April 15, 2016

Introducing Fresh from the Coop: A New Adventure in Chickens

Isn't it funny how the very things that we laugh about and point fingers at and say "I'm soooo not going to do that!" end up coming around and grabbing us later? I have loved being on the farm. I have had to learn about heavy equipment, John Deere, all things cattle related, and the country life. But the one thing I knew I never wanted to do was...chickens. I was fine buying our eggs from a local person. Let them deal with all the hassle. Not me. Then one day the boys and I went into Tractor Supply, not knowing they had their early shipment of chicks and ducklings...


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It all started like any other day of errands. The boys and I were just out and about. I decided I needed to pop in at Tractor Supply to pick up some diatomaceous earth for my garden. The boys and I meandered through looking at all the plants (I really wanted a raspberry plant) on our way back to the feed section. And then we heard it..."peep peep".

We couldn't resist the call and so we went to check it out and there in the back were brooders FULL of baby chicks and ducklings. Oh my. So adorable. I snapped a picture of the cute ducklings and sent a text to my hubby about the chicks and ducklings being so cute.

Imagine my surprise when Love-Of-My-Life sent me back a text that said: “Any layers?” I peered in the bins looking at their tags—me in my cluelessness only could tell him what they said. “Yes. Three breeds”.  Then I looked closer. Only one of the bins said they were sexed. I didn’t know a lot about chickens, but I knew what THAT meant. (snicker) So I told him that there was one bin that were sexed as pullets (clueless what this meant at the time) but were various breeds. Then he asked “how much?” So I told him.

Imagine my surprise when he says "let's get them."

Excuse me?

We have always avoided owning them, because well, we've been able to get eggs for about $1.50 a dozen from various chicken owners in the area. But lately, there was an egg shortage and we were buying organic pasture raised eggs at $6.99/dozen and that's a bit harsh on our budget. Our garden is started now too, and chickens are known for keeping your bugs down.

Anyways, I decided that it didn't matter that I was clueless about chickens---I was going to learn. So we left the store and zoomed to Walmart where we found a cute chicken coop. Now again--I'm clueless about chickens so other than saying "is this big enough for 6 chickens?" I decided it would work and we bought it. LOL.

So we returned to Tractor Supply and while waiting for help with the chicks, I started wondering what exactly I needed to bring home with me for these chicks. Um. Yeah. Totally clueless...but I figured they needed feed. Yep. Feed. And I remembered something called grit. But uh. Other than that, clueless. I called my hubby and he said not to get anything, because he was pretty sure we had some things at home up in the barn loft. So we got our six chicks and began our adventure...
diving for chicks LOL

a box of fuzzballs
And here are the ladies for you to meet...
Hannah (named for my niece of course)

Shy Lacey

Jenny--the oldest based on her feather advancement

Sweetie Pie

Pretty Penny

Racing Striped Jessie Quick (yes, like on Flash!) and the baby of the bunch
We did a DIY brooder--just a big cardboard box lined with old piano music and topped with fine sawdust. We added in a lamp from our bedroom to be their heat source. A bowl for water. And a bowl for feed--actually an old egg carton to start with. Some old Indian artifact rocks for roosting. Covered with cheesecloth. Viola. A brooder. LOL



I have a feeling being a chicken mama is going to be quite the adventure. I've heard a lot of things from my many chicken mama friends--things like chicken TV and chicken math, but they wouldn't tell me anything. Just smiled in a certain way and told me that I would learn soon enough.

And so, I'm going to be bringing you our adventures Fresh from the Coop. Because this mama is sure going to document all of them. I have a feeling they will be many!

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