathroom. When they were old enough, I let them hop around outside.
Since our yard isn't fenced, we had to buy a pen for them to be in when they wanted to free range. Once the chicks had most of their feathers, I started taking them outside for a few hours, and then putting them back in the bathtub at night, which they were not very happy about. They loved going outside and pecking around in the grass. To keep them busy in the bathtub, I would throw in some crickets for them to chase. I really didn't want them to get bored. Finally, at 8 weeks, the chickens moved from the bathtub into an outdoor chicken coop with run!
Now, my secret was out, and anyone who came over would ask what that contraption under the trees was. My answer: "Oh yeah, I have chickens, but don't tell anyone haha" My three hens, hopefully, now live in that small coop. Because the coop is heavy, we could not move it from place to place around the yard. So, we had to leave it stationary. Because we didn't want the wood on the bottom to get ruined by the wet ground, I had the brilliant idea of putting the whole chicken coop up on square stepping stones. This also made it easier for cleaning. Once a week, prop two corners up on bricks, and with a hose I spray the floor. The poop and dirt get pushed under the coop and on the ground behind it. But, we hit a problem that now the chickens won't have grass. So, every day I put them in that pen and they peck at the grass for many hours.
After a while, I got into a routine of waking up at 7:30 and bringing their food bowl from the shed into their coop, refilling their water, and opening the door to their house. It's always a laugh seeing them come bursting out of their house when I open the door. They always run right to the food. At night, they go in their house and I close the door, and take their food bowl and put it back in the shed. I was beginning to have a slug problem because of the chicken food, so every night I just put their food in the shed.
Having chickens is so different from having any other type of pet. Every individual chicken has a different personality and attitude. I have fallen in love with my chickens, who are now 16 weeks old, and consider them part of the family. I just hope one isn't a rooster. But if one is, I will figure out what to do with the support of my family. Having these chickens has taught me responsibility, for I am responsible for the lives of these three chickens. I have also learned how to problem solve. Sometimes, I have to figure out a different way to do something, like when the slugs were eating all the food, and the fact that they don't have grass in their coop. The rest of my family thinks these chickens are annoying, for no one really loves animals as much as I do. I can't wait to start getting some green and blue eggs.
3 days old in my bathtub
15 weeks old in their pen
OH MY GOSH! today, 7/24/13, I got the first egg! They are 19 weeks old. The egg is small and pink but I am so exited and can't wait for more to come soon!