Tag / chicken raising

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

Saturday Serenity

This morning I awoke to one of those peaceful and quiet Saturday mornings.  There was a serene calmness about everything outside.  The wild birds were quietly bouncing amongst the branches in the trees.  Neighbors were still sleeping and not even distant cars could be heard zooming past in the background.   The woods surrounding our home are beginning to settle in for the Winter, now the trees are mostly barren of leaves.  The sky was a piercing blue and the sun was shining brightly.  It was one of those mornings where I find myself stealing a peaceful moment away with just me and the girls. I joined them as they were starting to take their morning dust bath.

I quietly observed the girls and their beauty ritual.  I was incredibly happy to find Oyster Cracker finally taking a dust bath after her long and severe molt.  She had it the toughest this year.  Finally, her pale comb had glimpses of red as I discovered her among our Silkies, Feathers, Dolly and Autumn,enjoying a communal dust bath.

 

Autumn

There the four of them were enjoying one another’s company. As three faced one way and Dolly faced the other, dirt was thrown, fluffed and kicked into every feathered nook and cranny all the while eating bits of found goodness from each other’s feathers. Dottie Speckles on the other hand, was content to inquire about my visit and continually interrupt the girls as they were dust bathing.  Sometimes, she is such a bully!

Finally, after spending a spell with the girls, I checked for egg.  In the nesting box, I found broody Fifi sitting on her invisible eggs.  Of course, I would expect no less from my egg detectives.  Dottie Speckles and Sunshine followed me inside the coop.  There were two eggs that I gladly retrieved, still warm in my hand after being laid.

It was nice to steal this morning away with the girls.  Quality alone time is important with any pets you might have.  It is during quiet times like this that you notice behaviors, personalities and what goes on in their minds.  Suddenly, you realize that you are catching a glimpse into the life of a backyard chicken.

Photo Credit:  Tilly’s Nest

Chickens

Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Raising Chickens

Rating ****

This 189 page book was recently released in April 2010.  It is very basic but covers a ton of information.  I love that it has interesting chicken facts laced amongst the text.  These little pearls of useful and whimsical information are great for cocktail parties.

Topics covered in this book include an argument to raise chickens, chicken history and breed information, starting out with chicks, coop and run requirements, growth and development, butchering, health and nuisance control.  Other interesting areas covered are money making, exploring poultry clubs and museums, an organic section, and a section on eating and preserving eggs.

The areas that set this book apart to me are the chapter on raising chickens organically, understanding chickens and making money.  I am not planning on becoming a millionaire selling eggs from my small flock but for those who have room to expand, this chapter definitely gets the wheels turning.  The organic chapter, although very basic, really demystifies what “organic” means in terms of raising chickens.  The industry is sneaky and tries to fool the consumer.  This chapter is one of the best reasons to buy this book.  I also love the chapter on understanding chickens.  It does help to explain why they do the things they do.

Again, I was disappointed with the health section.  It was just too short.  The information is a quick overview at best and would probably help me to realize if there was a problem but no real ways of fixing it.

Overall, this book is a very simply written and easy to read.  You can breeze through this book in a couple of days.  You cannot rely on it entirely for all information that you will need but it is a great place to start.  This is especially true for those who do not have chickens yet.  It might just help you to decide if chickens are right for you.

Chickens Stories from Our Nest

In the beginning…

I became serious about raising chickens this past winter.  I really always was intrigued by them.  I however, was not sure what the necessary requirements were. Like any typical type A person, I read and read and read.  Finally, after talking to numerous people.  I ordered the girls from  http://www.mypetchicken.com/ .   I really had to wait a long time.  I ordered them in February but decided to have them delivered in June after school let out for the summer.  I did this for a few reasons.  One being that I had no where to put them.  Two, that I heard how quickly they grow and did not want my children to miss out.

I can clearly remember the post office frantically leaving 2 messages on my answering machine that day.  It was late June and hot.  I went as quickly as I could to the post office and when I arrived I was handed a peeping cardboard box.  It was about 12″x6″x6″.  I drove so carefully talking to my box all the way in my best Mama hen impersonation. 

When I arrived home, I gently removed the lid and found huddled in the corner six tiny day old chicks.  Eager to meet their new family,  we taught them how to drink and eat and placed them under the heat lamp in soft pine shavings.  We had just met the newest members of our family:  Tilly, Oyster Cracker, Sunshine, Chocolate, Feathers and Peanut Butter.