We have wanted chickens for a long time and lived in an area that would have been great for them, however our landlord did not understand the in's and out's of it as a city girl, so asked that we not have them. It was tedious- because we go through 14 DOZEN eggs a month as it is! Even our neighbors had chickens. I had chicken envy.
Mid January the landlord informed us she had to sell our house ASAP and we had to QUICKLY find another (um, 30 days, anyone, to find a house to fit 10 people 8 of whom are kids... in winter?) and we found a rural house on 12 acres with a run down barn filled with 3 feet of manure, moldy personal items from a past resident and a chicken house that was used for goats at some point (we found that out from all the goat poo in it).
YAY! We can have our chickens!
So, with a LOT of work over the past few weeks- we have been cleaning up and reinforcing the barn, doing a makeover on the hen house that had only 3/4 of it's floor, had moved down the hill a foot as well as a foot to the right, and had a ton of goat poop still left in it. YUK!
My husband reinforced the legs, tore down the 10 foot blackberry vines all over it and around it, put in a new floor, tore out rotten side boards and put other ones in, tore out a broken window and made that area into a people door, and he's finishing the last of the chicken run at the moment. I decided to whitewash the inside of the hen house in hydrated lime because of the fact goat poop was in there for so long (and wood bees were making their nests quickly) and I still have a little more to do.
We got our chicks about a week ago and have:
1 week old frizzled Cochin Banties from Wilco Im not sure exactly what 2 are going to be yet they're kind of creamy yellow, but the other is a blue and she is my favorite. Im concerned because she isn't as spunky as everyone else, is kind of more of a loner, and is very layed back- but she is eating a little drinking from the nipple, and her poop seems okay.
Two 4 week old Rhode Islands & another who will be black and white speckled one (I cant remember the name of yet) who is a little firecracker. She likes to jump as my hair when my bangs droop over the brooder. She is also motherly towards the babies and fluffs up and lets them under her wings. I got them at the local feed and farm store and they arent as social, but Im working on that.
One large white cornish who is also 4 weeks but twice the size of the other pullets and likes to pick on firecracker (okay she just got her name). I got her for free off of craigslist from a gal who didnt realize how a Cornish hen grows and why they are fryers. She will be a meal in a month or so but for now she just bullies Firecracker around every time she hops or makes a sudden movement.
We hope to get a nice flock of 20 or so birds to free range and are starting out with these 7. My husband built a beautiful brooder and as soon as the hen house is done, the brooder is going in there and the pullets are moving out!
I worry for my little blue cochin (she looks like happy feet) but I will keep watching her to make sure she doesn't go downhill fast. She really is my favorite and is so sweet. I also worry because we have a few falcons and hawks nesting in the trees literally just off from the hen house. Our flock is going to be free- range and our neighbors have free range chickens. A falcon was circling over us yesterday as we built the run singing, "Ohhhh, a new buffet is opening it's doors in the neighborhood..."
Okay, so there is our chicken story. Well, the beginning at least. My husband used to work on a farm where they raised broilers in a big warehouse so this is very different for him. I am blogging about the chickens and everything else, by the way on Jynuine Mothering and have pictures as we go. In case you are curious.
Oh... and I'm Jyn, I have 8 kiddos (2 who home school, and 3 who are not school aged yet), my husband works from home, I'm a part-time photographer and we live in Oregon. I also really like coffee.
I think I need some right now.