Friday, February 7, 2014

Why chickens?

Why chickens, you might ask. I don’t know myself. Over the years I have kept about every type of small animal except birds. I thought it would be easy (I was wrong). I thought it would be cheaper than the free range eggs in the store (OH BOY, WAS I WRONG!). More about egg prices and ‘free range’ marketing on another day.

Anyway, I needed a project, and that was the source of my quest down the rabbit hole. My two sons are grown and ready to fledge out of my home. They don’t need mom hovering constantly. They need to do MAN THINGS, whatever that means to the men in question. However, I have been a mom longer than I haven’t, and I didn’t quite know what to do with all this excess maternal energy I have. Chickens seemed like a harmless substitution. For the most part, it has been an absolute success.

At the end of last April, I brought home two chicks and my oldest son started building mom a coop. We carefully researched breeds that would fall within our specifications: easy to handle, able to tolerate being in a coop, and great egg layers. We had great success using the Breed Selector tool at My Pet Chicken. We settled on Buff Orpingtons. Alas, I had no idea what I was doing. In spite of repeatedly explaining to the feed store owner that I was new to this whole chicken thing, she didn’t explain about dunking the chicks’ beaks in water when I got them home and one died right away. It was smaller than the other and probably would have died anyway. However, this led to my first experience with chicken math. I started thinking,- “If I get just one more chick, what if it dies? I can’t have just one chicken… I should get two more.” So off I went the next day to search feed stores for Buff Orpingtons. No such luck. I ended up looking at some Silver Ameracaunas and Barred Rocks. Somehow I ended up in the car holding a box of three… My intended flock of two turned into four literally over night, and that, dear friends, is chicken math.

Meet Feisty (Buff Orpington), Domino (who was supposed to be a Barred Rock but is actually a Silver Lace Wyandotte), and Thing One and Thing Two (Silver Ameracauna mixes)

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