On a trip to the feed store to buy supplies for our goats, I made a quick detour to take a look at the chicks. We had chickens in the past and I could not wait to get our flock up and going.
“Excuse me, will you be getting any other chicks?” I asked as I looked down at some pullets. These particular babies had already entered the awkward pre-teen chicken stage. They looked a little gangly and they had lost their sweet baby chicken fluff. The salesman told me, “we aren’t unless I can get rid of these. If you take more than ten I will make you a heck of a deal.” And… the next thing I knew I was calling Handy Husband from the parking lot. “Hey Honey, can you fix up a box and a heat lamp? I will be home in about an hour and I have 15 chicks in the truck!” And just like that, we were in business.
Long-term, I would like to have a flock of about 10 chickens in a variety of breeds. My plan is to get chicks each spring. That way I am always introducing younger hens into my flock, and I can mix up the breed.
As of right now, we do not have a rooster. I have contemplated introducing one, and I might decide to in the future. The 15 chicks are all golden comets. (They are a hybrid variety where the the color of the chick corresponds with the sex, therefore they are very easy to sex. Read more about chicken genetics here. Golden comets are a smaller bird, known for their friendly disposition. They lay a nice small brown egg daily. Gigi has named all of the golden comets Sparky.
As soon as the birds were fully feathered, and more realistically when they were jumping out of the crate I was keeping them in and making a huge mess, we moved them to a more permanent coop.
This chicken palace was not my first choice for a coop. It seems like an awful lot of real estate to dedicate to chickens. But a previous occupant had already housed chickens in it, so it made sense. In addition, the thick walls, foundation, and sound door keep it well protected from predators.
We also have a lovely Brahma hen, returned to us from our original flock years ago. She does not lay, but she adds a little color to our flock. Gigi calls her Santa Claus. Santa Claus has taken up residence in the woodshed and usually roosts in there. Over the last six months, we have taken two other older, no longer laying hens.
We allow our chickens to free range. We let them out each morning when we check feed and water and close them in each evening at dusk.