All I can say is, be careful what you wish for! Dreaming of my own fresh eggs and being one step closer to producing more of my own food, not to mention all the wonderful fertilizer for the plants, I’ve been wanting to get chickens for some time now, but hadn’t had the time to prepare a coop yet. I was sure we would wait until next spring to begin this new venture. But what did I know?
Last weekend, out of the blue, we were given 16 young chickens that needed a home immediately.
Yes, I said 16.
We had to hurriedly scramble to put together a safe, cozy home for them. We ended up converting a dog kennel into a chicken yard by covering it completely with chicken wire, and we used a bunch of scrap wood to build a secure coop inside it. The dog kennel is one of those huge chain-link thingies that was also given to us some time ago. Our dog won’t use it because he thinks he is one of the children and has full rights to the house.
The chickens are all small now, so they have enough room for the moment, but we know that will change as they grow bigger. Thankfully, our son is planning to take half of them as soon as they develop enough to see which are hens and which are roosters. He already has a coop. We also plan to extend the dog kennel to make a bigger yard for the ones we keep.
Chickens are funny creatures, I’m finding. I’ve really enjoyed sitting out by the chicken yard just observing their behavior and the way they communicate with one another, peeping warnings to the others to scatter if you come too close, sometimes fighting, always looking for bugs and worms. If one finds a particularly tasty morsel like a fat worm, it will take off running away from the others to try to eat it before they see it. But as soon as the others see the lucky one running, the jig is up. Busted! The others will all take a stab at darting in to grab it away, only succeeding if they are very fast.
We had a chicken run the first day we brought them home. They all got out of the pen at once. They mostly all stayed together during their frantic escape, peeping to each other which direction to take. Run this way, no here she comes, run that way, no back this way, wait, there she is again… It was hysterical.
We’ve settled into a daily routine of feeding and watering and securing the coop. Now I’m looking forward to all those gorgeous, super nutritious, golden-orange yolked eggs, and a very rich compost pile for next year’s garden.