Keeping Chickens

Most Recent Chicks

Most Recent Chicks

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 (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.

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