Chicken Farming

Well, finally our dream of having our own chickens has come to life! Even though we have only had our 4 hens for about a week and a half, it has been quite the adventure that is for sure. Some things have been a tad more difficult than we expected, but it is totally worth it watching our cute little chickens walk around, catch bugs, and play in the sand. Oh, and of course opening the roost door to find fresh eggs! Totally worth it.

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When our coop first arrived! All clean, new, and shiny! Quickly to change upon the hen’s arrival.

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Welcoming the girls to their new home! Such strange little critters. They look like dinosaurs.

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Me giving the chickens some scrap lettuce from our garden as a treat! They LOVE lettuce. That is their favorite treat. Well of course other than bugs. But, lettuce is a close second.

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Here are the girls in their more permanent home! To get the house here it took quite a bit of work. Dad, Cody, and Kevin had to tear out an old concrete slab and haul off the pieces. Then dad had to move the coop from down by the garden all the way to this spot. We filled in the caged part of the coop with sand and then Dad and Cody laid down new sod all around the coop. Then we needed to get a fence rigged up around the sod so we could let the girls out to eat on the grass and bugs without being bothered by nearby predators such as hawks, bobcats, coyotes, coons, opossums, house cats, dogs, etc. So, Dad and Cody rigged up a temporary fence around the coop so we can let the girls out, but keep the predators away until we figure out exactly how we want the permanent fence built. Once the permanent fence is built, we are going to work on a run so that they can access even more grass and bugs.

As much as we wish they could be completely 100% free-ranging, pasture raised chickens, we know it just can’t happen with where we live and the stage of life we are in right now with Taylor and me still in school and Mom and Dad having jobs. But, we are doing the best we can with what we have and where we are. We are trying to be as supplemental as possible with giving them feed, and when we do feed them it is only organic, NON-GMO feed and the homemade feed Mom and I put together. We also give them some of our oregano from my garden that we dried at the beginning of the summer as a natural antibiotic. We also feed them kitchen scraps such as lettuce, strawberry ends, squash, and watermelon rinds for treats. All of this is in addition to their daily all you can eat buffet of grass and bugs. With the hay in the roosting area, we have added in lavender clippings from my lavender plant into the nesting boxes.

Every day we learn something new and try to improve upon what we already have.

Our daily and weekly chores have changed quite a bit. Our chores now include: opening the roost door in the morning and closing it each night, freshening up their water, feedings, cleaning poop out of the roost and their sand box, raking hay, watering the sod, checking for eggs, and constantly making sure no predator is trying to get them.

We have also had our fair share of mistakes since the chickens’ arrival. Mostly miscommunication issues, but we also bought a bag of feed that was unknowingly infested with weevils. Quite a disturbing sight. That bag was quickly disposed of. My mom also accidently left the gate on the fence open one morning and one of the chickens got out. I had to chase it down and try to corral it back into the pen. That was a difficult task since the girls still aren’t quite comfortable enough yet for us to just pick them up.

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Here is one of the girls working on laying an egg!

Below is the picture of our first two eggs! So egg-citing! Yes, I know that was terrible.

I’m not really sure how many eggs we’ve gotten so far, but we’ve been averaging about two a day. But we did have a day that we got three eggs and we were all pretty pumped. We have a feeling the girls are still getting adjusted to their new home.

It has been an exciting time at the Long’s house, that’s for sure, and we are looking forward to many more exciting times ahead!

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