Our Little Flock

It has been quite a while since I have posted about my little backyard flock of chickens. We have been incredibly busy at the ranch but now that deer season is over I feel like things are slowing down. Cody bought me my chickens back in August of last year (has it really been that long ago?!) and I have enjoyed watching them grow so much! They should be laying next month and I am excited to finally have our own eggs.

I kept my chickens in a cattle feed bucket for a few weeks while Cody was building my coop. I have to say, he did a fabulous job getting it done in a hurry. After the coop was built in the backyard I moved my chicks into it and let them spread their wings and run around. They loved it! I left them in the coop for about a month before opening the door to let them be free range. I didn’t feel that they were big enough before that point, and I wanted them to know that the coop was their home. I had so much anxiety about opening the door for the first time and letting them run out, but they thankfully stayed close to the house.

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I sat outside with them for a few hours the first day just because we have an outside cat, Ollie. I had no idea how he would react to them. He put the stalk on my roosters a few times, but turns out he is scared of them! As soon as the rooster would turn around Ollie would run off. I am so glad I don’t have to worry about the cat trying to eat them; they get along just fine now.

I started off with 10 hens and 2 roosters, and unfortunately I lost a few. One night I didn’t get home in time to shut the door on my coop and my chickens had been scared out of it. I hunted them down in the dark for about an hour. I was able to find all but 3 of them. This happened twice, leaving me with a total of 5 chickens ate. I can’t even tell you how sad it made me! Cody went out every night for about two weeks to try and shoot any fox or raccoons in the area. In that short amount of time he shot over 25 raccoons around our house. I couldn’t believe we had that many, causing a threat to my flock. Since then, I have not lost a chicken and we haven’t seen any more varmits around the house.

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Because I lost so many, Cody and I decided that we needed to get a few more chickens to add to our flock. After having a dozen and then only having seven, my coop just seemed empty. I began searching for buying chicks online but wasn’t sure if it was worth the hassle. Thankfully, our local town has something called ‘Trading on the Radio’, or Tradio on the Radio, and a man was advertising some chickens for sale! I visited and picked out six more hens. They are about half grown, so it will be a while before they will lay any eggs. They are speckled in color and I know when they get full grown they will be a pretty addition to my flock! I was very specific in knowing I didn’t want just plain colored chickens- I want a variety of hens in the yard.

For now my new hens are separated from the rest of the flock. Because birds have a pecking order I need my old birds to get acquainted with my new ones before mixing them in the bunch. So far they have checked each other out but it seems as though they will get along just fine. My new birds seem to like the extra room they have at their new home and I have a feeling they are getting more nutritious food from me as well.

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I still have so much to learn about chickens but I am so happy to have the time at home to look after them. Josie loves to go outside and watch the chickens come running up to us. It won’t be very long before she is chasing after them herself. If you are contemplating getting a flock yourself, I highly recommend it. They have been quite entertaining and have provided lots of happiness in just this short amount of time.

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We Got Chickens!

I have some exciting news to share! Friday afternoon Cody surprised me with my first little flock of chickens. This has been a long time coming and I am so excited to begin this little journey of raising chicks. For as long as we have been married (three years this November), I have been bugging Cody about having poultry.

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Cody got our chicks from Tractor Supply during their fall chick days. We got set up with all that we need from a heat lamp, to feed, and pine shavings. Cody found a rubber feed barrel in the barn and it is the perfect spot to keep them the first few weeks! I have been reading as much as I can about caring for baby chicks and it seems relatively simple. Chicks must maintain a temperature of 95 degrees, have plenty of food and water, and be in a safe place.

I am currently looking at designs for my chicken coop on Pinterest. This has been so overwhelming! Did you know that some people wallpaper their coops and add chandeliers?! I was planning on having a simple coop, but now my mind is spinning with ways to make this coop as chic as possible. Right now though I am just focused on getting it built; the decorating will be a fun process I can take my time on.

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I am already looking forward to six months from now, harvesting my first eggs. Everyone that I have talked to has let me know that chickens can be quite the addiction once you get them established. Of course I know that they will require some work, but I believe the pay out will be well worth it. I have always imagined my little girl growing up on a farm-this is the start to that little dream.

If you have any tips or coop designs please let me know! I am definitely a newbie to chickens, so I need all the information I can to get off on the right start. Hopefully soon I can blog my chicken coop!