Thursday, September 3, 2015


In mid-June we loaded up in Red (our pickup truck) and headed over to my husband's former boss' house. Upon learning that we planned to get chickens, he insisted that he would happily give us some. With some ambiguity in his wording, he mentioned two hens and some chicks...maybe nine. Two hours later we returned home with two hens and eighteen one-week old chicks. They were ADORABLE!
Chick love

Cheeps and the nine designated as hers to mother

Salsa and her brood
Without much time to prepare and unwilling to spend thousands of dollars on a fancy coop, we rigged up a makeshift area that has managed to keep them all alive to date.
Cutting the chicken wire in preparation for our tiny chicks
We have 164 linear feet of 4' tall solar powered electric net fence enclosing a portion of our backyard and a contraption of cattle panels, chicken wire used more in the early days when the chicks were tiny, a tarp, and some big sticks for roosting jammed through the cattle panels.

As the winter and cool spring days found us rocking in our respective rockers in front of our soapstone stove, summer and chickens have us plopped on the back porch, beer in hand, watching chicken TV. It's educational, entertaining, and nutritious! Mothering done, Cheeps and Salsa starting laying eggs about three weeks ago. With a little hunting, we've found all of the eggs that they insist on laying outside of the safety of the net fence and in the cool shade of a kiwi vine, locust tree, or out of commission burn barrel.

The chickens are a mix of colors, shapes, and sizes. When I asked the previous owner what kind of chickens they were, his reply was simply, "Chickens." Our neighbor said, "Those are the kind of chickens that'll fly up in a tree to roost." In a nutshell they're survivors of a mix of breeds over thirty some years. They're a bit skittish around people but we're working on that. Every day I hand feed them some food. Two of the chicks have let me pet them and pick them up. These are proud mama moments.

I'll keep working on taming the chicks. Until then, we'll be entertained by the silliness of chickens. It takes them fifteen to twenty minutes each night to find their spot on top of the tarp or on one of the roosts below the tarp. "Finding" means pecking, nudging, crawling under, hopping on top of, sliding off of, and complying until they settle. I highly recommend Chicken TV over traditional TV.
Settling in for the night on top of the tarp (their choice of place to spend the night)

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