Been a bit of a dry spell on updates with regards to our brood of chickens, so though it best to give a great big shout out to my peeps! (yes I said it)
Well, initial thoughts are these… they are all just fascinating to watch! I’d say the only one that has actually gotten prettier since being a chick is the Americauna (Easter Egger). She has got the most colorful plumage of the lot, plus the decorative feathers around her jowls really add interest versus distracting from her. She’s also the most friendly of the bunch, being a more placid bird.
The Cuckoo Morans (the black ones) are by far the biggest as well as highest on the pecking order. They are not fans of being held, but will relax the longer you hold them. They are also the most curious of the bunch and will always be the first to inspect something new that comes into their territory.
Lastly the Rhode Island Reds, have a great color, are a bit milder than the Cuckoo’s, but tend to be the last to the party.
All the birds recognize us on sight and look forward to us refreshing their wading pool (helps to keep them cool in the triple digit heat). All of them now recognize that we will provide them scraps as treats on a regular basis. Watermelon is their favorite 😉 and boy can these gals poop! Surprisingly though the straw does a wonderful job of neutralizing any odors. Right now I clean out the straw every 2-3 weeks as needed.
They have also been remarkably quiet. My initial worry about having chickens in an urban setting was the potential for disturbing our neighbors. But for the most part the ladies have had impeccable behavior! The local dogs and wild birds make more of a clatter than these girls ever do. So my concerns have been placated.
We’ve got another 8 weeks before we start seeing our first eggs, but that’s fine. Its just as enjoyable taking care of the birds and watching them learn about their world around them. Eventually the plan will be to allow them free range of the entire yard during the day (after we’ve secured a few areas in the yard and clip their wings), but for now they seem happy and healthy!
This was our first foray into raising chickens. We’re bound and determined to make our urban farm work.
We were worried originally about the legal issues with raising the chickens. Our yard is slightly under the minimum square foot requirement, but the workaround is getting permission from your neighbors (which we got) and keeping the coop/run at least 80 linear feet from the nearest neighbor.. check! Figured the chatty Chihuahua’s in the neighborhood make more of a ruckus then the chickens will, specially since there’s not going to be a rooster. Local regulations differ, so check your area about local code regulations regarding raising fowl.
We decided to go to a local seminar on raising chickens and that really helped open our eyes! The eggs you see in stores are surprisingly so far removed from the farm to your dinner plate, its pretty incredible. I highly recommend finding such a seminar or possibly visiting a local farm (organic/free range) to better understand the dynamics of it all. The numerous breeds, the variations of eggs, etc. will leave you flabbergasted.
When planning on the coop, there were plenty of pre-built offerings available at the local feed stores. I made the decision to design our own by scouting ideas online via visual reference and taking cues from designs I liked. I then sketched up an idea and proceeded to build the coop/run. The color scheme comes from the wife, who has a good eye for color!
You can view the progression of the build in the following video we put together..
Ultimately we came down to getting ourselves 5 chickens in all (originally planned on 3). We got two Rhode Island Reds, two Cuckoo Morans, and 1 Ameraucana chick. Giving us brown, chocolate and blue/green eggs respectively. It was a fun learning experience!
You can see the new brood here..
We plan on growing some vines over the run to help shade and protect the chickens from flying predators as well as lay some stone around the periphery to discourage burrowing animals.