Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Chicken Farmers - What?? Who??

Our house is a never ending wealth of hair brained ideas. The latest being one of our biggest. We had a discussion the other day. Don't ask me how we got on the crazy-train idea of chicken raising. Maybe when I was visiting the RiddleLove blog (which happens to be my maiden name, no, not the 'Love' part.) All of the sudden, the idea of having chickens to raise, just a few mind you, seemed feasible. As if we don't have enough to worry about with 2 ornery dogs, 3 fat cats and 1 dwarf hamster (we won't mentioned the fish that made it 6 months and then went belly up.) 

But think of the wealth of information the little one could pick up (not to mention ME), consider the homeschool topics we could study (nature, science, animal husbandry) as well as the responsibility she could be building. Yes, I know she could to that by helping take care of the animals we already have. WORK with me here!

(Note: She does already help feed and walk the dogs. Just wanted to mention in case you thought I might be slacking in my parenting... *smile*)

The little one and I excitedly talked about raising chickens, and looking up pictures of chickens on Murray McMurray Hatchery and Meyer Hatchery. Then we were off and running with the idea of building a chicken coop and OH NO, it would need to be a chicken tractor instead. Hubby, over in the corner was saying 'We are not going to get chickens!' He knows that sometimes the work will fall on him. We ignored him. We discussed buying wood to build a chicken coop and the next thing you know hubby is saying 'You don't need to buy wood, I can find enough to use around here to build one.' Didn't he just say we aren't getting chickens? Talk about wishy-washy. 

To be fair, I don't think he is sold on the idea yet, and I'm still thinking through it; the logistics of ordering them, raising them, taking care of them, feeding, watering, cleaning, the local laws (we are zoned agricultural but are chickens even allowed?), the amount of daily time necessary and how much food (ie: eggs, since we're NOT eating these chickens) they will produce for us, which are the best summer or winter layers, if you need a rooster or not for just eggs (no babies.) So much to learn! I'm determined, if we decide to become chicken farmers, to be prepared and know the risks and commitment ahead of time.

I ordered several books from the library to learn as much as we can:
Barnyard in Your Backyard
Keep Chickens!
Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens 
Chicken Coops
Chick Days

Stay tuned as we figure this out. The Meyer Hatchery catalog just came and I'm like a kid in a candy store. Yellow chicks, black chicks, brown? White eggs, brown eggs, blue? One of each?? So many choices!

Update: The little one found the chicken catalog this morning.

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