Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Raising Chickens ... Beyond the First Year

We had decent luck with our first batch of chicks -- all survived to adulthood, but we lost two to a dog -- the pretty Gold Laced Wyandotte and one of the Cinnamon Queens. Aside from that unpleasantness, the big girls are doing well -- we ended up with four hens (we bought them from JerseyChickens.com, and they were correctly gender-identified), and two silkie roosters.

We knew we were taking a risk getting silkie chicks, because there is no way to tell if they are roosters or hens until they begin cock-a-doodle-doing, or lay an egg. We must have poor chicken luck, because both turned out to be boys!

Teddy bear for size comparison!

Fluffy, the silkie rooster shown here, is perfectly tame,  and enjoys being carried around (preferably in a basket). I was even able to take him to show and tell at my daughter's school, and he didn't crow once. Believe it or not, this wasnt the first time a chicken graced the halls of the girl's otherwise fowl-free Catholic school--one of the Kindergarten classes is raising chicks this year from eggs.

Our other silkie, James, on the other hand, has become a bit of a problem. Thankfully he is very small, about 3 pounds. His favorite move is to plant himself directly in your path and try to intimidate you into running away. Ever seen Lord of the Rings? He basically does his best Gandalf and squawks the rooster version of "You Shall Not Pass". You have to shoo him out of the way with a broom to get by, and he does his best to pounce on you as you pass. This does not hurt, but is terribly annoying. I can see why so many full sized roosters end up in soup pots -- we don't eat our chickens, but a 10 lb rooster with these antics could hurt someone! (James is safe and he knows it -- he is Sarah's special pet).

We have a ton of fun with the chickens so far-- so we picked up a few more! I owe some crafting posts soon, but will posts some pictures of our fluffy new arrivals soon..on the plus side, I was able to reuse the light, feeders and homemade chick brooder from the last batch, so my investment this time was under $20!

 Ready to make your own chicken coop or hen house? Click here!

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