Backyard Chickens 101

We’ve had a fun month and a half with our backyard chickens. Our 2 Buff Orpingtons and single “Easter Egger” were delivered to us on April 9th courtesy of Dare2Dream Farms, along with everything we needed to take care of them for the next month — brooder box, heat lamp, water and food feeders, chick starter food and a bale of pine shavings. I loved the ease of being able select the best breed for our family (based on the lengthy descriptions provided on the Dare2Dream site) and having these sex-and- health-guaranteed chicks delivered to our front door.

 

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Last year our town changed its ordinances so that hens are now allowed. But no roosters! Which is kind of a problem, because, while medical doctors can determine the sex and many DNA-related conditions of human fetuses, no one seems to be able to accurately predict the sex of a fertilized chicken egg. Which is the reason we purchased hatched chicks instead of eggs. Experts can tell the sex a bit better after the chick has pecked through the shell.

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But you won’t know 100% the sex of your chicks for many weeks. Emma, Chloe and Henrietta are  7 weeks, and we think that it is possible we have one rooster on our hands. I guess a lot of people end up eating the roosters, but our he/she will simply be returned to Dare2Dream Farms.

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The chicks have grown A LOT in the past month! The kids enjoy them, but it’s my husband, Greg, and I who have enjoyed them the most. We love sitting in the back yard with our cocktails watching them peck and scratch and try to fly around. Their sweet little peeps have gotten louder and deeper in the past month, but they are still so sweet and fun to be around. They poop way too much, but I guess it’s good fertilizer.

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The main question I get from friends is “when will they start laying eggs?”  I guess we’re many months away from that, but I’ll find out for sure when I attend this weekend’s chicken 101 seminar at East County Feed & Supply. This FREE chicken class will be held on Sunday, May 31st at 10:30 am here at the store, 10845 Woodside Avenue in Santee.

 

i love chickens

I would be happy to answer any questions you may have based on my limited personal experience. We bought our cute coop from Costco.com. We have been extremely happy with Dare2Dream Farms and spent about $130 on the total purchase. I have enjoyed visiting both East County Feed & Supply and City Farmer’s Nursery for supplies and advice. And I’m looking forward to East County Feed’s free chicken class on May 31st at 10:30 a.m.  Join me!

City Farmers Nursery will have a free chicken class on June 27th called “raising chickens and ducks for friends and food.” 😉

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