We Got Crappy Chickens

So we got chickens.

Except it wasn’t quick or nonchalant like that. We joked about it for years, obsessively researched for months and then finally decided to get them.

We drove north of Los Angeles to a chicken farm, picked out six little balls of fluff and then drove back home. The chicks were in a shoebox on my lap.

We settled them in their brooder (which is a fancy name for a huge cardboard box with a heat lamp in our case) and Crappy Boy and Crappy Baby spent time observing them. We all quickly became familiar with their eat, sleep, eat, sleep routine.

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Those first days were fun. The birds were new and exciting and we could watch them do pretty much absolutely nothing for hours and still be entertained.

Our visits paid off, because soon, the chicks got comfortable with us.

Perhaps a little too comfortable:

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There is nothing like having to ask your child to lift a chicken off your head but he can’t because he is laughing too hard.

Course it wasn’t all fun and games.

There was work to be done. We still had to finish building the chicken coop and run.

Before you roll your eyes at the irresponsibility of us getting chicks before having a coop finished, let me just say something that will make you more annoyed. I did it this way on purpose.

I work best on a deadline. Crappy Papa does too. We knew we had roughly 8 weeks before the chicks would be ready to move outside to the coop. Since it had to get done, it got done.

Thanks to all of my obsessive researching about predator proofing a coop and run, it was determined that I had to dig a trench all the way around the perimeter of the run at a depth of about 2 feet for the hardware mesh and walls to sink down into.

So I dug. And I dug. I dug in our hard, clay soil that was like cutting through dark chocolate. It had to be chiseled away. With all of my weight on the shovel it wouldn’t even sink an inch.

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Every single day I worked.

And into the night.

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But eventually, I dug the trench.

If you are wondering where Crappy Papa was during this time, he was sitting on the patio with a glass of lemonade reading a newspaper. Just kidding, it was a magazine.

No really, he was busy building stuff. Nesting boxes, doors and such. So I was stuck with the unskilled labor job. The digging.

But once the digging was completed, I got a new job. Screwing in hardware mesh to the frame of the chicken run as it tried to roll back into a tube and slice my arms off.

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Now if you’ve never played with hardware mesh before, take my advice and don’t. (And wear gloves if you must.)

Okay, so we got it all done in plenty of time.

Back to the chickens.

They are funny creatures. People who keep chickens are funny creatures too.

When you get chickens all of a sudden you start meeting people who also have chickens. It’s like a club that you don’t even know exists until you are in it.

People say that there are two different backyard chicken owner camps.

The ‘chickens as pets’ camp:

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No really. Chicken diapers are a thing.

And the ‘chickens as food’ camp:

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Course while I have met people that would lean one way or another, most people actually fall somewhere in the middle.

Back to our chickens.

So when we got them, they looked like this:

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Fuzzy wuzzy balls of cute.

But that doesn’t last.

In roughly three seconds, they turn into this:

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Some sort of dinosaur/bird hybrid that poops a lot.

We started with six birds and three different breeds.

But one didn’t look right.

She was bigger than the rest. Looked…different.

Like so many new backyard chicken keepers before me, I fretted endlessly over the possibility of having a rooster.

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I searched online. I posted photos on chicken message boards. I looked at her/his comb. Looked for tail feathers. The color and shape of his/her feet. Is she a he? We don’t even know what breed it is! What IS this weird bird?

Everyone guessed it was a roo.

But then. Then!

We caught the bird doing something that all the other birds were not yet doing.

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Hmmmmm. Is there still hope?

Then, the next morning:

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Turns out, our mystery bird was just older than the others. She also wound up being our very best layer and everyone’s favorite bird.

So in case you are considering getting backyard chickens, it can be summed up like this: cute, poop, ugly, poop, yay eggs!, poop, poop, eggs! poop, poop, eggs! More or less.

Welcome crappy chickens!

 

———-

We’re getting 5-6 eggs each day. It’s awesome. Totally non-crappy. Course we’ve since added two more pullets…

The “What’s so bad about a rooster?” issue for the confused-living-out-in-the-country-folks… Chickens are allowed but roosters are loud so we can’t legally have them in our neighborhood. The farm where we got our chicks from would have exchanged an accidental rooster so we had a contingency plan.

I’m on instagram now. Warning: there are no illustrations, just photos. Of chickens! The chicken coop! Eggs! Other pretty things!

 

This entry was posted in chickens, crappy pictures, good stuff, pets. Bookmark the permalink.

94 Responses to We Got Crappy Chickens

  1. KpMcD says:

    That’s exciting! I’ve been trying to convince The Mister to let me branch into chickens for years.
    I’d like to think I will fall in the “in-between” camp, but I have a feeling I’d be more of the “I gave it a name, I can’t eat it” type… this is probably why my hubs hasn’t agreed to the idea yet. He’d be more than happy to eat Henny-Penny if she’s not laying.
    Where are y’all and the family at with your birds? Will non-layers take on a new role of dinner?

    • amber says:

      Well, right now they are all laying so I don’t have to make any chicken broth or chicken retirement home decisions.

  2. Katie says:

    Yay! We’ve had our backyard flock of 3 for two years now, and they’re just as fun as they were when we got them as 6 week olds. Wait until they go through their first molt: there is nothing sadder than a scraggly, half-bald chicken. And since they stop laying then, too, we’ve had to occasionally buy eggs. Just not the same.

  3. I grew up with chickens and geese. They weren’t really supposed to be pets but they decided they were. My dad had a blind rooster that would follow him around each morning – it would be dad, at least two cats, two dogs and a rooster accompanying him as he went about his morning routine haha.

  4. So doing this when I am done cleaning up of the poop of my own little chickadees. For now, we have rabbits and an obese cat.

  5. Tracey says:

    City folk question, does the coop smell as bad as I imagine???

    • amber says:

      No smell, but then again I live where it is very dry. I hear that wet + poop + not enough air circulation is what causes smells. We also have things in place that help make it easier to clean, like a droppings tray and sand and lots of ventilation.

  6. Debbie says:

    Raising chickens is illegal where I live, but legal in the suburb next door. They sponsor an annual “Tour de Coop” where people drive around, stop at each place, see how the coops have been built and decorated, get advice, etc.

  7. Stephanie says:

    “An accidental rooster” made me laugh out loud. I work in local government, and judging from the number of calls we get about them, there are a LOT of chicken people out there. As for me, I could never raise them because I think birds are terrifying. Also poop. But I don’t mind if my neighbors have them, as long as they are reasonably quiet and not too stinky. That goes for the neighbors, too, actually.

  8. Sarah says:

    First, that is a PERFECT picture of the change a chick when it goes from cute fuzzy ball of fluff to eeekk what is that thing?

    As a country dweller, I still don’t want a rooster. Those things are loud, and not just in the morning, they can go off all day.

    To answer an above question, our 300 (meat) chickens can smell on a warm day, but I would guess that a handful of chickens whose coop you cleaned out regularly (compost it for a year, and it will be great for the garden) wouldn’t be too bad. I definitely wouldn’t sit them next to the picnic table though.

  9. Juan Castro says:

    MMMMM eggs! Crappy Offspring won’t have problems with lack of calcium in diet, I suppose. Strong bones!

  10. T says:

    I had one thought running through the back of my mind the entire time I was reading this post: Does the cat try to molest the chickens?

    • amber says:

      Well, Crappy Dog is in LOVE with the chickens, but in a protective way not a “wants to eat them” way and the cats don’t go outside. At this point though, the birds are bigger than the cats!

      • Kim D says:

        We have chickens and ducks. Our cats are actually afraid of them – because by the time we let the birds where the cats could get near them, the birds were as big as the cats were! Now we’ve got fifteen pound Muscovy drakes and five pound cats… yeah… cats + poultry = not a problem. XD

        • Kelly says:

          Our cats occasionally appear to seriously consider attacking a chicken but so far I believe they have resisted. The dog occasionally enjoys running through the flock making them all squawk and take off.

    • SaraB says:

      We have four chickens and two cats who go outside. The cats totally ignore the chickens, even when they’re free-ranging. We just got them this spring, and aren’t yet sure what we’ll do when they stop laying. How do you even know which one has stopped, anyway?

      • Kristin says:

        Don’t get all the same breed. We’ve got three chickens, all different breeds. I can tell which chicken’s egg it is by the color. We get white, light brown and dark brown.

  11. We’d like to have chickens, but I’m not sure it would work with the way our yard is set up. So we buy our eggs from a local farm. But maybe someday . . .

  12. Mama Berry says:

    ROFL!!! This is hands down my favorite post yet!! We raise pastured heritage poultry, and although we do it for profit, we do still fall into that middle category of not quite pets but love em more than only for food. We run over 120 birds, about 117 ladies, and they fill our days with entertainment. …and poop. Lots and lots of poop!

    • Kim B says:

      I was taken aback reading that you “run over 120 birds”, imagining the mayhem, the horror, the mess, and trying to figure out if you drove a tank…then thought for a moment. A different reading of the sentence presented itself and I heaved a huge sigh of relief.

      🙂 Kim

  13. Jo says:

    The chickens look delicious! 😛

  14. Alex says:

    We have thought about chickens too. Several neighbors have them and we found out it’s a little trickier here in MN because the coop needs to be heated and you need a special set up so that the water doesn’t freeze in the winter. That all requires electrical wiring to the coop which in turns means you need a permit and inspection to make sure you are up to code. sigh…

    • Katie says:

      Alex – for what it’s worth we’re in upstate NY and know people in Alaska with chickens and no one heats their coop. We change the water twice a day and have cold hardy breeds that do just fine. We’ve never even had one frostbitten.

  15. Name Withheld To Protect The Guilty says:

    We’ve had illegal chickens for 3 years. I had to laugh at the “If you don’t lay, you don’t stay.” I started off as a gentle love-thy-poultry person and this summer I just butchered my first stew hen. It was a traumatizing yet delicious experience. Welcome to the cult… er… I mean club!

  16. Jenn says:

    “Crappy chickens”. That about sums it up.

    (We currently have 6 of the pooping beasties. They are old – 6 years old – and produce more crap than eggs. Be prepared.)

  17. Leah says:

    My mom has chickens! It works out great, she keeps and takes care of the chickens, we eat the eggs! My mom is one of those chicken lovers though and while she wouldnt quite put a diaper on the chicken when the chickens stop laying their eggs she takes them to a chicken farm where they supposedly live out their days in chicken freedom. I told her it’d be much more conventional to seperate them into breasts and thighs but i guess that doesnt make me a chicken lover 😉 lol

  18. Kelly says:

    Getting chickens was the best decision ever for my son. They are his favorite thing in the world except for mom 🙂 We have bantams -4 roosters and 8 hens, and have raised a bunch of them from eggs. Fresh eggs are amazing! And I love the smell of chickens 🙂

  19. Frances says:

    We’ll have chickens someday. Would save us money in the long run since we eat a LOT of eggs, and we always buy organic ones.

  20. Ashley says:

    love this! We have a backyard flock of 6 hens and 3 ducks.. And “crappy chickens” they are lol, I wish there were as many eggs as crap!! What mess-balls! And the ducks free range so you end up stepping in those hidden piles

  21. MaraKL says:

    Check out this blog (if you haven’t already):

    http://www.tillysnest.com

    She also is coming out with a book on chicken keeping for kids! And, she has a Facebook page.

  22. Manda says:

    We just started our chicken keeping journey this year too! By we, I mean I, because my husband wants absolutely nothing to do with my little featherbabies. My two year old loves feeding them and helping with the eggs. They are the perfect pet: quieter than a dog, less destructive than a cat, and they provide breakfast!

  23. AngieK says:

    Congratulations! We have backyard chickens as well, and we went through the rooster scare, only it turned out that he really was a he. Luckily we live in an area where we were able to keep him, so now we have eggs and a very rude alarm system. (Contrary to popular belief, rooster’s crow ALL day, and if they are alarmed at night. So, that’s fun.) But still, EGGS!
    Good luck with your flock!

  24. Trish Greninger says:

    We got our chickens in mid-May! And no, we did not have a coop either. They just spent their first night in their coop last night, October 1! Meanwhile they’ve been spoiled rotten by living in a cozy cage in the basement overnight and then they play outside during the day. One we call Snuggles because she does just that. Our first egg layer we decided to call Houdini because she continues to escape whatever enclosed area we put her in. And because we didn’t have a place for her to lay her eggs right away, she decided the best place to lay her eggs would be in a cardboard box in the back of a pickup truck. 🙂 I love them. I may need to check out the chicken diapers….

  25. jeanette says:

    The “accidental rooster” made me laugh! You see, my husband and I shared a house with a family of five and a flock of chickens. Right when we moved in, the mother recived six “little chickens” which were kept in a box for the first two months. One was not only bigger then the others, but more aggressive and liked to jump on top of things. She was the first to jump out of the box and had to be moved to the coop. Sure enough, she started crowing two weeks later. No one knew what to do about is since roosters are illeagle here. The dad wanted to cook and eat him. The mom wanted to turn him loose in the woods. I ended up, with permission, putting him up for free on craigslist and found him a nice home with a hen house of Rhode island reds.

  26. Bex says:

    We got 3 hens at Easter who wander round our garden. The poo! I had no idea. Seriously, we could power a substation. Also one of them has read the Chicken Handbook and has moulted, got worms, went broody, moulted again and has probably laid 4 eggs in her whole life. She is now a big feathery freeloader. I keep showing her the oven but she knows it’s hollow threats.

  27. Alyssa Roy says:

    My mother has a 4 acre yard and “free range chickens” which is fancy talk for -chicken poop on EVERYthing and a daily egg hunt. They also flog the cats and eat all the cat food if you don’t stand guard over the meal. There is nothing like stepping in still warm, giant bird poop on a wooden deck and having it squish up between your toes. That’s okay though, because we get lots of double yolked eggs, and that’s just awesome!

  28. Heather Adams says:

    Girl! u crack me up yes!!! love ur stories! I look forward to them all the time!! I don’t think i’ll ever be brave to keep chickens (especially as one attacked me as a kid and scratched my legs, true story.. well it was really a rooster.. lol!) but i salute ur bravery! Keep good!

  29. Shelley says:

    I am sooo wanting to do this, but my husband thinks I’m crazy. If i do it, i’ll have to do it alone. Maybe next spring.

  30. Stacy R says:

    So my in-laws, who had a farm when my husband was growing up, told me that if you put food coloring in their water, the color of the yolk will change… might be something interesting to try.

    • SaraB says:

      Really?!

      • Sanj says:

        Yes! You can make the egg yolks brighter yellow or even orange (and more nutritious) by feeding your hens leafy greens such as spinach and collards and kale.

        Be sure to let them scratch around for bugs, too. Nutrition in equals nutrition out.

        Also their poop is excellent fertilizer for your garden – compost it first or let chickens run around on fallow ground that you intend to plant later.

  31. alianora says:

    We have three ducks, and we just found our first eggs today – it is ridiculous how excited we are!

  32. Gwen F says:

    So much awesomeness. But you haven’t experienced real crappy yet. Wait until you find your first snake!

  33. Melanie says:

    I totally clicked on the chicken diaper link – you are always oh-so-thorough with your posts. Love it! I may have found a market for my daughter’s old baby doll diapers.

  34. Sarah says:

    We had chickens til about a year ago when we had to move to the city. Best eggs ever! It’s been a little hard to go back to the bland, grocery store eggs.

  35. imamann says:

    I grew up raising chickens and turkeys. We had them both for eggs and eating (disclaimer-we took them to a place that killed, plucked, etc. for us. dropped them off live, picked them up like they are in the store).
    We may have named our turkeys morbid names of characters that died on movies/television shows. We ate mufasa one year. And, they were pets until we killed them. I have no idea how I’m a functioning adult…..

  36. Katrina says:

    Fun! We have about 30 laying hens and a rooster. We’re lazy and buy them already at laying age, and deprive my poor children of the fun of chicks. It’s wet here, but we have a movable coop, so that’s fun. My kids all line up to help their dad push it to give the chickens new grass and bugs. They’re not very good at pushing it yet (they’re 7,5,3 and 1). We’re working on it 😉

  37. Julie says:

    This reminds me of the episode of Candidly Nicole where she “gets chickens”.

    Best of cluck to you! (sorry, couldn’t resist)

  38. Gina says:

    I LOVE my chickens, and don’t know how I ever survived without them. It’s been two and a half years that I’ve had them, and turkeys, too, and I’m so glad I started! Now, how about a goat?

  39. Kristy says:

    If you think chickens poop a lot, I wouldn’t suggest you branch into ducks. We currently have 4 chooks and 2 ducks and the ducks are messier x 1000! The eggs are awesome though!

  40. Tara says:

    OOH! We got chickens this year too! I bought 8, but one was a roo, so we had him for dinner one day. We also didn’t start building our coop until after bringing home the chicks. My hubby works better with deadlines too. 🙂 My 7 chickens now lay 5-6 eggs a day. We have Rhode Island Reds and Golden laced Wyandottes. What breeds did u get?

  41. Betsy says:

    You clearly haven’t gotten to the point of diminishing returns where it’s eat, poop, eat, poop, eat, poop, repeat ad nauseum, egg once in a while, eat, poop.
    Yep, we’re too soft hearted to cull the old biddies.

  42. carolyn says:

    We had chickens for a few years, and it was great. Unfortunately the foxes were quite wily and even though we’d shut the chickens in for the night they frightened them enough to fly out (and get eaten). My only advice is to keep being very affectionate to your chickens, keep petting them, as ours became aggressive to the kids as they got older. After the last fox attack I decided no more chickens until the kids are a bit older, and we will be very nice to them (and build a double pen).

  43. Christy says:

    Love this! If you still have any type of garden going, all that poop will be a wonderful addition to it! Just be sure to compost it first so it doesn’t burn your plants.

  44. Deana says:

    We have backyard chickens and my oldest crappy son just showed 2 pullets at the county fair for 4H. We can only have 4 hens and since he needed “show chickens” we were over by a couple. So we divided them up to see who was still laying and now the ones who weren’t are in our freezer. We did loose one of his show chickens the week before fair, that was harder for him then dispatching and processing the non-laying hens.

  45. Kari says:

    Even living in the country, roosters are ANNOYING! My in laws have a rooster that will crow whenever he feels like it. Middle of the damn day, in the evening, whenever! I’m sure their neighbors hate them for it, but they’ve had him for quite a few years. They also have a pot belly pig. Do. not. get. a pot belly pig. Oy. Enjoy the chickens!

  46. Sharon says:

    Congrats! We’ve had our chickens for 2 years. Of the first 5, one turned out to be a rooster. Luckily we also had a “no rooster guarantee”, but my boys were crushed when we had to send him back to the farm (no roosters allowed in our town either). They felt better when the 3 replacement girls arrived. Now we have a yard full of chicken, loads of fresh eggs and heaps of chicken poo. (fertilizer!) Someday, we will have a yard full of freeloaders because we won’t have the heart to “soup” them when they stop laying. Naming them does that….don’t name them if you’re going to eat them. I’ll try to remember that next time around!

  47. Mrs. Sexy says:

    I relate to this so much!

  48. Chloe says:

    my parents kept chickens before i was born and all through my childhood. at any one time we had between 3-9. it was so great growing up with them and taking care of them. there were good times and bad, but that’s life. they do the funniest things. and let me say, you will never go back to eating store bought eggs again. also, you captured the dinosaur phase perfectly 😛

  49. Alicia Owen says:

    We got chickens for the first time this year as well. We were sooo afraid one of them was going to be a rooster too. Must be some sick running joke chickens like to play on unsuspecting chicken raising newbs. 🙂 We decided to move out of state a few months after we got ours, go figure, so no fresh eggs for us yet. :/ Some day…*sigh*

  50. Mary-Kate says:

    We’re in the ‘chickens as pets’ camp and I can confirm that they are the best pets EVER! We have 2 bantam Pekins and they are not only very beautiful but also very stupid (which makes them adorably entertaining). They hardly ever lay eggs but the kids hug them all the time and when we go away they need no minding 🙂

  51. Sal says:

    I once had a friend who had a pet chicken that was toilet trained! Seriously, this bird would wander through the house and go outside with the dogs and do her business. It was amazing!

  52. amiable says:

    Haha – I love it! And I have chickens too. Well, technically only one now, since our chicken coop wasn’t very predator proof (still isn’t), and since one of our chickens learned to fly, and simply took off. The one we have is part of the family, and allowed to poop in the house even. We’re weird.

  53. Lisa says:

    we got four 10-12 week old chickens 18 months ago and they are the best pets EVER! Very low maintenance, productive and they spend all day just wandering around our back yard. They are all different and have names and come running when we go outside hoping we have some overripe banana or left over porridge for them. The only thing is the anxiety I have, remembering to lock them up in their secure coop at night, so we don’t wake up to a fox-led massacre …

  54. Rachel says:

    My daughter is obsessed with chickens, so ours get to stay at our “old chooks home” once they finish laying, where they get loved, hugged and get talked nicely to. She is their mother hen, and when she runs down the garden they all run after her, or come when she calls. We are definitely in the chickens as (working) pets camp…but without the diapers!

  55. Carrie says:

    Awesome! We just got back from the state fair and they were selling baby chicks AND baby ducks. Oh my. It was hard to walk away empty handed. Well, not completely. We won two goldfish 🙂 Do you still have Crappy Dog?

  56. Mercedes says:

    We have chickens! Love them – but no names, because many die. Some by the axe, some by predators, some by mysterious alien abduction.

  57. Lynn Kessler says:

    We, too, ventured into chicken land for a bit. We converted an old barn on our property into a coop. My youngest daughter locked me and her big sister in the coop and we were nearly eaten by our chickens (okay, I might be exaggerating a bit). It’s a pretty funny story–oh, and there’s an appearance by Mitt Romney.
    http://www.kanawhavalleyparent.com/2012/11/chicken-mitt.html

  58. Coralyn says:

    Did you write this about my life? You just described my entire chicken experience exactly as it happened!!! Loved it, thank you.

  59. Sigrun says:

    Welcome to the chicken club! I just got my first 2 hens this summer to. Wonderful creatures 🙂 I’m somewhere in the middle of this group, I certainly wouldn’t buy them diapers but I’ve already paid a LOT in vet expenses because of one of them when some people would have just ended the hen’s life.
    Looking forward to see pics of chickens and coop! I’m still in the planning stage for building a permanent coop myself, they’re still in their “summer house” 😀
    Good luck with it!

  60. Melody says:

    Get set for crazy eggs! I was amazed at what funny things came along.
    http://themetapicture.com/this-man-found/

  61. Jane Snarskis says:

    Chickens are wonderful. We had surprise chickens earlier this year – one of our hens disappeared for three weeks (we thought a fox had taken her), then she reappeared with four chicks. They were loved and cuddled by my boys (3 and 6). They went to school once a week for six months while my eldest’s class observed, measured and weighed them. John also read a story to one of them every night. It was a fantastic experience for everyone. I love my chooks.

  62. Tarah says:

    I think this is one of my favorite posts by you. I was sitting at my desk, literally laughing out loud over the pictures & the story.

  63. Jenna says:

    Chicken adventures so much fun, and nothing quite like that first set of chicks. Just checked out your instagram and super cute coop. I’ve had chickens now about 6 years and love them so much in fact I even breed my very own Olive Eggers, so if your ever in need of some hatching eggs (warning hatching is very addicting) ask me.

  64. We raise chickens too … for the eggs.
    Right now we have 10 in the coop/run and one in “the hospital” with bumblefoot. I don’t think I treated my children when they had colds as well as I’m treating this bird. We bought twelve … one was killed by a snake on Day 1. So my husband built a “penthouse” for them to sleep in that NOTHING can get into. Or out of.
    So far, our grown kids’ inheritance is all tied up in backyard feathers.

  65. SJH says:

    That first illustration, of Crappy Boy watching chicks at the feeder, brought back memories of my childhood. We raised layers and meat chickens every year for probably 6-8 years, and you described it well. And that is *just* what a feeder looks like– such great drawings! Also, “crappy chickens” made me laugh. Because, AMEN! Our chickens were “free range” (meaning, they ran all over our yard), and my childhood memories include frequent instances of washing chicken poop off my bare feet with the hose. (Only, my sister and I were embarrassed to say the word “poop,” so we called it “chicken nonsense.” 😉 )

  66. Brenda says:

    Welcome to the Chicken Club!!! I used to be in the “chicken as pets” camp, THEN my supposed bff Goldie pecked me IN MY FACE. So watch out for those crazy chicken beaks when they get big… and do not let them make you think that you are bffs.

    It’s cool though, she made it really easy for us to decide who we will eat first. muhahahahahaha!

  67. Mostlymommies says:

    A friend sent me your page this morning after we lost our two “fluffy wuffy”s this morning to a roaming gang of raccoons. It’s been a wonderful year and a half, RIP Bamboo and Cream Puff.
    Best of luck with your flock! And welcome to the chicken people club!

  68. Donna Armstrong says:

    Welcome to the wacky world of chickens – some days you love ’em and other days you’re thinking KFC. We free range our flock of 13 (lost 1 to a possum and 2 to maniac drivers) during the day so poop is everywhere, but they can be comical at times (like when one decided to sit on the roof and my husband had to get her down at dusk). My biggest peeve is when they dig all of the mulch out of my flower beds, which those talons can do pretty darn fast! And we had one that would go broody when we didn’t want her to so she had to go into chicken time-out. But yes, the eggs are fabulous – have fun!

  69. KP says:

    You forgot to mention that roosters can asks attack — people & hens!

  70. K.J. says:

    Enjoy your chickens. Be sure you check out the site: hencam.com
    Terry Gilson’s site has a wealth of great chicken,goat,dog,& horse info.if you have questions she gets right back to you. She is also a cookbook and children’s book author. Plus she is super nice. I was lucky enough to meet her last year when she come out to Temecula last year. P.S. I really look forward to your new adventures. Keep them coming.

  71. Beth says:

    Check out Once Upon a Flock: my soulful life with chickens, a memoir by Lauren Scheuer – great stories about raising chickens with charming illustrations and photos!

  72. I am totally stoked to see you got chickens 🙂 I am a breeder myself and have way too many to count.

    I just adore them. Glad to see that your kids get to enjoy the experience.

    Note: Don’t forget eggs in your pocket. It happens. Probably more than I care to admit.

  73. wendy says:

    you guys do everything so good.

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  75. Kim says:

    That’s exactly how I did it, too! Started out with a plastic tote from Walmart, feeder, waterer, heat lamp and six Barred Rock chicks. Worried about the coop, later and that was 2.5 years and several (pet) chickens ago.:)

  76. Michelle W says:

    You just described my “chicken journey” to a T, exactly, almost like you were spying on me (from the other side of the world). We got our four chickens as chicks in January this year, without the coop, and we had a “possible rooster concern”. I’m keen for more chickens, but the hubby is not quite ready for my chicken expansion dreams… yet. 😉

  77. Jenica says:

    Beware… mutant hens crow too… I had this chicken that was a “I don’t know what gender I am” chicken. It looked like a hen so we named her Henrietta… but it turned out to be a Henry… only she/he never developed a waddle or that classic rooster tail and only had a small comb… she/he did however crow and never did lay eggs (which is why we officially started calling her/him Henry), but liked to sit on other hen’s eggs. Henry did however go on to win blue ribbons in 4-H fairs, so I guess it worked out.

  78. Alice says:

    I joined the backyard chicken keeper club in April and my adventure was similar to yours. I finished their coop weeks after buying them but I had to do it alone (I don’t count my 3 year old ‘ s “help” as actual help). It’s been very fun and also very poopy but I do love the hens’ personalities. At 31 weeks old I still have a big chicken that doesn’t lay but doesn’t sound or act like a rooster. They’re funny creatures.

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  81. Momof4 says:

    Just a note if you have not already found some… Really sweet birds are the Cochins… They are fluffy and cool all the time, great with kids. They have feet feathers too… We raise chickens and just got a few of our own eggs to hatch (yes we are out in the country and yes we have roosters), my kids were fascinated watching them hatch.

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