I’m often asked various questions about my chickens so I thought I’d write a post answering all of the questions I usually get in hopes that it will prove helpful.
Where did you get your chickens?
I ordered my chickens from mypetchicken.com. I chose my breeds based on heat tolerance, reliable egg laying, and the color of their eggs. The website allows you to narrow your search based on pretty much anything you like. The chickens were shipped to me the day they hatched in a lined box with air holes and a heating pad. We picked them up from the post office the very next day and brought them home.
Where did you keep them when they were chicks?
They lived inside until they were fully feathered out, in a storage bin with litter material in the bottom and a heating lamp up on top.
What color are your chicken’s eggs?
Pictured are the colors of eggs I get from my hens. Egg color is dependent on species and individual birds. A little further in this post I will tell you the breeds and what color of egg each one lays.
How Many Eggs Do You Get Each Week?
Some of our chickens started laying at 4 months and they were all laying by 6 months (If I remember correctly) and we usually get 6 eggs every day, every now and then just five. Usually, the only time egg production is low is when the weather has been particularly miserable, which I can sympathize with. But most days, my refrigerator looks about like this. This is what happens when you get 3 1/2 dozen eggs per week. It’s a great problem to have and allows me to share eggs with neighbors. Note: I don’t wash my eggs until right before using them, if they are dirty. This helps them to stay fresh longer.
What Types Of Chickens Do You Have?
I have six chickens.
Their names are: Granny, Glammy, Red, Boss, Zeb, and Fluffy Bottoms.
The types of chickens I have are:
- 1 Rhode Island Red (Red) – light brown eggs
- 1 Barred Plymouth Rock (Zeb) – light brown eggs
- 1 Australorp (Boss) – light brown eggs
- 2 Easter Egger (Glammy and Granny) – One lays green eggs and the other blue
- 1 Golden Buff (Fluffy Bottoms) – dark brown eggs
What do they eat?
I feed my chickens pellet feed with a calcium supplement mixed in as well as a mix of dried corn, oats, nuts, and other seeds as scatter on the ground each day. All of my commercial feed is purchased from Tractor Supply and I usually buy 400-500 pounds of feed at a time so I only go two or three times a year at most. Pictured is 350 pounds. I shoot for more but if it’s been a long day I stop once I get tired of picking up 50 pound sacks. I would estimate they go through about $15 of feed a month. Most folks sell some eggs to cover the feed but that would require me leaving the house more than I already have to, so I just give eggs away to neighbors. I enjoy that more, anyway.
Every morning my chickens get a bowl of hot oatmeal and on pretty days I walk around the yard and fill up a basket with clover, grass, etc as a treat. They also love apples and kitchen scraps. As one friend put it when I first got chickens, “They are pretty much goats with beaks.”
What Type Of Enclosure Do You Have?
For their pen, we closed in the kid’s old swingset and made it into a large chicken coop.
And by “We” I mean my father in law and husband. But I’m sure they couldn’t have done it without my emotional support. 🙂
Nesting Boxes and Roosting Area
Two Lowe’s buckets are bolted down to the top of the slide area as nesting boxes and beneath what used to be the slide area we have an enclosed roosting space, with a wall in front of it to further block out the elements. The center of this wall is removable so that I can get in there and clean out the nesting area from time to time. The coop is enclosed on one end (sides and top) so only part of it is subject to rain, snow, and the like. However, in winter I enclose all sides with construction grade plastic (as pictured above) to block cold winter drafts, leaving only the end with the door as the area where fresh air can pass through.
Are Chickens A Lot Of Trouble?
Chickens are, by far, the easiest critter I’ve ever had. I give them fresh water, food, and scatter daily and check their eggs. From time to time I rake out all of the straw or pine needles and replace it with fresh. I do this every couple of months but even then it just makes me feel better and is not necessarily needed. (I use pine needles during warmer months because they are in abundance where I live). Other than gathering the eggs and bringing them treats, that is about it!
That covers most of the questions I can think of but if you have others feel free to leave them in the comments. I’m glad to help if I can!
Christy, I have 30 hens and 2 roosters. I’ve raised some from chicks and had some raised by their mommas. I love it when they are raised by their mommas….less work from me and it’s a joy to watch them being taught. I honestly will sit in my cart for up to 2 hours sometimes just watching them (mine are free range….I have 186 acres and they have access to 4 of those acres, we have cattle and rabbits too). They bring me such joy and peace and when they are sitting around me “trilling” there are times they almost make me cry. My chickens have the best life and the most wonderful days……they only have one bad day…..the day they go to freezer heaven. My friend took hers to be “processed” and I went and watched and nearly died watching someone handle them who didn’t love them. I couldn’t do that to them. I pray and cry (literally) over every chicken I butcher. I pick them up gently and talk to them as I walk them over to the cone. Never have joy doing it but the one thing I know is they are being handled with love and I am gentle with them and as I gently turn them upside down, I have literally had them talking back and forth with me (they don’t know what’s about to happen and I’m fine with that). Only extra roosters and hens that don’t lay but one or two eggs a week go to freezer heaven. The roosters make the most incredible broth, and one of my hens weighed out at 8 lbs. To those who say you can’t keep them protected, that’s true about free range, but my pen and coop are locked down with hardware cloth and I buried it in the ground about 3 feet out and we have never had ANYTHING get into the pen or coop. Chicken wire is made to keep chickens out of gardens, it will not keep predators from your chickens. Only a low gauge numbered hardware cloth will do that. It’s painful to work with but I go to sleep knowing my girls and guys will be there in the morning. I never thought I would become a “chicken lady”…..but I have to say I have found the animal that brings me great joy.
I love how likeminded we are! Reading this was like talking to an old friend that I’ve never met before. Bless you and thank you so much for sharing your heart and wisdom!
Yay! Just in time. My hubby surprised me this morning and told me that he’s bought me a Coop as my Mother’s Day gift. So now I’m in full chicken research mode. 🙂
I’m so excited. We had chickens when we lived in Alabama but we ended up moving away before they started laying. Where we have lived since had a “No offensive pet” clause. However that expired a few years back and there are 4 other families in our neighborhood with backyard chickens now.
What a wonderful gift!!! I hope you enjoy a bountiful of eggs from your new girls!!
The chickens are beautiful and so are the eggs they hatch. I wish I could do it myself! But being in the city, and the extremely cold winters. I don’t think it could be done! At times I wish I was raised in the south like the rest of the family. My father moved to Cleveland, Ohio from Elizabethton, TN (near Johnson City /Bristol) at 17. Everyone else returned to the south, but him. I love your webpage, it reminds of family and what they call ‘home’; especially the recipes. Many are the same exact ones I learned growing up!