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Wednesday, April 28

Chicken Adventures

So my family and I have made the decision to become chicken owners! Why you ask? Well take a look at the My Pet Chicken websites "10 Great Reasons to have Chickens"-- they make a great argument!

Great-Tasting, Nutritious Eggs
We all love our dogs, cats and fish, but do they actually produce something edible? Or pay their own way? Chickens do, and once you've dined on their eggs you'll never reach for a dozen in the supermarket again. They're so much more flavorful, in no small part because you'll eat them when they're only minutes or hours old, not weeks or months. You'll even see the difference in the yolks, which are a healthy orange - not the pale yellow you're used to.
Plus, you can feel good about the organic eggs you'll be feeding your friends and family. All it takes to get organic eggs is organic chicken feed! Research shows that chickens allowed to roam freely and eat grass lay eggs that are higher in Omega-3 fatty acids and Vitamin E and at the same time lower in cholesterol than store-bought, too. (Think of your hair and skin...)
Chickens Have Personality Galore -- Seriously!
Each chicken has their own completely unique quirky, kooky and endearing personality. They're stunningly beautiful too, parading around in a variety of colors, patterns, shapes and sizes. You'll name them, spoil them with treats, and pick them up and hug them any chance you get.
Get One Step Closer to Sustainable Living
Do you find it disconcerting how far removed we all are from the animals and plants we need to survive? How our fast-paced lives and ever-increasing demands are trashing the planet that sustains us? Believe it or not, keeping a few chickens in your backyard equates to taking a stand against all this. Read more about sustainable living with chickens
A Healthy Lawn without the Chemicals
Chickens LOVE to range freely, and allowing them to do so kills the proverbial two birds with one stone: they'll eat any garden pest they can get their beaks on (earwigs, grubs, beetles, even moles) and they'll turn it all into treasure in the form of fertilizer. Say goodbye to toxic, costly pest control solutions and wasteful bags and bottles of store-bought fertilizer. Chickens will even cut down on the amount of mowing you do because they love to eat grass. That's right -- you sit in a lounge chair with your mint julep while they do the hard work for you.
One Man's Unappealing Leftovers are another Chicken's Feast
Chickens can eat almost anything people can, and they adore "people food" -- so you can throw those unwanted leftovers into the chicken run. No more feeling guilty about letting them rot in the fridge or throwing them out! Watch out for the garlic and onion, though, unless you want your eggs tasting funny.
A Balanced Compost Pile
Composting is a wonderful way to reduce your ecological footprint, and a nitrogen-rich compost pile is a healthy compost pile. What better to provide the nitrogen than chicken poo? Eggshells are a great addition, too, especially in areas where there's lots of clay in the soil. At the end of the composting process you'll have "black gold" soil, so called because it's so rich and fertile.
Handy Leaf, Weed, and Grass Clipping Removal
Leaves, weeds and grass clippings are a treat for Gallus gallus domesticus. They'll happily dig through whatever you give them, eat what they can, and pulverize the rest. Give a small flock a heap of yard and garden debris and a week later it'll be gone without a trace. No need to bag it and pile it by the curb!
Save a Chicken from a Factory-Farm Life
If you're aware of conditions in factory farms, even in some of the so-called "free range" farms, we needn't say more. If you're not, please research it. Factory farming is terrifyingly cruel. The good news is that by keeping a few pet chickens of your own, you're reducing the demand for store-bought eggs and sending a message to those factory farms that you don't want what they're selling.
The Very Definition of Low-Maintenance
Chickens don't need to be walked, brushed, or fed twice a day. Essentially all you have to do is gather eggs daily, fill their food and water containers a couple of times a week and change their bedding once a month! (For more on chicken care, take a peek at our free chicken care guide.)
Be the Coolest Kid on the Block
Despite their many merits, backyard chickens are still relatively uncommon. Wow neighbors, friends and family by being the first person they know to have chickens. Amaze them with the green eggs from your Ameraucana hens. Confound them by scooping up your pet chicken and cuddling it. Astound them when your chicken falls asleep in your arms after you've lovingly stroked its comb and wattles. Make them green with envy at the lawn your flock has made effortlessly fabulous.
Chickens are, after all, the most "chic" pet you could possibly have. And we think it's time everyone knew.
So I don't know if I will be stroking any waddles any time soon, but I am still really excited to give this a try! My husband came home with the chicken coop he built today. He's a handy guy-- take a look. He saw a picture of a coop he liked just yesterday, and today he came home with this! Do you have any suggestions on how to paint it? I am thinking perhaps white with green trim-- not sure though. Then I think I might get some flower boxes and pretty it up!
On the side shown, is where it opens up to the nesting boxes where they lay the eggs. Reach in and voila! Up on the top level is where they roost and lay their eggs in the nest boxes, then down below via ladder is the play area for them to hang out and have good ole' chicken time.

We have decided on buying 4 chicks from a local chicken breeder. We are going to get 2 Plymouth Barred Rocks and 2 Black Stars. Very unique in coloring if you ask me-- but I guess they are pretty common.

The Plymouth Barred Rocks will look like this when grown:
 And this is a Black Star Chicken when full grown:

If you would like to follow us on our chicken adventure, check back every now and again for updates! And if you have a chicken page of your own, leave a comment with the url-- I would love to visit! 

Also-- Grab my new Chicken Adventures button and post it on your blog!


April 24th and 25th--
We painted the coop today to match our house-- a nice page sage-y color with white trim.  The oldest chitin- not chicken, helped paint the coop and she was extremely helpful with the trim and small spaces. 
The husband put the finishing touches on the coop including; the roofing to keep out moisture, the sides complete with hinges, the cord to lift and lower the ladder to and from the run underneath, a thermometer for easy temperature viewing, some pavers for the underneath run, and lastly the pine shavings for the upstairs part of the coop. 
It all went well with little issue! Here are some pictures of the process and the finishing touches!

April 27th 2009--
So we officially have our chickens! Four cute pullets aged about 8 weeks old. Two Black Stars and two Plymouth Barred Rocks. They were a bit tired yesterday from the trek home and nervous from the new people and circling canines, but they seem to have adjusted pretty well now! This evening, after a full day and a half of basically hanging out upstairs in the roost, they have seemed to acclimate and come down. Even with the dogs around! They seemed to acclimate so well, that they wouldn't/couldn't make their way up the ladder to their beds for the night. With a little coaxing and nudging, husband finally got them in their rightful places. We would rather them be safe in the upstairs, than in the bottom portion in the coop at night. We will see how lenient we get with that.

Also my handy husband was back at it today-- He made a fan from a solar panel he had laying around. I attached a picture of a solar panel fan to provide air flow throughout the coop-- hopefully it should help in the out weather that is coming soon!

Here are some pictures of our newest additions. We haven't named the foursome, but we have some ideas-- Maude, Lucy, Ethel, and Estelle. What do you think?


One Love Mama on April 28, 2010 at 5:34 PM said...

We are dying to have chickens. Your coupe is very very nice, I forwarded this to my Hubby!!

Katie on April 28, 2010 at 5:58 PM said...

i just commented on the cheese post, but i have to mention animal, vegetable, miracle again! i loved reading about their adventures with chickens.

also, you chose a fabulous color for the coop!

tree on April 28, 2010 at 6:31 PM said...

i love your new chicken coop! Wow! i've had chickens for about 5 years now, and love them. They are so much fun. We had 3 new baby peeps hatch out just a couple days ago. i look forward to following your adventures.

BlogBloggers on April 29, 2010 at 8:42 AM said...

Hey I have read what you wrote. That's a awesome article and I found the article very helpful. Thanks for sharing such a wonderful article on the blog. I found that my article/blog post here on which is Building a chicken coop at is really on the subject let me know what you think about it?

The Penny-Pinching Mama on April 30, 2010 at 4:39 AM said...

They are cute! Are you naming them after the golden girls?

We're not allowed to have chickens in our neighborhood. :(

Finley and Oliver on May 3, 2010 at 9:30 AM said...

No way! That is so funny that you have four girls of your own. Aren't they a blast? I'm looking forward to following your chicken adventures. Hope you and your family are doing well! ~Grace

Finley and Oliver on May 3, 2010 at 9:31 AM said...

And I just noticed their names - love! We have a Lucy too :)