We have been mulling around the idea of raising our own chickens for months. Yesterday, we committed to the project. We went to the local feed store picked up 6 Rhode Island red chicks and 6 Plymouth Rock chicks and left with an armload of chicken supplies. After studying the information at BackYard Chickens we decided the time was right to get a brood going. Fresh eggs here we come!
Prior to purchasing the birds we talked long and hard about making that kind of a commitment to raising livestock. No naming of birds. Yeah, well that one lasted about 15 minutes. Taking care of the birds. Everyone is pitching in a taking on a responsibility. I snapped a few pictures after we had them settled in their temporary home.
We went to the local u-haul store and purchased a wardrobe box. Taped it up and cut a hole in the side leaving a 3 inch border around the edge so it would support the egg crate plastic cover we also purchased. You see, the chicks aren't ready for a coop. It's still a bit cold out and they don't have their feathers in yet so they need to be in a smaller confine for a few more weeks. We also installed a heat lamp to warm one side of the box so they don't freeze at night.
They grow so fast I am glad we don't dress them! In a couple more weeks they'll be former shadows of themselves and ready for the coop. We are building a simple coop to house them in the backyard. We live in the county and should not have too many problems with neighbors (giving away a few eggs never hurts either!) complaining about the chickens.
We are not including a rooster in the mix, at least not now. In about 20 weeks they'll begin laying eggs. We are looking forward to farms fresh eggs. I don't care how fresh the grocery store says they're eggs are, I've seen too many news stories to the contrary. It will be good to have locally ;-) grown eggs. I've got two families already begging for eggs.
It should be fun, yet a lot of work keeping them healthy and happy. Here's a nice picture of the brood. The black ones are the Plymouths and the orange the Rhode Islands.