Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Big Chicken Experiment

Ok in 2012 we finally decided to bite the bullet and get chickens.  Not a big deal to some people but when you live smack dab in the middle of the city, it was a big decision for us.  I've been wanting chickens for a long time but my husband was NOT excited.  I finally talked him into it after promising that the kids and I would take care of everything and he wouldn't have any additional responsibilities.

We went and picked out 4 super cute chicks from the feed store and kept them in a Rubbermaid in my daughter's room.  One died the very first night.  Lots of tears from my daughter who's love for animals knows no bounds.  We went right back to the store and bought another.  After that things went along fine until about 2 weeks later when we lost another chick, our family favorite  :(  My daughter was now beside herself with grief and decided she was maybe not cut out for raising chickens.  Too late now I reminded her  :)  Back to the store for ANOTHER chick.

So my plan was to raise 4 chickens for a year and then slaughter two and buy 2 more chicks. And repeat that every year so we always have young egg laying chickens, and we can eat two a year.  However, I have a good friend who contacted me to see if I wanted a couple of egg laying hens right now.  I thought that would put my plan 6 months ahead of where I was so we added 2 more to our brood.

Now I needed a coop though so I got on Craigslist and found the mother of all city backyard chicken coops. I couldn't resist  lol  You can see how beautiful it is before we added chickens.  It doesn't stay that way long  :)
We also quickly realized that it wasn't nearly big enough.  It was great when the chickens were little but squishing 6 full size chickens into that teeny run was no good so we bought a dog run and attached it to the back to the chickens can go in and out at will.  During the summer we add a tarp to the top.  Since we live in the middle of the city, predators aren't a problem so they have a lot of freedom.

In 2013 we got some fertilized eggs from a friend and put them under one of our chickens that had gone broody.  She hatched all of the eggs.  It was SO awesome!  And the great thing was she took care of them so we didn't have to keep them in the house.  Here she is teaching them how to scratch for food.  Sweetest. Thing. EVER!
Now it's 2014, we are still LOVING our chickens.  We are planning on getting some baby chicks from the feed store again this year because I want to get some Ameraucana chickens who lay blue, green, or pink eggs.  Thinking it might be fun to add some more color to our egg basket.


  1. I am so glad you are blogging again. I wish chickens were allowed in my city.

  2. I found your blog searching for a shelf stable way to store the means for making butter. After getting caught up in some of your other entries, I was sad to see the blog ended..but was equally happy to see it started up again...and with another great entry! Keep on blogging! :-)

  3. Cute coop. I too live in the middle of the city and enjoy 5 chickens. They aren't much work at all.
    We had a broody hen that sat on a dozen fertilized eggs last summer. 6 hatched. It was a blast.
    Your broody hen looks like a Buff Orpington. Beautiful.

  4. Just a heads up - Ameracauna hens do not lay year round, like Buff Opringtons do.

  5. My grandmother loves any kind of bird in existence, it is a gift she has. She currently has over forty chickens on her farm as well. One day we went out to the farm on a very cold night to make sure the heat lamps were all working and that they were well taken care of, and we saw that they were wearing hand knitted sweaters from my darling grandmother. It was so sweet, she said she just couldn't let them freeze. I love you grandmother.
    Cynthia |

    1. Did you take any pictures of the chickens in sweaters ? Would love to see.

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  9. I agree that buying chickens is a great way to start a food storage. You can get both eggs and meat for them. I have chickens and I think there eggs taste better then the store bought ones. Thanks for all the help.

  10. Sometimes baby chicks get little poopy butts. Not kidding here. It'll kill them if they can't poop, so daily check those chicks' little bottoms and if they look poopy wipe them off with a damp paper towel. We had our Americaunas for two years. Had to drown one that developed cross-beak. One was grabbed by a chicken hawk. The rest lived to be hens. Except for one that turned into a rooster. He got really aggressive and we had to kill him. One of the hens got some kind of respiratory thing and died. When one more Hen started to display same symptoms, I bought some chick feed that has antibiotic and made a mash that I fed to all the hens. They loved it and that chicken got well almost overnight. It was an interesting experience but I won't do it again. They made more eggs than we could use (they can be frozen but there's a limit to even that). We were giving eggs away, couldn't seem to find anyone who would pay us any money for the eggs but they were happy to take them for free. Sheesh. Once we figured the cost of the feed and all the other stuff required, I didn't feel like we really saved much. I let them into the garden to eat bugs but they did more damage than good.

    Hope your experiment turned out well.

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  15. did you just build that yourself? great

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