Last year, a few days after Easter, our family brought home 5 baby chicks from Farm & Fleet. It has become one of my favorite projects we have done at this house. Dave and I played with the idea of getting chickens for a while before we brought home the adorable little balls of fluff . We had no farming/chicken experience at all.. But we did have smart phones and watched a lot of YouTube tutorial videos, soooo, we thought (still think!) we can do anything!
Our friends called one morning and told us Farm & Fleet had their baby chicks in. We went to go look (not thinking we were going to be bringing any home). About an hour later, we were driving home with a “peeping” (!!!) white cardboard box with little air holes on the side.
We got them all set up in my office in a big bin with their food, water, a heat light, and bedding. The breeds we brought home were 1 Barred Rock (the black one, brown eggs, our favorite!), 1 Araucana (the white one, blue eggs), and 3 Road Island Reds (the brown ones, brown eggs). That first night Gianna and I about fell asleep in my office because we couldn’t stop watching them hop around eating, drinking, and then dropping to the ground asleep (yes, baby chicks will just drop and fall asleep wherever they are, it’s weird). For the few weeks the chicks were in the house, the girls and I ate lunch in my office with them… We also read our bedtime stories with the chicks… Remember me saying I had no farming/chicken experience? I think it’s a safe assumption that the chickens that laid the eggs at the grocery store did not have lunch dates and bedtime stories when they were babies.. 🙂
The next thing we (Dave) did was build a coop. We put the coop in our vegetable garden because of lack of space in our backyard and we wanted the chickens to eat the bugs in the garden. Dave designed the coop- I love how it turned out!! The little details he added made a huge difference. The roof has some clear panels to let in extra light and solid ones for shade. The clear ones really help out in the winter when the days are shorter and they don’t play outside much. Another helpful thing is Dave made a stainless steal tray to cover the floor in the roosting area. This makes cleaning really easy and sanitary. He also added a rope system for opening and closing the door without having to go into the coop. Adding up materials, we are guessing this coop cost us around $300 to make. My husband tends to overbuild things.. I’m not complaining at all! But, this coop is probably stronger than our garage! So you don’t need to spend that much. Farm & fleet has some cute coops for about $150.
Chickens grow incredibly fast!
My girls are all grown up! I keep chicken feed in their coop at all times but they mostly eat bugs, grass, and whatever else they find in the yard. I also bring them out treats of fruits, vegetables, seed, and sometimes oatmeal. They love plain oatmeal!
Back yard chicken eggs are really good! We keep chickens as pets, entertainment, bug control, and for the eggs. Once they started laying at about 5 months old we were so excited! These are pictures of our chicken egg and a store bought egg next to each other. The left side is our chickens, the right, the store. It’s a bummer the colors are not showing up so great in the pictures. The color of the yolk on our chickens egg is a really vibrant orange in person while the store bought is pale yellow. Another thing I notice is the whites are much clearer that the store bought eggs. The yolk also sits up higher than the store bought ones. The plumpness shows the difference between a fresh egg and one that has been sitting around for a while. Something I found interesting is over the winter the yolk color changed. It went from bright orange to pale yellow. The chickens were mainly eating the chicken feed from the store during the winter. Once they were back to eating bugs and grass the yolks went back to a deep orange color.
This is the coop today and the beautiful eggs we get from our chickens. Each chicken lays just about every day. We get enough eggs for our family and lots to share with the neighbors. I am so glad we took home our little balls of fluff from Farm & Fleet that day!!!