Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hey Jeff* - We Got Our Chickens...

Yep, it's been a fowl couple of days. (sorry, I couldn't resist) Ever since we moved out here to the "country" we have been kicking around the idea to try our hand at raising chickens for eggs. I always thought this to be something we would do further on down the line... I mean, I have enough critters to take care of just counting the kids, but this winter I could tell that Isaiah needed a challenge and he asked me if we could get some chickens in the spring. Well, I thought a chicken wouldn't be too bad... maybe 2 or 3 even. We'd see what we could do.

Orscheln began their chick days in March and the pressure was building... we pretty much promised some chickens... we pretty much had an area we could use to house them and free range them... we pretty much knew the kids would enjoy it... and we pretty much didn't know what the heck we were doing.

I went to Orscheln one day without the kids with me (to avoid the guilt trip and begging process... "but look mom, they're so cute! and here's some ducks! oh, look at these brown ones!"... yeah, you know what I'm talking about) and told one of the associates, "Look, I just want to get a couple of chicken to have for eggs only, so what exactly do I need equipment wise in order to make this work?" She gave me a check list and I went home. I returned later to buy a watering can, some feed trays, some chick feed... but no chicks. My excuse was that I was going to let Huston pick them out (it was near his birthday, ya know.)

Well, life got busy and for a week or two not another word was said about the chicken possibility... and yeah, that didn't last too long though before the kids were reminding me that we had everything we needed but something pretty crucial to our chicken rearing success. That's when I got the idea that we should try to incubate some eggs! Sure, that would include some good ol' science for school too! Yep, we'd be killing two birds with one stone. Ok, bad analogy.

I looked into renting an incubator from our local 4H group - they said sure, but not until mid-May cuz they were kinda using them all at the moment. No big deal, we could put this off a little longer.

Mid-May came so I got on-line and found some eggs on ebay. I purchased them and we waited for our science experiment to come to our door.... meanwhile....

A lady at church heard that we were interested in raising chickens and she just so happens to be in the midst of dismantling her small farm. Would we be interested in taking her chickens? Ummmm, sure? I'm still a little intimidated, cuz I don't know what I'm doing! But a few days later, I was bringing these ladies to my home in the back of a borrowed pick up truck.

and now all 6 of them are in our yard.

I think they're kinda pretty. This one's name is Susie. (the boys named her)

Then we've got these black ones (which... they all look the same)

Isaiah, well and the rest of the kids too for that matter, practically lived in the chicken yard that first day. They watched them closely, they followed them around, they smiled and giggled about everything they did (well, er... ummm, not quite everything) but turns out they were really good with them. Isaiah especially, I called him my "chicken whisperer."

Meanwhile, guess what? - the gal has a guinea hen and a rooster she is going to give us at a later date. Sure, why not? Cuz, I know what I'm doing. Really though, our chicken beneficiary has been an excellent resource and we are doing just fine - no mishaps yet! and it's been a whole 4 days!

Meanwhile, remember that order I made, yeah, it came in the first day of chicken ownership. So here are 8 more in the oven. (Notice the chicken information and note taking material on the table too - yes, we're that studious around here.) These are Buff Orpington chickens - they'll grow up to be like Susie, that is if they survive our science experiment.

And last, but not least in this chicken tale is that we not only got eggs in the mail that first day... we got eggs in the hen house too.

Mmmmm... farm fresh eggs. Can you guess what we had for breakfast the next morning?

*Cousin Jeff from Iowa - you were right, we like having chickens.

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