I can't exactly remember what it was that originally peeked my interest in keeping chickens; but after a year of reading a few books, and MANY chicken related articles, we took the plunge.
It all started this spring with the hunt for the perfect chicken coop, because if I was going to have chickens, they were going to roost in style. Well, I quickly learned that stylish chicken coops can run a pretty penny and so I lowered my standards immediately. I searched and searched Craigslist almost daily for a good deal, and finally found the PERFECT coop. It was big enough to keep a small flock, I loved the color, and the price was doable. I called Gabe immediately and we picked the coop up that day. We actually ended up buying it from someone we knew, it was so funny how God worked it out.
It has been so fun to watch Brodey with them too. We got mature birds so i don't let Brodey pick them up (though he really, really wants to). They just get a little nervous around him and Roscoe (our rooster) is a little protective of his hens. Next year we are going to raise chicks and i will definitely let Brodey become more involved with them. They will be more comfortable with him if they are raised around him. The hens we have now are like old ladies, set in their ways and they don't want to be bothered. But he enjoys feeding them bread and vegetable scraps. He even helped build the pin we made for them. He talks to them all the time; he calls all of them by their names: Annie, Lucy, Red,
What I have learned about chickens so far:
1) The hens don't appreciate it when you take their eggs. As a mother I should have known this. I learned the hard way. Picture me excitedly gathering the eggs right in front of the hens. They will chase you. Make sure you've got your rubber boots on when you head into the chicken run. Or pin, whatever you want to call it.
2) Chickens and dogs can NOT live in harmony. I will never forget the first (and only) time I thought I'd try to let the chickens free range and let Abby out at the same time. Abby is a German Short-hair, a bird dog. I don't know what I was thinking. Before I knew it feathers were flying everywhere and I was screaming and running all around the backyard (so happy we live in the sticks). I finally got Abby off and scolded her, although she was doing what bird dogs do, get birds. I ran inside to calm my nerves and figure out what i was supposed to do with what I thought was a dead bird. I went back out to get Annie and she was gone. I couldn't believe it. She survived? She certainly did and before I knew it she was right on our back deck. It was like she was calling out for help. I was dis-drought. I didn't want to touch her, this was only day two of chicken keeping, I not ready to pick them up. But after a few hours of nursing her and few days of rest, she was back to normal.Lesson learned.
I'm glad we started with mature birds. It gave us all a chance to get used to them. Next year however, we are going to raise chicks. And ducks. I can't wait.