Thursday, May 23, 2013

Chickens

This is the story of a boy and his chicken
We started raising chickens last year and I have to tell you they are the best pets EVER. They stay outside, you feed/water them once a day, they make wonderful fertilizer for the garden, they weed the garden and you get fresh eggs.  What other animal will do your gardening chores? And if you really never tried a fresh egg, you really must, its wonderful! 

To start your chicken adventure, you really only need a storage container, heating lamp and bulb, bedding, food and water. Local animal feed shops carry day-old female chicks and all the material to start your urban farm. You can also order chickens and chicken materials online. 

It is very important to make sure you select the right breed of chicken for you. We go for the gentle tempered breeds so that the chickens, the kids, and the bunny can all play together peacefully (mostly).  My Pet Chicken actually has a search engine to help you find the right breed. Would you like some chickens and don't know where to start? My Pet Chicken also has a helpful Chicken Care Guide to get you started.

As your chickens grow and start hopping out of the box, you have to get them outside and into housing. I would love to let my chickens roam free, only we have a serious chicken hawk problem. I lost 4 chickens last year to birds of pray. I would say the most difficult and expensive part about chickens is the housing. Recently I've found several people on the internet who re-purposed old children's playhouses into coups, very creative and very easy and less expensive. I wish I thought of that!!!

Urban gardening has become quite popular recently, probably because its very easy and the benefits are so high. You would be surprised how many townships allow chickens! 

This year, our friend gave us some eggs to put under our existing hens to hatch and boy was that fun for the kids, but it drove me crazy. Every day, for 21 days, the kids asked me if the chickens hatched yet. When they finally did (23 days later) we were over the moon with our new little peeps! We decided to do a photo shoot to capture the cuteness!!! Now if I could just get the kids to corporate for their photo shoot as easily as the chicks!