When I was a little girl our family raised chickens mainly for eggs and fun. We did butcher a few, but found the chicken was tough, because our birds had room to roam and had plenty of muscle from exercise. After that gruesome experience, we quickly realized that collecting eggs and having them for breakfast was much more pleasant and tasty than eating tough chicken meat! When I became an adult, got married and moved to a suburban neighborhood, I always longed for fresh eggs that I could get right out of my own backyard. So, after my husband rebuilt our deck this summer and had a pile of old wood that was in fairly good condition, he suggested building a chicken coop and getting a few chickens. How excited I was to hear these words coming from my husband's mouth! So, after many restless nights full of anticipation and dreaming of my new chickens, my husband got the coop built and we painted it really cute and built a nice little yard for them and then on July 1, 2011, off to a chicken farmer we went to get our prize chickens! We got four: A three month old Blue Cochen, a 5 month old white Americana, a 5 month old Black Copper Maran, and a silly looking mixed breed chicken that was about 6 months old. I did a lot of research on chickens beforehand and one of my main goals was to find 4 chickens that laid 4 different color eggs so that I would know who was laying, who was not, AND BEST OF ALL have a nice array of colored eggs to put in my fridge and share with my neighbors. How exciting and fun this was going to be! As a child I only remember having to let the chickens out in the morning, and lock them up at night, keep their feeder full of food, occasionally throwing out table scraps into their yard to supplement their feed, and sharing fresh eggs with people in our community. So in my mind this chicken business was going to be easy! Well, now I have had my chickens almost two months and am beginning to realize that I have no idea what I am doing. I'm also wondering quite often what I have done! Maybe some of you out there living in a nice little neighborhood are also dreaming of getting chickens like I was or maybe you are like me now and have dove right in, bought your chickens, thinking that this would be easy and are now wondering if you temporarily lost your mind sometime before you got the chickens. So, I am writing this blog to help the new suburban chicken farmer with ideas from learned experiences and to get ideas from you. Also, I want to let the people who are dreaming about suburban chicken farming know the reality of it. While it is fun, I will admit it is a lot more work than I bargained for and I will get into this more as I add to this blog. I am excited about our future of sharing and laughing about our chicken stories!
By the way, did I mention that I found mites on my chickens yesterday? Yes, mites!!! Today I worked most of the morning in hopes of eradicating these tiny, microscopic, heeby jeeby creatures. If my chickens live through the night after using some things I'd have rather not have used on my semi-organic chickens, recommended by a local chicken expert, I will share them with you in my next blog.