Wednesday, May 06, 2009
(Golden Sebright bantam, pic from MyPetChicken.com)
I ordered my first ever baby chicks today! They should be here sometime during the week of 18 May. I can’t wait! I’ve wanted to have chickens most of my life and finally decided to take the plunge and just do it! Unlike most hatcheries, My Pet Chicken will allow you to order a very few chicks at a time, the more rural your area, the more you have to order. I ordered ten chicks, the minimum for my location. They allow you to mix and match and I ended up with five different varieties. I ordered two different standard-sized varieties and 3 bantam varieties. That’s more chickens than I really wanted but with mortality rates and any surprise roosters that will need to be re-homed, I’ll probably end up with a smaller flock. If I do end up with all ten, that will be alright too!
When I was in elementary school I had a good friend who lived on some acreage in the woods along the Manassas River in Virginia. I used to love to go stay at her house over the weekend. They always had the most diverse menagerie of animals out there. Lots of fowl; I remember geese, chickens, quail and pheasants, plus they had a pig and a goat and lots of dogs and cats. I loved it! My friend had the chickens. They were all different strange varieties and would free-range. We’d have to gather them up in the evening and lock them in their coop. I know my love of chickens grew from those experiences.
I spent twenty years living on an acre of land outside the city limits and always wanted to have chickens out there, which would have been perfect. Unfortunately my then husband thought chickens were nasty and wouldn’t go for it. My ex-boyfriend lives on 55 acres in upstate New York and I figured I’d have chickens up there. After we broke up I decided I was done waiting for someone else to make the chicken thing work out! One of my goals for 2009 is to have some chickens and now I’m on my way!
I live in town so I’m just having hens, no roosters. Actually, I’m not sure I’d have roosters anyway as I’m not all that crazy about the crowing myself! I’ve been browsing around the Garden Girl website and checking out her plans for a chicken tractor (a movable chicken run) that fits on top of a raised bed. You stick your chickens in there and they scratch and poop and generally help your soil a bit and then you move them over to the next raised bed. The Garden Girl has twelve identical raised beds and keeps the chickens on each bed for one month before moving them along to the next bed. I’m thinking more like four beds with the chickens on each bed for three months at a time.
Once the babies get here they will go in a brooder box for about a month before they are ready for the yard. I’m picturing them free-ranging in the backyard during most days and going into the chicken tractor at night. Now if I can just get the pug to love them and be transformed into Chicken Pug – Defender of the Flock! Can’t you just picture it?!
Do you have chickens? Any advice for me?