Chickens is FUN!

I gotta tell you… if you’ve been thinking about chickens… even just a few hens and you are on the fence about it, you just better hop off and get you some birds!   They are just the most delightful things!

Everything they say about the ease of care is correct.  We have had our birds now for two weeks.  And I have loved EVERY single moment.   They are super easy to take care of.  They require a safe place to roost at night.  But that can be just about anything!  A couple hens can roost in an old dog house!  I was thinking that one of those Little Tykes playhouses would work!  (How many of those I see at garage sales for like $25 bucks!  Yikes!)  An old shed or anything really.  And you don’t need super fancy nest boxes… heck, when you gotta lay an egg, you lay an egg!  Our girls love this plastic storage tote that we cut a hole in the side of.  $6 at the dollar store.  And they also like laying in a little pile of hay in the corner of the feed room.  $0.

And feeding them is super easy.  They eat just about anything!  Here is a picture of them enjoying a bit of Chinese take out!  So far our girls loved mashed potates, pound cake, bread crust, and spaghetti.  ( I think it looks like worms to them! Haha)  They also like the little crushed bits in a potato chip bag!  They love leftover corn on the cob, but they don’t like green beans.  Or oranges.  You find out pretty quick what they like and don’t.  They will turn their beaks up if they are uninterested.  We don’t feed our ladies meat products, although I guess it’s okay for them.  They get a ton of bugs and wormies, so I think that’s enough protein for them.

Now, we did go and get them some nice premium layer feed, but even that is so reasonable!  We got 150 pounds of the stuff for $26!  And just to give you a bit of perspective… 150 pounds filled a 30 gallon steel trash can to the top.  And our feeder we have is a one gallon feeder and they have only eaten one feeder full in almost two weeks!  At this rate, they won’t need much more for months!

We let them free range all day long.  From around 9 or 10 in the morning till about 8 or so in the evening.  And they stay very close to the barn where they roost.  It’s rather amusing to find them close to the house but they only visit a bit and then mosey back to the barn.

Maggie was washing out a brush at the pump and all the sudden Bucka Roo and Eleanor come running down the pathway!  They LOVE to drink water out of puddles.  They have a full waterer in the barn, but for some reason, drinking water in the wilds of Windhave just brings out the call of nature to them.  It’s so cute to watch.

Aren’t they a cute couple?  It’s like a chicken date.  Eleanor is our fiesty little explorer.  She’s the bravest of the girls and will start out on her own if she wants to.  Bucka has a hard time keeping her in line.  But just about the time I think he’s going to give up on her, she will tow the line and behave.   I think she’s just plotting out her next adventure and earning a few brownie points with the Roo Dude.  He has his hands full keeping the ladies safe.

And speaking of Roos…  Roosters to us all.  We just got super lucky.  Bucka Roo is just a perfect example of roosterness.  He is cautious and protective, and keeps very good watch over his ladies.  He doesn’t pester them continuously with his need for amour.  He sounds the alarm and they pay attention.  He has yet to bother ANY of us, nor attack or being mean.  I did a LOT of reading about roosters and as I understand, some breeds are better than others.  The Marans are nice and easy going roosters.  He is a Blue Copper Maran.  And having only one makes it very nice.  He doesn’t have to fight and prove himself against another roo.  And we routinely handle him at night when they are groggy and getting ready to roost.  I’m sure he’s not happy about it, but he has learned to accept it.  And I always bring him a treat and single him out for a goodie.  He sees me coming in the morning and cackles his hellos through the barn door crack!  And he waits patiently, right by my side to get the first treat hand fed.  I’ve told the girls that no one is EVER to yell or get angry with him, even if he ever attacks.  Everything I’ve read seems to point to that being a HUGE problem with roosters.  If you confront them or yell and scream at them, they can get very defensive.  It’s their nature.  But if you just turn away and retreat, they will come to see you as no threat.  Especially if you always bring goodies!!!

Inclimate weather, they head for the roost.  They’re no dummies.  They seem to know a little early and will start to tottle off to the barn and gather up in a corner to chill out and rest.  And at night, as soon as it starts to get a little dim out, they are in the roost, picking out their night time spot.  They are so funny at night, they get all dull and lethargic.  It’s a great time to give them a little check over if they need it.  Of course, we’ve only been at this for 2 weeks but I gotta say, it’s been super duper easy.  Someone goes out about 8 or 9 and does a head check and then closes up the fence and the big barn door to protect them.

We’ve been getting about 5 or 6 eggs a day with our 10 hens.  Now I’m pretty sure that two of them are not laying, and possibly a third.  Because the two French Maran hens are supposed to lay very dark eggs and the little Ameracuna should be laying green and blue tinted eggs.  They might be just in a molt period or coming out of one.  Or they are old.  It’s very possible that they are not going to lay any more eggs.  But that’s okay, I knew getting older established hens might mean that I was getting someone’s spent hens.  But I love them not only for their eggs.  They are some mighty bug hunters.  Already we’ve seen a noticeable drop by little bugs around the barn!  Those girls work hard.  They will go after anything they can hop up and get.

I guess I’m just letting you know… if you ever thought about chickens… don’t think anymore!  They are about as hard to raise as a stray cat, for sure!  Set out a little water and food, provide a bit of shelter at night and a place to lay and you’re done!   With the waterer and feeder, the nest box, the feed and the hens, I have about $100 invested.  And they have already given us easily over 70 eggs!  And of course, HOURS of entertainment!!!

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About Mobymom

the banjo player for Deepwater Bluegrass, and the editor of as well as the main graphic designer of the Westvon Publishing empire. She is a renaissance woman of many talents and has two lovely daughters and a rehab mobile home homestead to raise.


Chickens is FUN! — 2 Comments

  1. first I have to say..that whatever camera you use..and video out excellent photos.. I love looking at clear..these all look like they should be published..beautiful. We had a few chickens as a mom mostly took care of them..we was so young..but I DO remember the rooster always attacked my mom..every morning..hes jump on her shoulders..and of course she fought I image now..that fueled the fire. I also remember the chickens following us around. Also remember when my parents go tires of uncle came and “butchered” them..ugg…when ever I can find a county home that sells eggs I stop and get some. So rich..think..and tasteful.
    You farm is coming together! How wonderful! All the outbuilding lovingly painted up, the little bridge, and all the perennials and trees..all in such a short time! GOD sure must love helping you find this place and making it a home!
    Ive been updating an older home (foreclosure) now for 6 mths..the more I do..the more it needs. I guess the clue should have been that it was empty for 2 yrs??! but..NOOO ..I can fix it..well..tell you what..there are days I cant even go up there (Maumee, O) because I get so frustrated. Water in the basement? a foundation leak..maybe, need gutters, maybe, roof,, maybe..electrical and plumbing..a YES..very expensive..and now maybe a roof..AND when you flush the toilet..yep..down in the is THAT gonna cost!!!? ugg..
    I so enjoy your blogs..its kinda like “snooping on the neighbor” ..enjoying being part of your family.
    Remember..from a fellow renovator of 3 houses..its never ending..but a piece of love and art..its a “home”

    • Thanks! Both Jessy and I use Nikons… I have a D40 and she has a D80. Fabulous cameras. Yeah, a little pricey, sure… but if you shop around, you can get good deals. I’ve had so many other cameras and yet in the end, a good Nikon is worth 5 of those others! They always seem to fail… but I haven’t had a lick of trouble from my D40. And it’s point and shoot easy, and yet can be used very complexly when you want to. Our video camera is an old one… a Fuji something. It uses these little tapes. Now it will shoot digitally, but the quality is not that good. I use the tapes for the most part and transfer to a Mac with a firewire cable and Imovie. I think it’s worth the little extra effort to get good visual media, but then, I’m a graphic designer and I’m picky! haha…. Thanks for asking though!