Fustercluck….aka how I became a crazy chicken lady.

So far in our homesteading journey we have conquered knitting, canning and preserving, gardening on a large scale, hunting/fishing for our food, and beekeeping. We have all wanted chickens for a long time, but it was never the right time. This spring has been especially busy with our jobs, the girls’ school and sports, as well as getting ready for my oldest’s graduation and such. It was the worst time of all.

So of course on April 12th a month ago from today, at the worst possible time, we got chickens. The chickens are a hodge-podge mixture of sex links, Rhode Island Reds, Sussex, and French Copper Marans. We started with 14. The girls were thrilled. Even Em, my oldest, who had no interest in the chickens besides eating them, fell in love immediately.

Like other experiences that we have had in the past with bringing home living things, it’s all amazing and fun until it wears off a week later. However, that has not be the case with the chickens. There has been a lot of chicken snuggling and playing. They have been living in a water tank in our garage for the past month. The girls talk to them and most have a name.

Both the girls and my husband were quick to start on the building of a coop out at our farm. Everyone was involved from the preparation, planning, building, electric, plumbing, heat/air (yeah it’s a pretty sweet place) the girls were involved actively.

There has been lots of playtime on their favorite blanket and a few are quite good models and love being photographed. However, my youngest is a little frustrated that they are not potty trained, no matter how hard she tries.

Part of homesteading is to use what you have, and make due. We wanted an “outdoor area” for the chicks that would be safe and help them learn about being outside. We decided to move one of our hot houses off of the raised bed and use it as a chicken playpen instead. To say it  has been successful is an understatement. I swear they look forward to it each day.

The coop is finally finished and is completely built of materials we already had on hand. We will be moving the chicks out to the coop this weekend and then adding more new chicks. The coop is a little on the large side, but with our family you go big, or don’t go at all.

This is a side by side comparison of the same chick. On the left is Einstein at a week old and on the right is a pic taken a few days ago at around 5 weeks. It’s insane how fast they grow.  This whole experience has been great, and not so great. In retrospect, we were not really as prepared as we thought we were. Just because we had all the supplies, we really weren’t prepared for how much time it would take to care for them. I am very thankful for the support and advice of others on how to proceed. I couldn’t have made it through without a few books that were mentioned to us.

Fresh Eggs Daily: Raising Happy, Healthy Chickens…Naturally

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd Edition

My biggest advice for taking on this journey is to think it through completely and research the amount of time that it will take. Overall it’s as with anything that is homesteading, it’s been an adventure, a trial, and definitely a fustercluck at times.