When I was pregnant, I had a fabulous idea. After buying eggs from a local family who charges an exorbitant $5 per dozen, I decided that I wanted my own hens. We had a flock when I was a teenager, but I didn’t really have much to do with it besides eating the eggs (and in some cases, the chickens too.) I didn’t know really what was involved, so the chicken process has been a new adventure.
Several weeks before I went into labor with Penny, I made sure to order our birds in advance from the local feed store. I did some research and found out that Buff Orphingtons and Light Brahmas (if you are new to these feathered friends, you would be surprised with how many different breeds there are!) came as highly recommended for families with kids. They are social and not skittish. Some even like to be petted. I ordered 3 of each, because I was warned that you should be prepared that a few may either a) be roosters or b) not make it. I really only wanted 3 or 4.
On April 12th, we picked up the chicks, and holy cow, they were SO FLUFFY and adorable. I went into labor that day upon returning home and putting them in a kiddie pool with a heat lamp and shavings so they would be safe and warm. At one point right after a really intense contraction nearing the homestretch of my birth, I am told that I popped up and begged someone to go check on the baby chicks.
After everything settled from the birth of our youngest, my sweet hubby (who always lovingly tolerates all of my big ideas) started building our chicken coop. We went to Big R and looked at the coops they had for sale, nothing looked like what we wanted, but Colin took what he saw as inspiration. He had a lot of scrap wood in our garage, so he started from scratch with what he had. He didn’t follow any plans, and just kind of built the coop as he went. He is an amazing craftsman.
Meanwhile, the chickens grew.. and grew.. and grew… and they were in our basement. We were told that they could not be outside until they were fully feathered. It was time to get them out, because the dust from the shavings was starting to become an issue. Shortly after they figured out how to get in and out of their pool, even though Colin put a wall around it. Word to the wise- don’t put chickens in your basement.
Colin finally put the coop outside and the birds are happy there now. They have inside, outside, shade, and sunshine. We just bought siding to put on the house portion, and the half of the roof that isn’t shingled is going to be a pretty little succulent garden. We are going to paint the fence posts and since these photos were taken, Colin also put windows in the coop. We are hoping we did a good job preventing the foxes and coyotes from getting our birds. As much as I *really* wish they could be full time free-range chickens, it just isn’t possible with the predators in our area. We had two pet ducks a couple years ago and they both got eaten. RIP Howard and Bill.
Once they are fully grown, we are going to see what differences we can find in them so we can name them. I think chickens should have old lady names, like Bertha and Maude and Helen. Naming will be Zoelie’s job, however. All 6 chicks survived and are healthy and beautifully feathered. The Orphingtons are white with black speckles and have fluffy feathered feet. The Brahmas are a golden brown. Neither will start laying until this fall. I’m busy dreaming (and drooling..) of spinach omelets and surprising my friends with baskets of fresh eggs.
Looking forward to giving you guys a birdie update when they start laying and the coop is perfectly decorated!