I'm sure the title of this post was not what you expected. Isn't it supposed to read, "When life gives you lemons...." Well, yes that is the normal proverbial phrase, but in this house we're anything but normal. So, on to the story of "When life gives you....chickens!?"
Since I was little, I've always wanted to live on a farm. I got to experience it a little each time we would go back to Illinois, the state I was born in, and where my parents grew up. My grandparents lived on a farm with horses, chickens, donkeys, dogs, cats, pigs and the list goes on. However, living in Jacksonville, FL. from the age of 6 months until now, having a farm was not quite achievable with neighborhoods, HOAs, and the long list of rules and regulations with city life. Growing up, I would literally beg my parents for new pets all the time. Although I did have a few dogs, guinea pigs, a duck, and a cat, they would always say, "You can have all the animals/pets you want when you move out." 😂
Fast forward to life now with my husband... side note, Michael, bless your heart for putting up with all of my crazy dreams. As most of you know, we have a Boxer, Lucy; two cats, Petunia and Hazelnut and we've already talked on several occasions about goats, chickens, pigs, well you get the drift. Last week, I did all my research on chickens and for about three days I warmed Michael up to the idea of becoming chicken parents. After work last Friday he built a coop for the chickens we didn't even have yet, and we planned to go the next day to pick out some chickens so we could start getting some fresh eggs everyday! WooHoo! I was so excited!
Well...even though I did a lot of research, I thought that the local feed and farm stores would have laying hens or at least some young adult hens that would start laying in a few weeks. Yea, I was wrong. So we came home with four itty bitty chicks. One is a Golden Comet which was a week old and will eventually lay tan/brown eggs, one is a Plymouth Rock which was also a week old and will lay tan/brown eggs, and two Ameraucanas that were only two days old and will lay a variety of colored eggs. I wasn't exactly prepared to raise chicks, but I was still over the moon! With that said...here are the things I did NOT know...
1. Chicks have to stay in your house approximately 4-6 weeks until they are big enough to go inside their coop.
2. They have to have a heat lamp on the initial 4-6 weeks.
3. They will NOT lay eggs for 4-6 months. (fingers crossed we will have eggs by late summer)
4. There are a lot of predators that like to eat chickens including racoons, dogs, fox, feral cats, etc. Now we need to predator-proof our coop so my girls will be safe.
Lucy meeting Gretel for the first time.
Gretel is the smallest girl, and seems to be the most trusting of us. She doesn't mind being held, and she's just starting to get her color and feathers on her wings.
Needless to say, I've learned ALOT already in the last week, but I'm enjoying the journey so far! Someone told me that raising chickens can be addicting, and I can see why.
This is Goldie, she's the adventurous/nosiest of the bunch. I love watching the others learn from her!
Tonight we're going to a class about raising backyard chickens. Again, bless your heart, Michael for going along and acting interested. I wouldn't want to be chicken parents with anyone else. 🤣
This is Gypsy, she's a little skittish, but she's going to be beautiful. She's the largest out of the four, and could get up to 9 pounds! I wonder if she will be at the top of the pecking order. 🤔
Did you know that chickens usually live 8-10 years? I sure hope these girls live that long! I've had to prepare myself that they may not...sadly that's part of it, but I'm praying that they all have long and happy little chicken lives!
With all my Easter decor around the house, I just had to show Gertrude what her future has in store! 😂
P.S. Stay tuned for updates...I may or may not have been shopping for chick fabric to make dog collars! I mean how cute would that be?!
Do you have your own stories or tips from raising chickens? We would love to hear them! Drop us a comment below!