Monday, February 24, 2014


I thought I would share some pictures of the most recent addition to my "garden". 

A. overlooking our "baby" chicks in their recently expanded brooder

Yes, we finally got chickens.  I know, I know, I've been swearing for years and years that I was never going to be one of those crazy ladies on the internet who gets chickens and keeps them in her house and thinks they're soooooo cute and ... and you know what?  They are cute!  Look at this face:

A couple of the Barred Rock chicks (1.5 wks old) sneaking over to check out the camera.

Altogether we have 12, including 3 broilers (chicks raised just for meat) and 9 potential egg layers (at least three of them are supposed to be females).  To give you some idea of how fast they're growing, here is a picture of two of them standing in a baby's snack cup the night that they arrived:

Possibly the same two Barred Rocks, about one day old.

 Questions people ask me about the chicks:

1) How long will they take to grow up?
The broiler chicks are specially bred to grow extremely fast - they're already about twice as big as the others, and should be good to eat between 6-12 weeks old.  The others will grow more slowly; the females won't start laying eggs for about 5 months, so mid-July.  When the males start crowing (I hear about 8 weeks?) their days will be numbered.

2) 12 chicks???!  Where are you to keep them?!
Our hope is to eventually have 3 or 4 laying hens, eat the broilers and the males and sell any extra hens on craigslist.  Since I tried for several months to buy local laying hens on craigslist before conceding that I was just going to have to raise some, I'm hopeful that there is at least one other person out there looking for healthy, happy hens for their backyard.  We have a darn cute little chicken coop in the backyard, nearly ready to go.

3) How long do they live?
The laying hens will start becoming less productive between 18 and 24 months, at which point we'll cull them.

4) Are they hard to take care of?
They regularly throw poop and bedding into their food and water.  They poop everywhere, all the time.  I check on them 3-5 times a day, probably refill the water three times a day and the food once or twice.  It is less work (and slightly less entertaining and much less aggravating) than getting a kitten or puppy.  Of course, if you add in the trouble of building their housing...that's another story.

5) Are you going to kill them yourself?
We're in a tight spot there.  We live on a small house in a suburban area.  Chickens are - ahem - questionably legal here.  My neighbors are not the complaining type, but if one of them looked over the fence and saw us slaughtering a chicken...that might test the bounds of neighborly understanding.  In other words, I'm still working on the exit strategy, but I am willing to kill them myself.  They're pretty cute, though.

A bunch of chickies crowd around the feeder, trying to escape the crazy lady and her flashing light.

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