Last week we embarked on a rather exciting adventure that we've been talking and dreaming about for the past couple of years! I first heard about backyard chickens on Minnesota Public Radio a few years ago. At that time, the idea of chickens clucking around the yard and fresh eggs on my counter was very intriguing to me and it threw me in to a journey of researching and planning for the day when I could have a small flock of my own. Dreams of hens even played a role in our house buying decisions. As we now approach our second summer in our beloved house, we decided that it was time for the adventure to begin! So, this past Thursday, I brought home 5 one-day-old chicks from Egg|Plant Urban Farm Supply in St. Paul.
After spending a week getting acquainted, I can say that we are quite taken with them! So, without further adieu, please allow me to introduce "The Ladies."
Henrietta (Retta for short). She's a Buff Orpington and the leader of the flock. Bold and confident. She's been the first to eat, the first to try to fly, and the first to boldly run right up to the cat and look him in the eye.
Then there's Birdie our Ameraucana. She's a fluffy lady who will lay bluish-green eggs (hence her name...) She's a chatty one and she has a fascination with carrying their paper bedding around in her mouth.
Trudy. Timid and sweet Trudy. She's a Silver-Laced Wyandotte. We often find her by herself, close to the heat source, just hanging out. She's a gem.
This here is Chicken, with a capital C. She's a Barred Rock (or Plymouth Rock). She and Henrietta have been the first to experiment with the joys of perching. They are often found competing for the perfect perching spots on our hands.
And finally, we have Chicken's partner in crime, Pollo (Spanish for chicken). She's a curious one who is not hesitant to peck anything, including a cat's nose!
Siah, our handsome feline, is quite taken with the ladies as well. He's rather an odd cat and has yet to swat at or pounce on our or feathery friends. We let them spend a little time together each day getting use to each other, with hopes of them some day co-existing without trouble. We, obviously, are not leaving them alone together, even though we have been quite pleased with how gentle Siah has been with them.
After a week with The Ladies, I must say that I thoroughly love being a chick mama! They are hilarious little creatures who love to climb all over each other and often fall asleep while standing up (and then falling over). I'm excited to watch them grow!
For those of you interested in finding out more about raising backyard chicks, there are a couple of books that have been a tremendous help to me! Keeping Chickens with Ashley English and The Essential Urban Farmer. Our local garden and urban farm supply shops have been super helpful as well with ordering, info, and supplies. Your local Extension office will probably also have useful info to offer.
I am by no means an expert, as there's only so much a book can offer you when it comes to raising a living thing and before last Thursday I had only held a chicken once before in my life. However, I must say that what I've read so far was very helpful in preparing me for what we've experienced over the past week! Here's to many more weeks of chicken adventures to come!