Talkin’ Chicken

Last year our city changed its ordinance to allow for backyard chickens. After months of admiring cute chicken coops in Costco and watching the price of eggs go up and up, we decided to take the plunge into the world of urban farming.

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We’ve had our chicks for only three weeks, so I am certainly no expert. But I am adding hen-keeper to the list of personal experiences I’ll chronicle here. Learn with me!

 

So, let’s start from the beginning when the kids were hopeful that the Easter Bunny would bring REAL eggs for hatching chicks. That did sound like the sweetest idea. Except once I looked into it I found that hatching eggs via incubator can be very difficult, and you run the risk of accepting unborn roosters. La Mesa, like most cities in San Diego County, forbids roosters.

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The Easter Bunny did bring this adorable chicken coop, which he found for $215 on Costco.com.

Costco is currently sold out of our coop, but you can find it and other great options on sites like Overstock.com, Bed Bath & Beyond and Hayneedle.com. I guess this backyard chicken business really has gone mainstream!

Just as there are numerous places to purchase coops, there are a number of ways to obtain baby chicks. They can be delivered by mail, you can find them at area feed stores or, if you want an extra-special experience, have them hand-delivered to your home.

This is the moment we first met "Emma," "Chloe" and "Henrietta"

This was the moment we first met one-week-old “Emma,” “Chloe” and “Henrietta”

We chose Dare2Dream Farms because, well, just check out their website, and you’ll probably see why.

Our chicks were hand delivered by Dare2Dream Farms

Our chicks were hand delivered by Dare2Dream Farms

Not only do they share everything you need to know about raising chickens, they profile the different breeds of chickens they raise, telling you which will be the most kid-friendly as well as what you can expect from each breed egg-wise. Dare2Dream guarantees the health and sex of their chicks, and they hand-deliver the chicks along with everything you need to take care of them.

the Dare2Dream guys set up our brooder box, water and food feeders and gave us a brief run down on what to do with our 1 week old chicks

the Dare2Dream guys set up our brooder box, water and food feeders and gave us a brief run down on what to do with our 1 week old chicks

It has been three weeks, and the chicks have three more weeks of living in their brooder box with a heat lamp in our garage. It has been easy and fun caring for them. They don’t stink, although they do poop A LOT. We just clean the pine shavings regularly and scatter the “used” shavings around plants as compost.

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Our chicks have changed a lot since we got them. Emma has sprouted and seems nearly twice the size of her buff orpington sister, Chloe. “She” avoids being handled and makes a lot of noise when you catch “her.” Emma is so different from the other two that I’m wondering if she might be a he.

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Chloe enjoys being held, and will fall asleep in the palm of your hand. She is learning to roost, and Mal loves giving her new things to perch on.

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Henrietta, our easter egger, is the calmest of the three. When she starts laying eggs, they are supposed to be colored pinks, blues and greens.

 

We’re just now running low on the chicken crumbles that came in our original brooder package from Dare2Dream Farms, so I’ll be visiting a local feed store to purchase more. City Nursery is nearby, and looks like the right sort of place for us. You don’t have to own chickens to enjoy a visit!

 

If you are considering getting chickens, be sure to call the planning department of your city to make sure they area allowed. The City of San Diego amended its municipal code in 2012 to allow for the owning of backyard chickens. La Mesa and Santee did the same last year.

 

So that’s about if for now. I’ll be back with another installment of Let’s Talk Chicken soon. 🙂 🙂 🙂

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So long for now from Henrietta & Chloe (background)

 

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