I didn’t sleep very well that night. I was so excited! The day had finally arrived. The day I had been dreaming about. The day I had been planning for. I was getting 6 babies that day. Yes, 6 babies! No, not little bundles of joy, human babies, but another kind of little bundles of joy…baby chickens.
I found a hatchery a couple hours from where we live. They have all types of breeds and they were helpful in talking to me and educating us on what would work well for us and how to get started. You see, when I start a new adventure, I always have a lot of questions. I want to jump right in, but I also want to know a little bit of what I’m getting into, learning the rest as I go (which is the best way to learn anything).
I tied our small dog out on her leash, so I could use her carrier to bring the chicks home in. I purchased some straw and laid some carefully in the pet carrier. I had already purchased a watering container (which I have since changed out). I also had purchased a container to hold their food (which I no longer use). Like I said, learning as I go along.
My husband, our daughters, and I were on our way. I think I talked about everything and nothing all the way. I don’t think anyone was truly listening to me. Needless to say, I was excited!
There were so many chicks…after all it was a hatchery (smile). The owner explained to us that golden comets would be a good starting breed for us and that they are good egg producers. They have been great, but again, learning as I go, I want to experiment with other breeds next time around. I have learned that raising chickens is not hard. So why not mix up the chickens and the color of the eggs as well.
Okay, back to picking up the baby chicks. We put 6 in the pet carrier, paid for them and headed home. Well, we stopped for ice cream…a deserved treat for everyone putting up with me and the adventure of the day. The chicks chirped the most beautiful music. Nothing on the radio could compare that day (not even my beloved 80’s music).
Once we were home, I placed the chicks in their new home, a chicken mansion, as some have jokingly called it. (More on the coop made of re-purposed material another time.) I placed chicken starter food and water in the coop with them. The were approximately two weeks old when we got them, and I kept them in the coop for the next few weeks, to keep them safe and help them grow.
Then the day came when I opened the coop door and let the chicks explore the outside (we have a fenced area for them). I moved their food and water containers outside (where they have remained). I slowly started introducing food scraps to the chicks. They were growing and becoming ladies now. I began with scraps left over from making salads: lettuce, carrots, celery. I quickly learned that they loved strawberry tops and tomatoes. Do they have a preference for the color red? When they see me coming, they all run toward the fence and excitedly wait for me. It’s like I’m their favorite person in the world.
Watching and listening to the ladies is entertainment. They scratch around, take dust baths, and ‘talk’ to each other. On a cool day, when I have the house windows open, I can hear them lay their eggs. Cluck, Cluck, Cluck, Cluuuuuuuk! It amazes me how they ‘tell time’. They go into the coop, like clockwork, around the same time every night. We then close the coop door to keep them safe through the night. The next morning, I open the coop door, give them food and water, and that’s it until mid afternoon.
Whether you raise chickens as pets or as part of the farm to table movement, I believe they can enrich your lives.