The Great Eggsperiment: Take 2
This post is brought to you by Kathleen Osgood, one of our Senior National Account Managers.
Several of you may remember a blog post from nearly a year back when I expressed my undying love for eggs and my desire to have chickens of my own. Well friends, the day of reckoning finally arrived, I pulled the trigger and “got me some chickens.”
Before diving right in to the story of how I came to own my own fowl, it is important to note that I obsessed for MONTHS over the type of chickens, chicks vs. pullets (for you chicken newbies that is babies vs. young stock), where I would keep them, how and what I would feed them, what would try to eat them… you get the drift. I bought a chicken raising book. I poured over internet forums. I relentlessly tortured Joe, our resident chicken expert. I’m an over planner and I wanted to make darn sure that I had the BEST chickens in the BEST coop with the BEST dietary plan to ensure the world’s greatest eggs.
This is how I ended up with “used” Craigslist birds who are hanging out in the Spartan overhang of my barn with a refurbished tack trunk as a nesting box. That’s right folks, I didn’t go designer after all. In fact, I was able to build everything I needed with materials I already had in the barn from past projects. An old compost sifting screen became the door. 2 x 4s leftover from a raised bed project became perches and the studs to hang the door. I even had old chicken wire from a pea/ bean fence that I built two years back to enclose the front wall of the coop. The only hardware I had to pick up was some hinges and a latch for the door. Boom! While I want the best for my birds, I had a budget, and I stuck to it. I love when that happens!
My “econo-flock” came from a few towns over. A nice family thought it would be fun to teach their kids animal husbandry, so they bought a batch of 25 mixed breed chicks from a mail order catalog. Apparently, about 50% of their get grew into roosters so they were left with 13 hens (side note: pay a little extra when you are buying chicks to get “sexed” birds if you want to ensure all female birds). Well, since 13 hens actively laying produce WAY too many eggs for a young family of 4, they were looking to downsize, which is where I come in. A few Saturdays back I stuffed a few $20 bills in my pocket, threw a big cardboard box in to the back of my sedan, and drove over to pick up my new birds. The girls were hanging around their backyard so we just grabbed those closest to us. I ended up with 3 Rhode Island Reds, a White Rock and a Barred Rock. There was a lovely black hen wandering about, and I was secretly hoping she would venture close enough that she could be added to my flock, but the box was full with 5, so I was on my way.
*Special note: Drive slowly when you have chickens in a cardboard box in your backseat!
Long story short, the chickens are home, they are happily laying lots of eggs (I’m getting 4 to 5 per day), and I’m kicking myself for not acting sooner! They run to the front of the coop expectantly, making their adorable chicken “brrrrrr” noises every time I open the back door of my house. They love kitchen scraps, dirt baths, trying to knock their water dish over and hiding in the thicket of prickers when I want to lock them up for the night. They dislike grapefruit and avocado rinds and aren’t sure what to make of my cat. In short, they are awesome. Enjoy the pictures!