Here Chicky, Chicky!
In our family’s on going quest to have a healthier lifestyle, my husband and I have a plan to “Go Off the Grid” in the next five years.
The first phase is planting a garden, learning how to can, and the possibility of starting a small orchard of apple, peach and pear trees. Along with that we are looking at building a small greenhouse, so we can have a few fresh veggies during the colder months, as well.
Phase two was getting a few chickens…as in four or five. That is where we are at now. I consulted with a friend who raises chickens to find the best layers, and there are some breeds that can be “sexed” and some that can’t. Being “sexed” for those of you who are not familiar with chickens, it's the ability to tell if a chick will be a hen or a rooster. Roosters can’t lay eggs and we have no desire to breed them. She mentioned that Leghorns are great layers, but can’t be “sexed”, however Golden Comets lay great and can be “sexed”. I’m a huge fan of Foghorn Leghorn, so I decided that I’d take a gamble and chose the Leghorns.
At the end of February of this year our journey into raising free ranged chickens began. Our four leghorn chicks arrived and there is no need to deny it…they are cute!
A week didn’t go by when I decided that four chickens may not be enough for a family of eight people. So I gave my friend a call and told her to look around for some Golden Comet chicks. A week later in came our newest chicks. They were even tinier and cuter than the last set. We named these ones Sophia, Blanche, Dorothy and Rosie. That may have been a big mistake, because I was starting to bond with my new feathered babies. It was also around this time that we discovered one of our leghorn hens was actually a rooster. Oops! Hey, one out of four…that was a pretty good gamble if you ask me. So now I have a Leghorn named Foghorn. My dreams were coming true.
My husband was content with our growing brood. I, on the other hand, was not. Google is a very dangerous place and it wasn’t long before I realized there were some pretty amazing breeds of chickens. The chicken bug had bitten and I knew that eight chickens would never be enough. Getting more, however would be tricky, as my hubby was not on board with my newfound obsession. I needed reinforcements, so I recruited my oldest daughter, Jenna. She hit up the local Tractor Supply and in mid-March she smuggled in two Giant Cochin chicks and two Black Star chicks. The Giant Cochins were a must have. They have these beautiful feathered legs and remind me of Cancan girls. However, it took less than twenty four hours for my deceitfulness to be discovered. My husband is a mathematics major…he knows how to count to eight and he was coming up with twelve when he looked in the nursery. Busted!
I promised the hubby that this was it, and I truly meant it at the time. Then I went on Google. Did you know they have chickens with Mohawks? Barbanters not only have beautiful markings, but they are great layers during the frigid temperatures of winter. Okay, so I live North Carolina and the colder temps aren’t going to be a huge issue…but these guys are going to have Mohawks when they’re full grown! Do you understand how cool that is going to be? I needed my chicken fix. I called my friend, who by this time I’m referring to as my dealer. It took a while, but my dealer found Barbanter chicks. I only bought two, but she threw in an extra Barbanter and two Cochin Bantam/Sultan cross chicks for good measure. By this time, I’ve set my nursery up in the garage. This time when the hubby came home and checked on the babies he counted seventeen. I think the roof actually lifted off the house.
It wasn’t a week later my addiction went into high gear when I discovered Sultans. OMGee! These chickens have 80’s hair. I mean Big Ole’ Mall hair! I was in love and I needed one…or two. I made an inconspicuous call to my dealer and ten days later she located this rare breed. Last Saturday I hit an all-time low when I made a “quick chick” purchase in the parking lot of the local Harris Teeter. I slid my dealer $15 dollars across the hood of the Cluck Truck and she gave me a box of three Sultan chicks. My excuse to my husband for opting with three instead of the two that we had agreed on…I’m OCD and I needed an even number. So here we are the end of April, we have twenty chickens and I’m in absolute heaven. I can’t get enough of my girls…and Foghorn!
If you’re looking for me…I’ll be sitting in the backyard talking to my hens and conjuring up a new idea for a middle grade book about….You guessed it, Chickens!