I shared the coop. Now I'll share the six chickens that live inside of it. Based on square footage and roosting bar space, we could have twelve hens but we started with six.
When we got them, they looked like this...
and last, but not least...
I mean, seriously. How are they so painfully cute?
Course then they turn into ugly little dinosaurs.
But their ugly duckling er, ugly chicken stage is very short.
And now they are all proper laying ladies.
Astrud in particular made raising chicks fun. We got six chicks from a local poultry breeder. Two Black Australorps, two Barred Plymouth Rocks and two Easter Eggers. Or so we thought. Astrud just didn't seem right. She was too big. Too different from the other Black Australorp who had the classic penguin chick face. For the longest time, we fretted over her being a rooster. Turns out, she isn't a Black Australorp at all. She's a cross and is mostly likely a Black Star/Black Sexlink.
Incorporating chickens into our backyard was easier than I anticipated.
Our dog LOVES the chickens. And by "love" I don't mean he'd like to eat them, thankfully. He protects them. If a neighborhood cat wanders into our yard and the chickens are out he barks and chases the cat off. He also hangs out by the coop/run when they are inside, keeping guard. I'm pretty sure he thinks he's a chicken.
I never realized how much fun it would be to have chickens. They are a source of constant entertainment.
Not to mention a source of constant eggs.
I can't tell you how rewarding it is to open that nest box and find eggs each day. Oh wait, I just told you. It's amazing. We get 4-5 eggs a day from the six. Chocolate Chip Cookie (an Easter Egger) still hasn't started laying yet. Slacker. Any day now, hopefully. In the meantime, we've added two more pullets to our flock (no photos yet because they're still on the camera and I'm lazy) and they'll be laying in a few weeks.
We've been bartering a lot with our eggs. Six eggs for a bag of limes here, a few tomatoes there. We've also given eggs to all our neighbors.
It reached higher than 105 degrees at times here so we had to do a lot of things to help cool them down, but everyone did fine. Perhaps it helped that we got our birds locally so they are from breeding stock that is used to the heat. Maybe? I also selected heat tolerant birds. Astrud, the mystery Black Star hen was the one who suffered the most.
All in all, I'm SO glad we took the leap and got chickens.