Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Here, Chicky, Chicky

Today was a crazy chicken day, so I thought I would share our journey into being the proud parents of 20 chickens.  With seven children, we eat our fare share of eggs.  We originally wanted 18 chickens, but when you are ordering chicks, they recommend ordering a couple extra because a few usually die.  Not on my watch they don't.  We successfully kept them all alive and it has been an exciting journey ever since.  We had an unusually cool and rainy spring and keeping them in the garage didn't seem safe.  They require a very warm spot, so we put them in my craft room.  No one warned me just how messy these tiny little peeps could be. 

We were supposed to keep them in doors for at least 4 months in the big box that was given to us by our local ranch and feed supply store.  His mother was a chicken farmer and he proved to be full of information about how the chickens would behave.  He had never dealt with our chickens though.  By the middle of July, they were very brave and adventuresome and decided that they wanted to broaden their horizon's.  However, their horizon's included my fabric and scrap-booking supplies and there was no way these poopy peeps were going to be taking over my craft room.  So, the construction of the chicken coop began.  We had a family friend that was willing to build our beautiful coop for us and we were so excited when it was finished.  Despite being warned that they were too young to be outside in a coop and chicken yard, we none the less moved them into their new home.  I put a space heater in their coop for keeping them warm and we put up a short wood barrier in their yard so their sweet little bodies couldn't just jump through the chain links in the fence.  They loved their new found freedom and all of them are still alive and even a few of them have started producing eggs.  We are waiting for the rest to start earning their keep as well. 

The peeps have now grown into very proud hens and they are still adventuresome.  They have learned to fly the coop and with each journey more chickens seem to catch on and they have upped their escape times.  So, today, after chasing down a chicken on three separate occasions- before lunch, the kids and I decided to clip their wings.  I am a born and bred city girl, so I was very unsure at first if we were going to be able to do this.  Several of the children are pro chicken catchers (one of them is my 3 year old daughter), so they caught them, I clipped them and we had them all grounded in no time at all.  We had a great time and now the chickens only get to come out and play when we let them out.  They had flown the coop so often that I even found an egg under a tree as I was raking a couple of weeks ago.  Clipping their wings was easy and the kids had a great time.  Our own version of "Chicken Run". 

The kids line up their chairs in the chicken yard so they can watch the chickens.

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