Key reasons we readought chickens:
– Teach Kids about taking care of animals
– Fresh eggs
– House chores the kids can do (and enjoy)
– Challenge of something new
Neither my wife and I have ever owned chickens before. We have never lived on a farm, and other than our families owning cats or dogs, we have no “farm” life experience. However, after scrolling through Pinterest and visiting a farm in North Texas, it was an idea I couldn’t shake.
I found some practical reasons why I thought having chickens would be a good idea to get for the family and did a TON of research. There is so much detail I could go in here, this post would go on for days! Overall, what I found was chickens contain a small daily comment (egg collection), weekly cleaning of the coop (15 mins), and food (cheaper than our dog’s food).
The time commitments were not an issue for us, because wanted to spend time with our chickens so checking on them every day would be done anyway, and cleaning is easy once you get into the swing of it.
The journey to get ready for the chicks was fun and exciting. I had wanted to buy chicks last year, but we didn’t get our act together in time decided to wait and make sure we know what we were getting into. I remember creating a Pinterest board to store ideas, coop designs, and tips and tricks. To this day, Pinterest seems to still be my favorite source for information around backyard chickens.
The first project to tackle was to build a coop. I went back and forth on two main designs and settled on the smaller of the two. Looking back, I am very happy with the coop design I choose, but I choose it for the completely wrong reason! I hope to go into this deeper in a future post. I will make an important note here, make sure your coop is complete before you get your chicks! I had our coop about 50% complete and they were spending days in the coop as they got bigger way before it was ready. It also took longer than expected to complete. My advice, have it ready before you get those cute little chicks!
Once spring came around, and chicks were for sale at our local tractor supply and game on! We looked through lists and lists of breeds, egg colors, temperament, feather color, etc. We knew it would be hard to get exactly what we wanted so we rated each breed A+, A-, B+, B- etc. A+ was our most desired breed, but anything B rated we figured was worth getting. After going to Tractor Supply for 2 weeks they finally had a batch of chicks come in that had enough of the breed we wanted we could find what we wanted.
I suggest everyone doing their own research on this, but these were the breed we were targeting:
- Easter Egger (really wanted some blue/green eggs)
- Rhode Island Reds
- Cuckoo Maran
One VERY IMPORTANT NOTE that I don’t remember reading anywhere until buying chicks, most states or stores have a minimum number of chicks you have to buy. For example, in the Texas Tractor Supply, you must buy a minimum of 6 chicks! We really only planned for 4 so this was a bit of snag to the size coop we had spent weeks building and eggs we anticipated on “receiving”. From what I found, this was only a rule in Texas by TS and not a state law. However, some states do have laws of minimum birds. Make sure you look into as part of your research!
Here is what we ended up with:
2 – Golden Sex Links
2 – Silver Laced Wyandotte
2 – Cuckoo Maran
We are just at the four-month mark with our hens and we have collected 11 eggs far! It seems that only one of our six girls is laying so far, but as I am writing this post, I collected an egg today that was defiantly a different color than any others so far. Of course, the 3 year drops it! So it never even made it inside. 🙁 However, with 6 hens we are expecting 4 eggs a day on average. Again, more eggs than we wanted, but we have so many friends and family excited we own chickens, we shouldn’t have any problems going through them. Update to come on this ;).
So far, we have loved having the girls around. While we don’t have full egg production yet, which is the main reason for having them, they have been super fun raising from babies, watching grow at their rapid pace, and having the kids check on them every day and look for eggs.
I will write more about this I’m sure!