the day the chickens came home to roost

For as long as I can remember I have wanted two things in terms of land/gardening/etc.  Chickens and Roses.  This weekend was the weekend of dreams coming true.

First, I found an AMAZING new nursery/livestock feed store and I just happened to check it out the day they got the spring flowers displays all set up.  It was dangerous – the best kind of dangerous.  The kind where you finish shopping, get in the car and text D that Mother’s day is all covered kind of dangerous.  I got two Jacob’s Ladder flowering plants to flank the front door as part of the pachysandra elimination plan.  I got some sweet little flowers to go around our welcome sign.  I got a cute ceramic bunny for my bunny obsessed boy.  And, finally, I got roses.  They had shade tolerant roses!!!  And today I planted them and fingers crossed they root well and this summer I will finally have my roses.  and the added bonus is that Sidney has been begging me to plant roses too.

But I went to this nursery/feed store on a whole other mission that had nothing to do with flowers!  I needed pine shavings for our chickens! We spent weeks prepping for this – Darren dug a trench and buries chicken wire, secured with stakes, ties and rocks. We put on more secure locks, reinforced walls, etc… We were ready to go!

I could sit and watch them for hours (and did that first day). We went with 3 fora couple of reasons. First, it is a 4 bird coop, so three seemed good. Chickens are flock birds, so we wanted 3 to keep them happy. And with 3 kids, each can claim their own chicken.

Spencer’s Chicken

Spencer’s chicken is the Silver lace Wyandotte.  She is 1 1/2 years old and she is in charge. Chickens naturally fall into a hierarchy and she is the one in charge. Spencer named her Baseball Yankee Chicken.

Sidney’s Chicken

Staying in age order, Sidney;s chicken is a year old and the best layer in our flock. She is 1/2 New Hampshire red and 1/2 Rhode Island red. Sidney debated her name for weeks, but when she finally met her chicken, she named her Hippo Chicken. She is an eater. Hippo likes to eat, a lot.

Emily’s Chicken

The baby of the group is Emily’s chicken. She will be 6 months old on may 12 and today she laid her first ever egg. Se is a very rare Speckled Sussex. This is Daisy Rose Chicken. Daisy Rose likes to jump onto the water bottle and nap up there much to the kids amusement.

So here is what I have learned so far. Holding a chicken feels odd. And Baseball Yankee chicken is so strong that you have to hold her VERY tight! On Sunday (based on the calendar) we can let them out in the yard. Apparently they need just a few days to get to know their home and they are good to go. The guy told me that I should let them out at sunset. He pointed to the exact area of the woods he knew they would love and he said that as the sun started to set, they would just walk into the coop, head up the ramp and perch on the roost to sleep. They will literally head home to roost. They apparently love to eat blueberries, strawberries, cantaloupe, watermelon, all kinds of greens and corn on the cob. So that is on Monday’s menu. They lay eggs all day. First thing in the morning when I went out to fill food and water, there was an egg. A few hours later, a second one and this evening, a third. And these eggs are the best eggs I have ever had. I soft scrambled the one we got in the morning with a little butter and it tasted like silk. It was amazing! No one wants to go near the one lone store bought egg we have left.

Now we just need to tend to them daily and tend to the roses and get ready for warmer weather. Never boring. And a fun lesson in responsibility for the kids.


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