So I've been wanting to try chickens out for a while now...I bought a book called "Keeping Chickens" with Ashley English and I've been following her blog, "Small Measure" about her city girl gone farm girl life. Part of the process is to decide if this was the best thing for our family and my daycare business and if I wanted the added responsibility of taking care of a flock of chickens. As a Mom, I'm not stupid...I KNOW I'm gonna end up being the one cleaning the poop, making sure their fed, etc., just accept this going into it and you'll be less upset later when your kids whine about helping you. Another thing I was concerned about is THE EXPENSE!...this was a big investment in TIME and MONEY. Eggs are pretty cheap now in the store and the amount of money to get us set up as chicken farmers is way more than I'd spend on eggs in a year, maybe even 2 - 3 years! But in the back of my mind I'm always concerned that there will be an egg shortage or that eggs will be contaminated and the thought that we would be able to provide ourselves with disease free eggs should that time come gave me comfort. Our family goal is to be self-sustaining as much as possible and this year we've made a big push to do this with food storage, canning, 72 hour kits and growing a bigger and better garden. Then chickens became TRENDY and the cool thing to do for us urbanites who kind of, sort of live in the country but really don't. When the 101 Dalmatians movie came out everyone ran and got Dalmatians which are a high maintenance breed of dog and a lot of Dalmatians ended up in the animal shelters. I hate following a crowd and so I resisted taking on chickens in the spring when everyone else was doing it...but then I took my Little Chicks Daycare to the Farm Country petting zoo and there she was....a lone little chick...the tail end of the spring hatching blitz...all alone in her large coop...peep, peep, peeping with what to me was a lonely cry for love and attention....and so it was that "PeeP" came home with us in a box. I headed over to the local IFA for supplies and information and so the spending began...$500+ dollars later, we have now have 5 chickens total, ($2 per chick), a chicken coop, ($350), a heat lamp, ($15), pine shavings, ($12.99 for a 12.5 cubic foot bag), a heated water bowl, ($35), a feeder ($16), Chick Starter feed ($15/bag) and not one egg to date! But my babies are only 7 weeks old now and they don't start laying until their older.
Things I learned:
*chickens are expensive! (in the beginning at least) * chickens are dirty * chickens poop all the time
*chickens will eat anything including the bugs out of the garden* chickens have "combs" * I'll be putting Vaseline on their exposed combs to prevent frost bite (who would've thunk?) * My kids love them * My daycare kids love them and come everyday asking to see the chicks * they are a great way for kids to learn about taking care of a pet * I am in love with my baby chicks * my chicks love me, respond to my voice and let me pet and hold them * We won't be buying eggs once they start a layin saving about $5 bucks per month* we will be self sustaining when it come to eggs *
* I'm the farm girl I always dreamed I'd be *
here is what two of my chickens will look like when they grow up...Leghorns are beautiful and are the cutest baby chicks...all soft yellow down...and the kitty in this picture looks like our new kitten...again, a story for another day...my house is once again filled with babies!