Chickens, it could happen to you.

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Ever owned chickens? Ever thought about owning chickens? Ever thought you would ever in your life be the owner of 13 chickens? If the answer is no, then you and I were in the same boat when our last little adventure started! Mark’s answers to these questions are probably different than yours and mine..

It all began on a Wednesday night in February, it was a normal night of sorts, came home from work, made dinner and was about to sit down for an evening of fabulous television viewing. Modern Family is on ABC Wednesday nights at 9pm, check it out if you haven’t. We think it is absolutely hilarious, I mean comic geniuses write this program if you ask me. Anyways, besides this show a personal favorite of mine for many years is also on AT THE SAME TIME! ah! CBS’s Criminal Minds…..What is a girl to do but DVR one and watch it later without the bothersome commercials of course! Thanks to modern cable box technology another major crisis in my life averted! Anywho… back to the point of the story! Mark and I don’t watch a whole lot of TV, in fact I can probably count on one hand the number of shows that we regularly follow, but I do happen to find comfort in the routine of a normal Wednesday night, knowing I get to plop on the couch for a solid two hours without really having to think about accomplishing much more than that, well that is called a mid week gift right there! But this Wednesday night, Mark had different plans. As we were cleaning up from dinner, he said to me “put your coat on, we’re going somewhere; there is something I want to show you.” What? No, it’s Wednesday! Our shows are on tonight, I protested. You see I wasn’t expecting this “surprise” little trip to be something that I was truly going to enjoy… don’t get me wrong, I LOVE MARK, please don’t let what I am about to say allow you to doubt that… but if you know him, you’ll know that he is a self proclaimed “idea man” and believe me, i hear about 90% of them, that’s a rough estimate, but I am sure there are some up there floating in his mind even as I write this that he is choosing not share; either based on the fact that he knows I will disapprove immediately or he can’t verbalize them just yet because the world isn’t ready for his genius, either way, this little adventure to I-don’t-know-where, wasn’t all that surprising to me. So I asked him about how long it would take, DVR’d BOTH of my favorite TV shows just in case and off we went.

We got in the car and 3 miles later we were there! Let me speak on behalf of all women when I tell you that I was more than a little disappointed with where we ended up, not surprised in the least, but still a little disappointed but then again I had romanticized the whole event before it even happened so I had no one to blame but myself. I of course had my normal female out of touch with reality thoughts in the short car ride there, day dreaming of perhaps some big romantic gesture waiting for me at our destination, maybe we were driving to a jewelry store, or maybe we were going to the airport, he’s packed our bags and taken care of all the details and planned a warm weather surprise vacation!…. Whoa! Slam on the brakes! Back to reality, I am too much of a planner for that scenario to work out, Mark knows that, I mean, who would take care of our pets?… My job? How dare he schedule my precious vacation time without my approval, we have things to do this summer! No, none of those could be the surprise, next thoughts were of the horror of what could be awaiting me, we could potentially show up at a motorcycle dealership, an empty warehouse he has purchased to do God knows what with! Or we could turn down some back road and end up at a farm where I find out he has arranged for us to get another animal of sorts, one that I have most certainly turned down the idea of long before now, a mini horse or cow, a goat, a lion! Oh my! You think I am exaggerating, well you’re wrong. 

Anyways as he begins to actually brake the car and turn into our destination I look up and read a sign that says “Chicks and ducks are here” Where were we, you ask? Tractor Supply Company, of course!  And to myself I thought well could be better BUT more importantly it could be worse so I’ll cut my losses and see what he’s dealing up this time… As we enter the building I can hear a soft chirping way in the back and I already know what I am here to see. It was baby chicks! He wanted to bring me to Tractor Supply to look at baby chicks! Well this is a pleasant surprise, and one that I hadn’t entertained on the drive here; however if you know me then you know I have a thing for baby animals, and that thing is I instantly fall in love!!! Damn and he knew I would! Oh he’s clever, very clever! There were only 2 red babies left!

Baby Rhode Island Red Chick via Mrs. Rachel

Tractor Supply had gotten a shipment earlier that day and they had been there and gone very fast! Apparently it’s popular for people to buy baby chicks in the late winter/early spring? Who knew? After seeing signs on the way into the store that read “chicks and ducks must be purchased in quantities of 6 or more,” I knew we weren’t going home with any that night but his plan had been successfully executed. The idea had been planted and it was sitting there like a ticking time bomb, armed with the images of freakin’-cute, fluffy, little baby chicks, oh he is GOOD.

There were so many thoughts going through my head, and not just because I have a self proclaimed anxiety problem and I over think everything, but because this was brand new territory for me. I knew a couple things; one- those chicks were adorable, and two- I have always enjoyed fresh eggs more than store bought so right there were the first pros to hit my list. (Yes I make lists; I am one of THOSE people!) The cons however were mighty. Where do we put them (keeping in mind, we DON’T live in a barn, yet (wink)) How do you care for them? How much will this cost? So many questions so I began doing what I always do when I want answers, I Googled. Surprisingly I found out that chickens (full grown) are amazingly hardy, self reliant animals, as well as fairly affectionate to humans when raised from babies. My next step was approval, legally and supportively you might say…. Can we have chickens in our neighborhood? And will Mum and Dad approve? Haha, why the parental approval? Well, we live in a house owned by them, so naturally I would have to ask, just as any tenant would have to ask a landlord if they could get baby chicks, right? That’s a pretty typical question when you rent a place… so the first, last and security is due on the 1st, I can park on the street after 5pm and where would you like me to keep my chickens? LOL. Well it’s a unique situation but still the question had to be asked. The courage to do so came to me on the way home from work one night, I was on the phone with my mum chatting about the day per usual, and as I was about to hang up I just threw it out there. I said “hey mum, what would you and dad think about Mark and me getting some chickens?” I explained why we wanted them and she was convinced but passed the phone along to my dad, who ultimately would have the final say. Now if you know my dad at all, he’s not a very out spoken man, he is a pretty quiet, hard working man who comes out with some pretty funny stuff sometimes that you might not expect. I will say this; my parents have always been supportive of me, so I sort of already knew the answer. At first my dad said, “Chickens huh? You know you have to take care of them?” I am thinking okay dad it’s a little late for this talk, I have had a dog for 4 years now. This would have been a better speech when I told you I was getting a puppy, wouldn’t it? Then he continued, but it was more thinking out loud than talking to me “well you do have 4 dogs and 2 cats that you already take care of….. so ya, chickens would be fine…” then my dad who must have realized the entire picture, that Mark and I would have 4 dogs, 2 cats, and numerous chickens on his property, sarcastically says “Oh, I don’t care go ahead and turn the place into a F****** Farm!” (Choice words edited for some readers’ discretion) He was joking of course, and it’s was actually a very funny thing to hear my dad be so candid. I mean we wouldn’t really ever turn this place into a farm, would we? NO, NO we wouldn’t …but I had to keep that idea far away from Mark!!! So as I hung up the phone and pulled into the driveway, I noticed Mark outside clearing out an area of the yard near the garage where we keep brush and other yard work waste. I said, “my dad said he doesn’t mind if we get chickens” and I realized that smiling Mark was already moving forward with the idea.

Our Baby Chicks 5 White Leg Horns Less than a week old

Damn he won, the cute chickie bomb went off, mission accomplished. And baby chicks were at our home the very next week.
Hmmm…. Ever built a chicken coop? Ha, stay tuned!

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2 Comments to “Chickens, it could happen to you.”

  1. I am wondering why you picked white leg horns. They really like to peck on each other at least when they are young. I nearly got rid of all 10 of my leg horns because i couldnt stand all the blood. they are now 6 moths old and no more hurting each other. barred rocks are the most gentle of all my chickens a great chicken for starting out. If you just want eggs WLH are the way to go because they out produce BR by far. but if you want meat br are the way to go.

    • We actually got white leg horns because we were too late to get the Rhode Island Reds that we originally set out to get. We heard that the Reds were a little more cold weather hearty and living in Maine we figured they would have to survive some tough winters. They went too fast as our local farm store, so we started out with WHL and they were great with each other, no pecking and no bullying, guess we were just lucky. We have had them since chicks and raised them in our home during the cold months and when they were large enough to go out to the coop they went in with the other birds. We were able to get some production reds and what we thought were going to be barred rocks but turned out to be another egg producing breed. We ended up when all was said and done with 12 hens and one rooster, all of which get along and live happily in “chez coop de ville” as I like to call it! We get about a dozen eggs a day, more than we can use so we sell them as well. We were never interested in meat birds, we use the fresh eggs in our dog biscuits which we also sell!

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