DIY with a Spin
Apr 03, 2018 07:19PM
By Rebecca Seidenspinner
Let me set the record straight. I had no
intention of becoming a crazy chicken lady. It just kind of happened. I stepped
into the muddy yellow rubber boots covered in chickens easily. Now my house is
covered in chicken decor, my cell phone holds hundreds of chicken photos, and I
have dozens of colorful eggs -- and it’s not even Easter.
We moved into the house that we rent in Martinez a few years ago. I absolutely love it and hope to buy it one day. It has a large garden area, and I was lucky enough to acquire a big chicken coop. The chicken coop sat out covered in weeds for the first year we lived here until spring arrived. I took the kids to visit the Concord Feed and Seed just to look at the baby chicks. Did I say just look? Well, we ended up bringing home seven baby chicks.
Before you take home those adorable feathered little birds, have everything ready for them. Baby chicks have to live under a heat lamp for about six weeks. They need a good sized container, bedding, chicken food, and fresh water. These supplies cost me about seventy-five dollars. Did I mention that baby chicks grow super fast? They can also fly fairly quickly, so a top on the indoor coop is a good idea. After about six to eight weeks your lovely ladies are ready to go outside into the big coop. There are tons of pre-built chicken coops at the Concord Feed and Seed that range in a variety of prices, from a few hundred dollars to over a thousand dollars. If you’re handy, you can design and build your dream chicken coop yourself, or check out Craigslist.
Now that you have moved your chicks outside, there are a few things you need to consider. They need protection. Chickens have quite a lot of predators such as foxes, raccoons, and even dogs. Make sure your chicken coop is secure with chicken wire or a wire mesh enclosure. I lock my chickens inside the coop every night for safety precautions. Chickens also need access to food and clean water. Chickens are smart enough not to drink water with poop in it but not smart enough not to poop in the water. And they poop a LOT! Like, massive amounts. I have to go outside each morning and feed them and give them fresh water. I like to treat them to all the clippings of the fruits and vegetables from when I cook, and they love it!
It takes chickens six to eight months before they start laying eggs. They need nesting boxes inside the coop to lay eggs. I buy a bale of hay and add fresh lavender and mint clippings to the boxes to make them smell good. Everyday I am so excited to check the coop for fresh eggs. Did you know that when a hen lays an egg she sings a song? Some mornings, I can hear my chickens singing songs from the coop, and I open the window to listen. Fresh eggs are delicious. I have eleven chickens and get about thirty six eggs a week. I love to share them with family and friends.
I recommend doing research about backyard chickens to make sure they will fit your lifestyle before making the commitment. Chickens make great pets. My favorite part was giving all of the lady hens Southern names like Henrietta, Beatrice, Penelope, Francis, Petunia and Luna. I have a fancy farmgirl chicken coop with an old chandelier swinging from the top in the middle. I collect the eggs in my yellow rain boots and my fluffy layers egg apron. I have rescued unwanted chickens from the other side of town and even dressed up as a chicken this past Halloween. Having my little backyard farm makes me happy. It’s hard work but rewarding and fun. Last month, when my landlord came over to visit and saw that my garden was overgrown with weeds, he said. “Why don’t you get a goat?” Stay tuned. This little backyard farm just keeps growing.