Raising Chickens is Fun but a Pain – Especially When You’re 12 Years Really Young
I can’t remember what inspired me to want chickens in my back yard. Nonetheless, my tubby white kid self with a short hair cut wanted chickens. For those of you who know me… when I’m determined, forget it, you might as well shoot me (with a tranq of course:) if you don’t want me accomplishing my goal.
I did some research on the trusty interweb to re-assure this desire. It did.
I proceeded to check Craigslist, not really sure why I checked c-list, but I did. I found two Rhode Island Reds for about $30, maybe 2 years old (still egg-layers). Let me tell you now: those two chickens were (how do I say…) absolute (way) south of heaven.
Actually, the chickens ended up being a neighbor’s who lived only a 5-minute walk from my house. He taught me a lot about chickens. Like, they need 14 hours of light per day to lay eggs.
I was super excited walking home with these chickens, only to find that they turned out to hate me with a passion and attack me when I fed them.
I kept Calvin and Hobbs (that’s what a friend of mine named them) for about 1 year. They had to go. I despised those hens.
Laying on the couch looking to buy chicks in bulk online… I was like “I don’t need 250+ chickens delivered to my front door.”
I started browsing on forums (e.g. How to Raise Chickens?). I eventually found that you should be able to find chicks at your local feed store. I lived in Sammamish, WA. The next-door town was Issaquah. In Issaquah was a feed store called Issaquah Grange. I checked out their website. I found a PDF with the schedule of when they have which chickens in stock.
The smell was awful. The experience was… unique?
I knew that chicks have to be kept warm.
Me: “I can’t keep them in the garage… I can’t leave them to die outside… I guess I could keep them in my bedroom?”
That was the start of a whole lot of nothing good.
From that point on my room reeked of chicken dump 24/7. I got used to it somehow but man that was nasty.
I bought 6 silver-laced Wyandottes in February.
What I’ve Learned Over the Years
- Buy chicks, love them… OUTSIDE. Keep them warm with a nice heat lamp, they’ll survive… probably.
- Set up a multi-level coop, preferably free range them during the day.
- Hook up a light on a timer for the hens from 6am-9pm on the daily.
- 200 ml of Layena pellets daily if you have no rooster and/or no free range daily.
- Buy a water heater that sits in their water for the winter.
- Have on stock: deodorizing pellets and wood shavings (the ones for horses work well).
- Little girls love chickens.
My cousins adore my chickens. My friends’ kids love them. Any and all little girls obsess over chickens.
If you’re trying to reel in some lady with a young daughter. Try buying some chickens.
Sadly, I had to bury one of my hens. Reason of death: Unknown. The other 5 I sold before the trip to Ecuador.
I have accumulated a bunch of knowledge on raising chickens over the years. I know however, that there are many of you with much more knowledge than me.
Please comment on your knowledge. Ask questions if you are buying chickens soon or just curious.