Chickens

IMG-20110327-00024    About two years ago I decided it would be fun to have our own chickens. I had always liked chickens — my kitchen featured a lot of chickens so this was no surprise to my family. Having fresh eggs would be a healthy step for our family. I was sure our grandchildren would enjoy watching baby chicks grow. My son Dan was enlisted to help. Since childhood he had a silly nickname from me that was just that — silly mama fun – as did all our sons I might add. His? Dan, Dan, the farmer’s man. He says now I must have known I was going to get him involved in all my projects! So we began to research what we needed. We studied ins and outs of owning chickens, how to care for them properly, how to design a coop.

Soon we were sitting outside each using our own laptops to study coops! We printed out all sorts of plans and info for my growing notebook collection. Then came a surprise when hubby joined us in conversation. Naturally he had an opinion, “Remember I told you I had chickens back in Italy with my mama and sisters Why not use my plan?”  We laughed but told him we were going to be  dealing with more than one or two chickens. He really laughed then and told us “Where’d you get the idea we had one or two — we had over 150 plus my sisters had more. We used for eggs and meat, replenishing the flocks all the time. We did have a farm you know!” Thirty-four plus years and I am still learning new things about this man! Ha!

IMG-20110418-00043    We chose an A-frame design for our coop. My son added a plexiglass window to the roost area giving extra light along with an added solar light to boost egg production. To the right side we have a door opening to the nesting/roost area to collect eggs. Inside the enclosed area we have a small door that allows the chickens access to their nesting and roost area. We made a small sliding trap door to safely tuck them in at might in addition to the screen door that closes them in. All around this coop we added an outdoor fenced pen so they can roam and enjoy pecking away at bugs and grass to their hearts’ content.      DSC_2214

So began our new journey as chicken wranglers! Our locality will not permit roosters which means we aren’t going to be able to replenish our flock consistently. Therefore we will not be breeding for meat. We do have local sources fortunately should the need ever arise in an SHTF situation of any kind.  We bought 3 day old chicks at our local farm store and began to have fun immediately just watching their antics. It was instant love at first sight! Two days later a friend of our son brought us a couple of adult hens so we could have eggs right away. It took no time at all until all of us were enjoying this great new hobby. We’ve had our ups and downs in this journey — even some losses that broke our hearts when predators got to some of our chickens. It meant replacing some dear sweeties that we lost but we learned from our mistakes and have continued on. It has been worth all the tears and laughter along the way — the journey is well worth it!

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