When you raise chickens you get the joys of collecting fresh eggs daily, the joys of watching “the chicken channel,” the little peeps of baby chicks, the sweet sound of the egg laying song the proud (and sometimes awkward) robust crows of the rooster… and also the pleasure of watching them completely tear your yard down to dust. Two years ago our chicken yard was a beautiful, lush pasture. Now half of it is just a barren, dust pit full of feathers and poop. Not very glamorous if you ask me! Not like raising chickens is a very glamorous thing in the first place. Unless you’re Zsa Zsa Gabor or the Queen of freaking England. But I digress. We prefer for our chickens to forage for food, bugs and things and supplement with chicken feed so we needed to do something about our pasture. But re-seeding the chicken pasture while they’re in there can be really tricky. But we figured out a way with our moveable “salad bar.”
We’re in the final stages of building our new coops. Which is super great, because we have a buttload of chicks in either temporary coops or en route. The buildings are built, we just had to make them chicken friendly. Now came time for the fun part… the roosts, feeders, nesting boxes, brooder, lounge, discoteque and luxury day spa.
We got our first group of Marans about 4 weeks ago, back then they were precious little one week old balls of fluff that bounced around their roomy brooder. Now they like like prehistoric dinosaur-like chicken creatures that I’m certain are going to start breaking out of their brooder while I’m sleeping and start revolting. It’s time for them to move out and start living like normal chickens instead of house chickens.
Friday night I rushed home from work to see what Ms. Broody Pants was up to. One of our buff orpingtons had been sitting on her eggs for 20 days so I was almost sure that when I got home I would see some chicks. But alas, no chicks. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be, maybe the chill last week was too much for her. But Saturday morning I went out to the coop to check on the chickens and looked in her nesting box. A tiny yellow chick with a black spot on its forehead was peeking out from underneath Ms. Broody Pants. She did it!! She hatched a chick! I ran to the house to grab my camera and by the time I got back out there were three tiny faces peeking out from underneath her wings. Three beautiful chicks!
If you give Autumn a chicken coop, she’ll probably want some chickens. If you give Autumn some chickens, she’ll probably want some more. If your chickens start to lay eggs, your friends will probably want some eggs. If your friends want some eggs, their friends will probably want some too. If your friends’ friends want some eggs, you’ll probably need more chickens. If you want some more chickens, you’ll probably need some more coops. Translation: We’re building not one but two additional coops so that eventually we can have three separate thirty bird flocks. By keeping three separate flocks, we’ll be able to sell eggs for consumption, hatching eggs, chicks and full grown chickens. And we are really effing excited.
Spring has finally sprung here at the farm! Let’s just hope it stays this way. Now that it’s April, Missouri’s weather needs to get its act together! Anyway, we’ve started to notice some signs that spring has arrived; the hyacinths in Rob’s flower bed have started to bloom, we have a seriously broody buff orpington, the greenhouse is full of seedlings and germinating herbs, we have construction projects out the wazoo and there’s this bright light coming from the sky… oh yeah, the sun.
The other day I noticed that one of our buff orpington hens was getting a really dirty butt. So being the concerned chicken mamma that I am, I quickly began reading up on it. Turns out that there can be some pretty some serious complications from this. She could get sick from any disease that may be harboring in her dried droppings, her vent could get completely shut and could potentially become egg bound, etc. Now, I get concerned when one of my chicken sneezes so obviously, I was on the case. I turned to Dave and said “Well, it looks like we’re giving the chicken a bath today” to which he replied, “Correction… you’re giving the chicken a bath today.” Well… here we go. Sometimes you just have to give a chicken a bath.
I really wanted chickens. I wanted them really bad. The farm already had a great coop on the property inside a large, fenced in chicken run. All I had to do was insert chickens… and learn how to take care of them. One Saturday in May, our good friends John and Lanette brought us over five chickens and the rest is history. I had chicken fever. Here’s a looksie around our coop.