Chicken Keeping – What was I thinking!

08Jun12
Buster the Rooster

Buster the Rooster. Protector of the flock!

Chicken Keeping – What was I thinking!

It all started with 6 little chicks – 2 New Hampshire reds, 2 black Austalorps and 2 Golden Comets.  I thought I was going to be a first class chicken keeper.  A friend gave me “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens.”  I was set.  I had all the information I needed and a small cage to put them in.  I calculated that I had about 8 weeks to get a coop built.  My kind and generous husband volunteered.

I searched the internet for low cost chicken coops since I didn’t know how long or what kind of farm I wanted to have.  I found some great ideas on using old pallets and reclaimed wood.  I wanted something eclectic for my little flock.  When I shared this information with my husband, he had other ideas.  He had some left over building materials from when he built his house.  He found some old linoleum in storage.  After everything was gathered, he ordered tin for the roof and the construction began.  I ended up with a much nicer coop for my chickens that I had imagined.  Thank you for the wonderfully nice coop, Jackie.  I do appreciate it.  My chicken keeping had begun.

This is the second go around of yound birds I have raised.  My teenagers.

I might have overdone my purchase of chicks this spring. 6 Dominiques, 10 Ameraucana’s and 6 Golden Laced Wyandottes.

Jackie had other ideas about how many chickens we should have and showed up with an incubator and 18 eggs from a friend.  They hatched at 80% and we had more chickens moving into the coop.  It turned out we had 5 roosters.  We had way too many chickens for me.  So we decided to keep one rooster and sold the rest.  Buster has been a good protector of the flock.  I have lost half of my chickens to the wild life in the area.  We had a fox take a few and a pair of hawks has taken the rest.  I know now that I need twice as many as I thought if I am going to let them free range.  I have had enough eggs to sell and supply my family.  I have sold enough to pay for the feed so I think I have done well.  The eggs are delicious and have very dark yolks from the foraging.  I am having a hard time deciding if I should continue to let them free range or if I should keep them in the run all day.  They eat a lot more feed when they are locked up all day but, I don’t lose any hens to the wild life either.  So I am really torn.

See their distinctive Feathers?

Dominiques have black and white striped feathers

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