Updated: Mar 5, 2018
Don't underestimate the delight of a baby chicken until you've spent time with one in your hand. When you own them there is a joyful responsibility that comes with getting them to egg-laying adulthood. We just love our baby birds...
Although many people don't like them because of the sheer amount of excrement they produce, chickens are truly amazing, polite, beautiful creatures...and all of that feces? With some aging IT MAKES GREAT FERTILIZER.
Honestly, there is a huge amount of satisfaction in raising a bird from being a week old to an egg laying hen. Have you ever closed your eyes and fully considered the miracle that the creation of an egg every 24 hours is? How on earth can their bodies create that nutritious, versatile, fully shelled egg in such a short time? Every single time I get an egg out of the corner of my outdoor shop (where our chicken has chosen to lay) I marvel at what an amazing feat it was for "Duckie" complete that process. She comes close when we get the egg, almost as if she wants some appreciation for laying it, and we give that to her every time. "Thank you for the beautiful egg Duckie," my youngest daughter says, "We love you."
While we will always remember our dear Wendy, who we unfortunately lost to a predator last year, I can't wait to add Snowflake (Delaware), Fancy (Americana), and Beatrice (Cuckoo Moran) to the Duckie's brood.
A few words about fully grown chickens:
1. Free ranging is ideal, you save money on feed, provides a more diverse, choice-based diet, keeps chickens entertained and happy.
2. They are amazing creatures of habit, all I do is open the coop in the morning, close it at night and keep some supply of water and grains available. When Duckies does leave her area if the gate is open I simply walk her back across the lawn and she goes right back in.
3. They are social creatures, when I walk towards Duckie calling her name she often sits down with her wings tucked so I can pick her up and "talk" with her, it will be so fun to see her interact with her new sisters here in about 5 weeks.
4. They do poop alot, which is fine if its in a designated area. Before adding chickens to your life, you need to have a good plan for where they will sleep, range and defacate.
5. Farm fresh eggs don't need to be refrigerated, come in many colors and are truly fantastic.
I purchased this coop from amazon for around $100 (price has gone up!)
Is it constructed from the highest quality materials? No. Is it built to last for 20 years? Doubt it. Is it 100% water tight? Definitely not. Does it provide my birds an easy to put-together, secure place to sleep at a reasonable price? YOU BET. This coop will be great home to up to 3 birds I'd say and it gives me a great base to work from and add to when I want to increase it's capacity. For free range chickens this coop has been more than solid, 18 months old now, it's been moved twice, my chicken walk right in here every night around sundown. Perfect coop for free range chickens who need a safe place to sleep.
The lessons our kids can learn from raising chickens, the daily reminder of one of the many miracles of God's creation they provide and the joy of having birds in your yard are all great reasons to give chickens a try. At $5 each, the cost to benefit ratio is very strong as well.
If you are looking at getting chickens give the above factors some thought and have a plan if it doesn't work out.
We love our chickens and believe you will too as long as you put some thought into how they'll fit into your life and how you can give them a great one.