Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Pets with a Purpose

I have always wanted to have chickens. I think it stems from having read a lot of Laura Ingalls Wilder books as a kid. And watching Little House on the Prairie TV shows. I never wanted to slaughter and eat them, I just wanted to toss them grain from my apron, watch them cluck and peck around my yard, and collect their brown eggs in that same apron. Ok, I don't ever throw grain from my apron and I'm pretty sure I've never collected them in one either, but I do love to watch them peck around my yard. They are fabulous pets and I've loved having them. I thought I would show everyone just what my "chicken set-up" looks like and introduce you to my babies.

Sadly, these pictures were all taken when my babies still lived here. Thanks to recent developments, they are now living elsewhere. I'm working hard on trying to change the code in our city and bring my chickens home. You can read about our local paper's take on my fight here. But come with me for a tour down memory lane and I show you what life used to be like . . .

When some people think about chicken coops they think about a bunch of old weathered boards nailed together in some haphazard fashion emitting a foul stench. I'm sure there are some chicken coops like this, but it doesn't have to be that way, and ours certainly isn't.

Here is our coop - designed and built by my Hubby.

Isn't my little red barn cute? The "corral" is for when we want to keep them chickens locked up, like if we are on vacation, or in the morning before we let them out. We learned, rather painfully, that the chickens need to be kept locked up at night or the raccoons will get them. As for the smell, it isn't bad if you take care of it and change the bedding frequently - especially in the summer.

The other building in the background is our shed, it has since been painted red to match the coop. Doesn't it just look like I live on a little farm? I don't. Just over that fence in the background is my friend Kari's house.

I loved to go out and collect their eggs, usually without my apron but whatever. Sometimes, when I open up the "egg door" this is what I see:
Oops! Sorry Jellybean, you're not done yet, I'll come back later.

They are supposed to lay their eggs in the nest boxes up above but they always choose to lay in the corner on the floor. Whatever floats their little chicken boats! As long as they keep laying I'm happy. Sometimes, however, they take liberties with my leniency and I find eggs like this:

This is the box where we keep the extra hay. (Actually it is a little wading pool that has a lid) I sometimes find eggs here. This has got to stop! I'll put your little chicken bottoms in time-out if you don't stop that!

My kids love to collect eggs, too. Well, not the teenagers, but my teenagers don't love anything these days. Aren't those eggs pretty? The girl holding them is pretty, too, trust me on this one.

When my chickens aren't busy laying eggs they just wander the yard eating bugs and looking cute.
Hey wait! That isn't my yard, that's my deck! Shoo! Get off my deck chickens - my deck doesn't need any fertilizer! What were they thinking? I wonder how they got the idea that coming on the deck was ok? I'm sure that it isn't because I feed them oats on the deck - I would never do that!

By the way, that is Lacey in the front, Jellybean is the all black one and the gold colored one is Goldilocks.
This is Carina and Kaden feeding my babies - Cocoa, Gumdrop, and Chocolate. They love to come and eat out of our hands - they get the best food this way. These babies are new this year, they are now about 17 weeks old. Chickens usually start laying at about 20 weeks so we should start getting eggs from the babies soon. I can't wait!

I hope you have enjoyed your tour of Jill's Crazy Chicken Farm. If you'll excuse me, I'm going to need to go put those chickens in time out - they are back on the deck!!



The Woolner Family said...

Hey Jill, it's your old neighbor, Amber. I'm trying to remember, didn't Jim have dogs? Don't they wake people up and smell bad too? Whatev. Good for you! In a town like ours, I think you have a fair shake--everyone loves animals.

Lindsay said...

Okay. I must go out and get myself a chicken. Really - are they that much fun?? I've heard they are mean....but again, that's just what I heard - probably in order to keep my kids away from plucking their feathers. :-)

Jill said...

Amber, no Jim doesn't have dogs, he HATES dogs and hates all the neighborhood dogs (and cats, and kids, and people).

Lindsay, Yes, chickens are that much fun. If you raise them from chicks they are very tame and not mean at all. Of course, they all have different personalities so you never know, but mine have all been very friendly.


Maria S., Gresham said...

Almost cried when I read the article last night. I would love to learn how to care for some chickens in my back yard, not sure my husband is quite on the same page though. People in the apartments that border our yard have at least one, I caught a glimpse of one thru the hedge, and she was BEAUTIFUL. I don't think it's annoying at all.

Nancy M. said...

I loved the tour of your chicken coop. Your chickens are beautiful!

I don't understand how hens can wake anyone up. Its roosters that make all the noise. I should know, I have four of them. Hens just cluck, and that's not loud at all.

Chickens Rock!

Lauren and Jeremy smith+(Cybil, Bazil and Manuel) said...

We saw your article in the Oregonian and we were very upset by your situation.  Chickens are NOT noisey animals and if cared for, as yours clearly are, they do not smell.  Why is this man being so mean to you and your family? He sounds like a bitter old man with too much time on his hands. Is there a petition that we can sign or some way we can help?

Rea said...

Hi Jill! I just stumbled across your site this evening and have had a blast reading all your entries. I also have backyard chickens and nasty neighbors. So far we are still flying under the radar...Our girls should (if you go by the exact day-like chickens do that!) start laying TODAY! I'm not sure they are ready yet though. I hope you don't mind, I linked your site on my blog as one I like to read. Feel free to drop by and say hi! Rea