Friday, June 17, 2011


My girl and I found four laying hens someone was giving away last week. MacGyver helped us turn an old shipping crate into a roosting box. He put it up two feet off the ground and then made us a chicken ladder. Izzy and I went to the local feed store and picked up some laying feed and some pine shavings for the roosting box. The lady let us use her little cat sized carrier because the trunk we brought only fit two chickens. She told me she also homeschools her four boys and is involved in 4-H, as well. She invited us to come join her local homeschool group. Evidently they have a  12+ adventure club. I don’t think either of my kiddos need one more thing to do, but I might look into it. It might fit the bill for our friends’ young son. He’s not big into scouts but needs an outlet like that. Since one of my parenting philosophies is to let my kiddos dip their toes in as many ponds as possible until they find their niche, we might check it out. Who knows what we might find in that pond. Everyone needs a niche. The biggest problem for us seems to be narrowing down ALL our individual interests; and we have a bunch. So far, Ike’s niche is scouts and shooting sports. Izzy’s niche is definitely horseback riding. MacGyver’s is scouts and search and rescue. Right now my niche is supporting everyone else’s niche. What are my interests if I had all the time and money in the world? Medicine, horses, quilting, painting, scrapbooking, and since you asked me today…definitely chickens. Since we brought the chickens home I haven’t been able to keep my hands or eyes off them. Izzy seems afflicted with the same illness, as well. We are as excited as little kids on Christmas morning! I have wanted chickens for a long time. I don’t know how long we will be in this house, on this property, or in these exact circumstances, but as far as I’m concerned, it couldn’t be a better time to have chickens! The lady told us that she’s been getting about two to three eggs a day and isn’t sure why all four aren’t producing. I’ll have to give it a go and see what we can find out. One is an Anacona. She’s black and brown with a little crown on top. Her name is LuLu. I’ve laid claim to her.

The other three are Red Stars, I believe. We’ve named one Nana, another one Penny. Nana has the smallest "waddle" under her throat and Penny has a crown that looks like fingers. We’re waiting until Ike gets home from scout camp to name the last one. He won’t be home for three more days and we can NOT wait to tell him all about the new chickens. We set their nesting box up in one of the outdoor kennels so the mountain lion or other varmints don’t try and get to them. We figure we’ll let them out to do a little free ranging when we’re home and once they’ve figured out where home is. I think I’ll work on cutting some ventilation holes and attaching some hinges to the top so we can get to the eggs easier. It was sort of a rushed job. It will definitely keep them safe but I’ll make some modifications as I notice the need. Izzy and I are instantly in love with our new girls. We watched them scratch and scratch at the floor of the kennel.

No name on the left; Penny on the right

Several of them found worms and then fought over who got them. We got a few chuckles out of that! Izzy cut a bunch of grass and gave them a billion little tiny snippets. I gave them some chunks of celery and they seemed to love that. All I know that they can’t eat so far is potatoes. We’re going to have so much fun learning all about chickens. Nana wasn’t feeling so well when we got home. She was pretty lethargic and even let Izzy hold her and pet her for a long time. She eventually “laid” a broken egg and the shell was thin and rubbery looking. I’m not sure what that means or what to do about it. She drank a bunch of water and came around enough to eat some fresh grass and scratch around with the other girls. We were happy to see her acting more normal. I’m still worried about her, but have a better feeling that she’ll at least make it through the night. Izzy asked me to check on her first in the morning before she did. She has already found herself attached to Nana {with Izzy on the right} and doesn’t want to find her lifeless body in the morning. I don’t blame her. Neither do I! it was so much fun to watch them first huddle in a corner and then settle into their new home and set about doing what chickens do…scratch around for bugs and plants. What fun.

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