Friday, April 8, 2011

Chicken Watch!

I'm interrupting our house tour for a pretty exciting development in the family... we're about to have chickens! Let me back up.

My sister Lisa in North Carolina has always wanted backyard chickens, and she decided to go all out and incubate her own eggs first. She's been blogging about the process on Facebook and at this very minute, is watching the eggs "pip" (start breaking their shells). By the end of the weekend she should officially be a chicken mom. Her story of how she got to this point is fantastic... so much so that I wanted to share the journey here. Here's Lisa telling the story from the beginning... I'll run her posts today and all weekend, and will share photos of our new family chicks soon!

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February 27, 2011
Coming soon to our house --- CHICKENS!!!

Yay! So before getting pregnant with Liam we tossed around the idea of getting a small flock of egg-laying hens but got a bit sidetracked for obvious reasons. But now the time has come!!! A few weeks ago with the help of lots of family we acquired a great old coop for FREE off of Craigslist! Getting it from the other side of Jordan Lake back to our house was not easy. * Thank you Mike, Lane, Grandpa Miller, and Dad! * And anyone who saw us driving that wide load through town definitely thought we were crazy. But we got it here in one piece! It needs lots of fixin up and we have to build a big run so it'll be a while still before we actually get any chickens, but as of today we have made progress!!! Will (with a lot of help from my dad) cut down probably 6 smallish trees where the run will go and got them all cut up for firewood! We've still got more clearing out to do and building the run is not going to be that easy but I love to see progress! Oh yeah, and we still have to somehow roll the coop from its current home right beside our driveway down to the edge of the woods where it will live. That is not going to be easy at all! I am very nervous about that part! But I have faith we will get it there - and then the fun coop renovation can begin! I have big plans for my little coop and cannot wait to get some little chickies to join our family! If any of you fb'ers have experience with chickens feel free to bring on the suggestions! I will keep y'all posted on our progress!

So here's the coop as it is now and a not-so-friendly visitor that came to check it out today. I think it knows a little too much. It goes without saying that predator-proofing is at the top of our list for the coop and run!!!


March 17, 2011
***Chicken Update***

Oh yes. There is a lot of chicken related excitement at our house!!!!!!

First off, we've spent the last few weekends working very hard at clearing the spot for the run. This involved clearing quite a few trees, years of brush and piles of leaves, and of course briars. Grrrr. But we had fun doing it! Will bought a burn barrel so we could safely burn lots of the brush which was very fun for some reason and Liam became our rock collector carefully removing a dump truck full of big ol' quartz chunks! And we got it done! It looks great! Our future chicken run is all laid out and ready to go. Well... kind of.

Next bit of excitement --- I bought an incubator!!! Why just buy chicks when you can hatch them from eggs!!!! This way I'll be their little chicky mama from the very start! And, with such a small flock they will never need to be vaccinated or fed medicated feed and will be fed with organic feed from the very start! But I have to say, the excitement of getting to hatch my own chicks is overtaking all the smart and healthy reasons at the moment! Anyway, my super awesome incubator came in yesterday and now my eggs are on the way! So, my first try at hatching eggs will include the following breeds: Large Fowl Cochins (all different colors!), Blue Laced Red Wyandottes, Welsummers, Black Copper Marans, Orpingtons, and Sussex!!! And, possibly a couple of Silkies as well - we'll see! See pics below.

Oh no, the excitement doesn't stop there!!! Today - MAJOR PROGRESS!!! With the help of Lane and Dad we moved the coop into position!!! And they did it the old fashioned way. Using 1 log and 2 round posts they rolled that sucker down our yard and into its new home on top of good ol' cinder blocks. And I think it shocked all of us just how smoothly it went! I am so excited! Now we can get moving on fixin' it up and building the run. LOTS, LOTS, LOTS to do but we are well on our way. And we better get moving, because in just a few weeks, we'll have CHICKS!!!!!! They'll have to be in the house with us for a while until they're big enough, but it won't be too long 'til they'll be ready to go out to their new home! So we better get busy!!!

Our little helpers

Yay! My coop!

The coop and future run.

The crew

And now... THE CHICKENS!!!!

This is a Gold Laced LF Cochin.

A Silver Laced Cochin. So pretty!
 
Look at those fluffy butts! Not pictured are blue and splash Cochins, but you get the idea. They are great big fluffy chickens with feathery legs and are known for being very sweet and friendly!!!

This is a Blue Laced Red Wyandotte. Gorgeous!

Black Copper Marans - famous for being great layers of very dark brown eggs!

Orpingtons. Big fluffy chickens also known for their wonderful dispositions. Mine will be black and/or lavender (depending on what hatches).

Welsummers. Really great egg laying chickens that also have nice, dark eggs!

Sussex. Mine will be either Coronation, Light (shown) or a split of the two. Aren't they beautiful!?!

And a silkie. Not sure if I will be adding a couple to my batch yet but aren't they the cutest chickens you have ever seen!?!? Haha - I think I just need to have one for the fun of it. This is the only picture not from the actual breeding stock of eggs I will be receiving.

Next update will be the eggs goin' in the bator and *hopefully* progress on framing out the run!!!

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Maggie again. You're hooked now, aren't you? Also, don't you think my sister needs to start a backyard chicken blog? Just wait until you see the eggs!

7 comments:

  1. So, the villa where we stayed in Florence had all sorts of chickens, and we had fresh eggs every morning. It was divine. Mama has been ruminating on hens for a few years now, and I think it pushed her over the edge. Now just to convince my city-raised daddy, and to teach Dixie not to eat chickens. . .

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  2. LOVE seeing the chickens! They're so cute!

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  3. I love it. ALL of my neighbors have chickens, I feel so left out sometimes ;-)

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  4. I would love to have hens one day! My great aunt and uncle in England do and one of my favorite things about visiting them (besides tea in the afternoon! actual tea!) is fresh eggs for breakfast. They are so delicious!

    What does your sister plan to do if any of the chicks are male? Do they go back to the breeder?

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  5. So cool! What a neat idea. I can't wait to see how this develops!

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  6. Awesome! Can't wait to see the little chickies!

    And I so want chickens someday.

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