Friday, June 7, 2013

Raising Chickens In The Burbs

We stopped for chicken feed and our son wanted to buy another chick!

I'm raising chickens. Never thought I'd hear myself say those words. I mean, we're not farm people. At all. We live on a quiet residential street, where the most exotic pet you might find is a pet frog or turtle.

It all started when our son's third grade class conducted their annual egg incubation project ...

"Mom, the eggs are going to hatch in twenty-one days."
"Mom, we can hear scratching."
"Mom, you can see the chick in the egg under a lightbulb."
"Mom, can I please bring home a baby chick -- everyone else is."

After a good seven days of some pretty serious begging and pleading by him, and deliberation between my husband and I, we gave in. "Okay, but only one." Where it would ultimately live, how we'd care for it, or what we'd feed it didn't even come up in conversation. Never mind, the implications of potentially ending up with a rooster. I guess we figured, we'd figure it out.

Raising Chickens? You Must Take Two

I went online a couple days before the chick came home to do a little research and discovered a great website called Backyard Chickens. It's chock-full with every chicken fact imaginable. There are even floor plans, with step-by-step instructions and pictures, for various chicken coops. I thought, "I can do this." The research was going pretty well until I learned that solitary chicks don't do well; they need to be in the company of at least one other chicken to thrive.

Sam and Richard sitting on a chicken recipe.

Hmmmm ...

So I wasn't surprised the day before the chick came home when our son's teacher sent a note home informing us that if we took one, it would die. Therefore, we had to take two. And so we did. Two chicks. One black. One yellow. Their names are Samuel and Richard, at the moment. Should they turn out to be female, their names will be Samantha and Ricki.

The chicks have been home two weeks and things are going smoothly. We've had no drownings or electrocutions in the makeshift coop, and they seem to be happy in their new home: Albert's (our dog's) crate. Glad we were finally able to put it to use.

They have about another five weeks indoors, then they'll move outside into a build-it-yourself chicken coop that we're ordering. The hubs isn't too crazy about the idea about keeping them, especially since their coop is going to be right under our bedroom window, because we don't want to disturb the neighbors with possible crowing you'd be able to hear two streets over, anyways, but hey -- they've grown on me. And it's not so strange to keep chickens in the burbs. The more people I talk to, the more I discover that there have been chickens in our midst without our even knowing it.

Should be interesting.

Classroom chicks in the incubator