Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Ladies: 6 Months Later

This is just a little recap of our first six months with Chickens.  It's not meant to serve as a how-to, and I am certainly not trying to pass myself off as a chicken expert! We get asked all the time "so, how do you like having chickens?" So I thought I would answer!

Back in February Matt and I loaded the boys into the car and took a long winding drive through Amish country to pick up four teeny tiny peeping balls of fluff.  I've wanted to have a few chickens for a loooong time, but up until now, we didn't live in a place that we could have them.  BUT NOW.  Now I'm trying to talk Matt into raising ducklings as well :) (Kidding.  Mostly.)
 But anyway, back to the ladies.  We have four hens, all Australorps. (See that brownish blob behind the chick?  That's Jacobear.  He loves the chickens too, and is never agressive towards them)
For the first six weeks or so of their lives, they lived in our dining room, in a little brooder that we set up for them, using these directions (more or less - we made it work for our space).  I have heard a lot of people say that they would not keep the chickens in their living space, which I understand, but we didn't have anywhere else that was safe for them, plus I think it helped them get used to the boys. Also - I really loved hearing their little peeps.

**Chicken Fun Fact: Newly hatched chicks sleep like they are dead.  I don't mean they are sound sleepers, I mean they flop over, legs all willy nilly, and fall asleep anywhere.  I hadn't read that before and I was convinced our chicks were sick, but no! Just sleeping!**

They slowly feathered out over the next weeks, and around 5 weeks old or so, we started taking them outside to their run on balmy spring days. At first this was almost pitiful, as they just kind of huddled together in the corner, but they warmed up to being outside pretty quickly.

At somewhere between 6 and 7 weeks, we moved them our into their coop permanently.  We do let them out to free-range pretty regularly, but only when one or both of the adults are outside.  They never seem to wander far - but we live next to a farm and their vegetable garden is pretty close.  I would hate for my chickens to wreak havoc among the neighbors tomatoes, ya know?
 As I said before, they are extremely friendly. We were very intentional about teaching the boys that animals get scared, so they shouldn't chase the chickens (even though their 'run' is kind of hilarious).  They do have names, courtesy of Jack, but let's be honest - we can't really tell them apart!  Regardless, their names are Rosie, Smartie, Flower, and Wall.  Oddly enough, Wall is the only one we can tell apart - she is a little bit of a wanderer. I didn't really expect the chickens to have personalities, but they do! They are really fun to watch!
Oh...eggs! They started laying eggs in mid-July, when they were somewhere around 17-18 weeks old.  They are all good layers now, and we average three or four eggs a day - which has been really awesome.  The boys LOVE to check for eggs - they ask to check several times a day, and oh! The excitement when they find one! It's like Christmas.
So how do we like having chickens?  We LOVE having chickens.  Someday we want to have more. And ducks.  And turkeys.  Because now I'm hooked on this whole raising poultry thing.

Linking up at the Homeacre Hop

8 comments:

  1. We kept ours in our dining room too! When one was able to jump out of the box and to the table, it was time to move them out!

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  2. We kept our "babies" in the dining room too! They never bothered us, we had a Turkey and a duck too, but I'll warn you....our duck ate our chicken eggs, so she had to have a separate pin lol.

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  3. So cute! I had Rhode Island Reds, we kept the babies in the house too :)

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  4. I love hearing when someone new gets chickens and love them! They're so funny to watch and calming. If you want to see something funny, you should buy some crickets and let them chase them around. They bob and weave like crazy!!
    We had a turkey for a little bit before we had a predator issue and I loved having her! She clucked and was a bigger scaredy cat than any of my chickens but she was fun to watch too. I definitely want to get more!

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  5. How idyllic! Can't believe how much the boys have grown either...

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  6. No! Those cannot be your babies! They are adorable!

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