About a year ago I started keeping chickens. Ostensibly I purchased them to create a steady supply of food for the family table. In reality, I think I have them just because I harbor dreams of living on a farm and being completely self-sufficient. I already have several beehives. But I digress. No, we do not eat the chickens. Just the eggs. After having the chickens for over a year, I have decided that I really like having chickens and just received my next batch of baby chicks. Before ordering, I had my children pick their favorite chickens so they could have them as “pets”. Each of my girls got to pick their favorite. My boy showed no interest in picking a chicken. We ended up with a Rhode Island Red, two Barred Plymouth Rocks, a Partridge Silkie Bantam, a Blue Silkie Bantam, a White Crested Black Polish and a Golden Spangled Hamburg. I purchased them from mypetchicken.com (who, by the way, are excellent to work with). They showed up this past week. I can’t wait until December–that is about when they should start laying eggs.
To detail the chicken saga, it started one day with a conversation between my wife and I. She mentioned the greenhouse was not working. It seemed to broil all our plants. The weather just changes too fast where we live. So I asked if I could take it down and build a chicken coop. It was agreed upon and work began. I had practice building things since I finished our basement several years ago. Quickly I laid out a plan, poured a 10 x 8 pad of cement, framed the walls, and then sheathed the frame with some nice outdoor paneling. Then I stuck some sheeting on the roof, laid down tar paper and shingled it. Finally I painted the whole inside a hideous color green because I had several gallons of leftover latex from a recent project. It sounds really easy and fast–it was pretty easy overall but the fast part wasn’t happening. ( In fact, the coop outside didn’t get painted until June. And then, it only got finished because my wife and daughter finished it off one weekend when I was out of town. ) Then I moved the first batch of chickens in. They seemed very happy. I let them out frequently to run the yard and they absolutely loved those runs. It took about four months until they were all laying. Most days we get 4 to 6 eggs. Quite a delight. I think we only have purchased eggs from the store twice in the past eight months–once for a party we were hosting where omelets were to be the main meal and the second time for a heavy run of baking that cleaned us out. If you are thinking of getting chickens–just do it.