Playing Chicken

When we decided to get chickens I  (Mike) envisioned multiple posts chronicling in great detail the process of ordering the chickens, building their coop, picking them up, a Facebook profile for each chicken, maybe a live webcam in the coop.

Well in reality, I built the coop in the middle of winter over a few weeks, often in snowstorms, in the driveway, while packing to move! I moved the coop from our place in town to the homestead 3/4 finished and scrambled to finish it before the chickens arrived (10pm the night before ). And finally I had to work the day the chickens were to be picked up so Julie had to pick them up alone, with a 4 year old and didn’t have a chance to take pictures. So you get the story of chickens out of order. I’ll post about the building of the coop soon.

Since we have no experience with chickens we decided to order 6 ready to lay hens (teenage chickens that would be ready to start laying eggs once they were exposed to around 14 hours of day light). We ordered brown egg laying Red Sex Link from Frey’s Hatchery. This breed of chicken should give an egg a day 80% of the time.IMG_0310 2

For the coop, we knew that our barn wouldn’t be ready until well after we moved and we liked the idea of free-range chickens so we decided on a chicken tractor. A chicken tractor is basically a portable chicken coop that allows the chickens to free range but keeps them contained and safe from predators.

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The day after the chickens arrived I checked the coop and to my surprise we had OUR FIRST EGG! We couldn’t wait and scrambled it up and ate it with fresh baked bread and it was great.

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We can’t believe how bright the yolks are compared to grocery store eggs. The other hens started soon after and we were up to 4 eggs per day until a spring snowstorm threw the chickens for a loop and we were down to 1 or 2 a day. Now that the weather is improved again we’re up to 5 per day. So far the egg production is perfect for us as it allows us to eat and cook with eggs and have a few to give away to friends and family.

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More to come on chickens, we promise!

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