You read that correctly, I am raising chickens! And yes, I jumped into it a bit too soon, but that’s how I tend to do things. So far, it’s working out well and here is my story.
Back in February, my in-laws were visiting from Pennsylvania and my husband sent me a picture of baby chickens that were available for sale at our local Tractor Supply. I freaked when he said he bought 6 of them. Our house came with a home-built chicken coop, so it wouldn’t have been a problem BUT, the idea freaked me out. Turns out he was just kidding!
A couple days later, we all went back to Tractor supply and I said, “Lets do it”. So, we came home with 6 baby chickens and a starter kit. We set them up at home, and I began reading the chicken book I also bought while we were there. I read the chapter on how warm you are supposed to keep them, and what they do when they are too hot or too cold. I proceeded to go check the temperature in their little temporary home on the porch, and realized I was cooking them. WHOOPS! We adjusted the height of the heat lamp and all was well.
They quickly outgrew the small tub, so I went and bought a BIG feeding trough to put them in. I checked on them constantly, changed the food and waiter twice a day and checked on them in the middle of the night when I thought I heard them crying.
May/June came around and they didn’t have enough room in their trough anymore, and they were almost able to retain their own body temperature…so it was time to let the babies move to the big coop at the back of the property! Man was I scared they were going to die. They did fine, after trial and error and more reading, they finally got used to the coop and the small enclosed run under it.
July came fast, and we decided to let them roam the big run. Boy were they happy to free range. It was awesome. The only problem is that it didn’t take long for them to realize there was many more acres to explore and they started to jump the fence and get out. They went in the neighbors yard, got chased by my dogs and pooped in my garage, but they were still alive!
Oh, and did I mention I got my first egg in July? Yep, and shortly there after I started getting 5 a day! Yes, only 5. The 6th one turned out to be a Rooster…I got the 10% human error in sexing chickens and ended up with one rooster that wasn’t supposed to be! He doesn’t like me either…Rooster diaries are for another day though, I promise!
Now, it’s October and I have true free-range chickens that lay almost every day. I have fresh eggs all the time, and I give dozens away! The homemade coop is starting to go down hill fast, so we have made a plan to buy a nice new coop, and make them a whole new run area in a dryer part of the property. That will be started at the end of the month! Once that is complete, I am going to buy some “hatching eggs” and hatch them myself and raise a few more. Our reasoning for having chickens was initially to have fresh eggs. The idea of knowing how the laying hens are treated, fed and raised makes me feel good. I can eat them knowing there are no hormones or additives in my eggs, and the hens were not kept in a tiny cage their entire short lives. They are healthier than commercial eggs.
Now, I am becoming obsessed and I want to raise a handful more, and handle them so much that they are tame. The ones we have now are not tame, though the hens are very sweet. You just cant pick them up and carry them around hehe. The next batch I will be trying me best to make them handle able now that I am a little more educated on chickens! I think it will be challenging but a fun thing to do, and my daughter will be more able to learn and handle them with me this go round. Some people say that soon I will have goats and cows too….but I don’t think I can go that far!
Have any of you raised chickens, or want to? What about any other non-domestic animals?
The Not-So-Single Mom
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