We bought our chicks back in May, as week old pullets.  Three cute as can be little chicks, a Rhode Island Red, a Cuckoo Maran, and an easter egger who Zoë named Louise, Princess and Flower.  From my research, I learned that chickens raised from week old pullets are friendlier and bond better with humans.  They lived in the spare room in a big box with a heating lamp for the first 8 weeks or so.  
I learned a few things raising chicks- they are noisy and they make a huge mess. Every time I thought I had secured their water dish, they found new ways to knock it over.   Don't get me wrong, it is worth it.  But it was more work than I thought it would be.  
Also, chicks are escape artists.  Our chicks learned to break out of their box.  I don't know if you have ever tried to catch three tiny chicks (one behind the dresser, one under the bed, one boldly running around the floor).  It is not easy.  But like parenting, you recognize that they won't be little forever and you won't always be squeezing yourself under the bed to try and save one.

Time flew by and Sundown finally finished the hen house.  I admit, I was worried how it would turn out.  I gave him rough notes from my chicken care class and he drew up a quick sketch.  It turned out awesome and he got to use up some of the old wood from our former kitchen cabinets (my husband's inability to throw stuff out will be the subject of a future blog).  Eight weeks after they arrived at our house, the chicks moved into their new place- just in time for us to leave for Colorado.

This is where poor planning almost bit us in the ass.  See Sundown finished the hen house literally the night before we left for Colorado- as in he finished around 11pm and we left for the airport at 4am.  So we had no time to test it and make sure that the chickens would be fine before leaving them (and my wonderful sister Reina- who was chicken sitting for us).  Come 4am we put the chicks in the henhouse and said goodbye.  

Well, that evening my sister calls.  She got to our house after work and....Flower is gone.  The gate to the coop was closed, there were no feathers indicating that a critter had got at her- just a missing chicken.  Being out of state, there was nothing we could do.  Reina thought maybe the chick had managed to fly over the top of the henhouse fence (which we thought unlikely because it was four feet high).  She fashioned a cover from some leftover plywood and tried to think of a way to tell Zoë that she lost one of her beloved chicks.

Turns out- the chick was hiding.  We think that she managed to squeeze a tiny opening in the gate door.  According to Reina, Flower came back a little, very hungry, but otherwise ok.  As long as the gate was shut tightly, there would be no more escapees.  

The chickens adjusted to their new digs and we began the wait for our fresh eggs.

It was a very long wait.

It wasn't until November that they began laying.  Louise laid the first egg.  It was a pretty brown egg.  We were so excited.  Seeing as Sundown built to the coop, he got to eat the first egg.  It wasn't long before the chickens all started laying.  Louise and Princess lay brown eggs, Flower lays green ones.  

Aunt Pat
1/20/2012 01:36:24 am

I raised 350 chickens one year in Kansas. We butchers 300 and kept 50 for layers. 25 turned out to be roosters. We gave them to an old lady and they followed her around like puppies! I love fresh country eggs. Once you get used to them the store eggs taste like nothing! Love ya


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