I wasn’t aware of all the questions and buzz that was going around with family and friends regarding the new additions to our family – OUR CHICKENS! Part of the reason why I created this blog was so they could follow the progress of our coop and that questions would be answered, not created. I LOVE to talk about coops and everything chicken so I look forward to talking to anyone who is remotely interested. I almost fell out my booth at dinner with friends one night when one of my friend’s sister asked what breeds of chickens I was getting. “You know chicken breeds?!”, I asked. And she did! What an unexpected surprise! I even received a FaceTime call from my mother in law and her coffee friends because they wanted to see my coop via video conferencing even though they lived 1 1/2 hours away. It was like a virtual coop tour. How fun! Based on some of the questions that have been relayed to me, I will try and answer the “biggies”.
#1 Why are you getting chickens?
There are a few reasons why I personally wanted chickens. One, I think they are fascinating animals. Not many animals can turn tossed out food, bugs, grass, etc into a delicious, edible egg. Second, chicken social behavior is so prolific that it permeates into our human culture and language. Think of all the terms and phrases that come from chickens: Hen pecked, cooped up, nest egg, don’t count your chickens before they hatch, flew the coop, rule the roost, chicken scratch, like a chicken with its head cut off, spring chicken, to name only a few. I want to see and experience this all first hand. Third, I want my children to have a closer connection with where their food comes from. The chicken we buy at the grocery store isn’t just the meat we put into our cart and take home to put in the freezer. It is a living breathing animal. The final reason, and a little more selfish, is that I just want them. My children are getting older and I have more time to do things I like, that I choose. It will be my new hobby.
#2 You aren’t going to have a rooster. How will you get eggs?
You don’t need a rooster for a hen to have eggs. You need a rooster if you plan on having chicks. Hens lay eggs normally every 25 hours with or without a rooster. My county ordinance does not allow roosters so that is the main reason I am not getting one. If I could have a rooster and planned on having unsupervised free range time, I would get a rooster to protect my hens.
#3 Where are you getting your chickens?
Well….. I know I can grab chicks at our local Tractor Supply Company but the variety is lacking. I have spent a year researching what it takes to have chickens and with that comes a lot of information on breeds. I wanted to make sure that I purchased breeds that are calm, friendly, good layers and good with children. I know that just like people, there are all kinds and just because they say the breed is one way doesn’t mean that I won’t get a mean bird. You can purchase a Labrador retriever which is normally a friendly dog and every so often come across a mean one. But in general, I went with breeds I felt comfortable that they would meet my needs. I ended up ordering 6 chicks from Meyer Hatchery in Ohio. I will discuss the breed choices in my next post.
#4 How are the chicks getting to your house from Ohio?
They are being mailed. Yes, mailed via the United States Postal Service. My chicks will be born on April 28th, sexed (determine who are pullets (girls) and who are cockerels (boys), placed in a box, and overnight mailed to our local post office. Once they arrive at the post office, they will call me to pick them up. Right before chicks are hatched from their eggs, they absorb the yolk from inside the egg so they are able to live without eating and drinking for up to 72 hours. They ship as few as 3 after March 31st with a long lasting heating pad and the other friends in the box to keep warm until they arrive. I know that I pay more for the overnight shipping versus just picking up what is on hand locally but I am willing to pay a little more for what I want.
#5 Chickens are high maintenance!
Actually, they shouldn’t be. They are supposed to be less maintenance than a dog. I know, I know, I am not an expert here because I haven’t raised them yet but all my research says they are low maintenance. Once you know that your coop and enclosed run is predator proof, you can leave the coop door open, leave Saturday ensuring they have enough food and water and return Sunday. I can’t say I can do that with my dogs.
#6 What are you going to do with all the poop?
Compost it and use it in my garden. And my neighbors’ gardens. And maybe sell some. Anybody want to buy some chicken manure?
Do you still have questions that were not answered? If so, leave a comment and I will answer to the best of my ability!