It’s been over a year since we decided to raise chickens! This spring, we’ve added a few more chicks and a bunny to our growing brood. While there have been ups and downs (such is life – even the lives of chickens), I’m so happy with our current situation. I’ve learned a ton and eating fresh eggs has been amazing. The icing on the cake is that the kiddos just adore their outdoor ‘pets’ and (hopefully) I won’t have to worry about adding an inside animal for a while.
When we brought the chicks home last year, I was stressed like every new mother. I kept them in the garage, under heat lamps, and I swear I didn’t get much sleep those first few weeks. Once the chickens were outside in their coop, we realized that one of our ‘chicks’ was a rooster. Then Baby, the little runt of the bunch, didn't thrive and we lost her – that was so hard for all of us.
Over the last two months, we’ve lost two of our top layers – Peanut & Jelly– to a hawk. I’d been letting the chickens free range while the kids are outside playing. The kids’ presence and the noise from their ride-on toys keep the hawks away. After the kids come in, I had been giving the chickens some extra time, because they are so happy out in the yard. Well, I learned a hard lesson and I feel so guilty!!
In April we added nine more chicks. This time I was much more confident and knew more about the breeds that I wanted to add to our brood. We got two Buff Orpingtons, three Rhode Island Reds, three Barred Rock and one mystery chick – I think it’s a White Leghorn. Each of these breeds are good layers and should (we hope) socialize nicely with the other chickens.
We also adopted a cute bunny named Larry from the SPCA. We got him just in time for Easter and he is adorable. He has his own hutch inside the chickens’ run. At first, the ‘girls’ were not too sure about Larry. I’d done my research before adopting, so I knew he needed socialization and thought he would be a great roommate for the chickens, once they got used him. Those first few weeks were interesting. I was finding eggs in unusual places in the coop. Apparently, our curious Larry was shaking up their normal routine. But it’s been pretty much back to normal lately.
Now that the weather is warmer here, we’ve introduced the new chicks to the coop. So far so good! Hoping that by this time next year we will be able to supply our neighbors with fresh eggs too!