Monday, August 9, 2010

Raising Chickens (part 2) or how we came to have 23 chickens

         This spring, after we got 6 new baby chicks, a skunk got into our chicken coop and killed 3 of our 6 laying hens. It was so sad. I never really thought that I had any feeling for a chickens as pets until this happened. I always just thought of them and a food source but our neighbors called in the middle of the night and left a message that I got in the morning. The message said "Janice, we are so sorry. We heard a terrible sound last night and thought it was coming from you chicken coop. We went out to check but it was too late and the critter had already got to them. We know there are at least two dead. Go out and check on them as soon as you get this." I was at work when I got the message and I called Ben and had him go and check. I was so so sad and even cried a little bit. We had to set up a trap to catch it (we initially thought it was a raccoon) or else it would keep coming back until it got all of the chickens. We set up a live trap and in the morning we were surprised to find a skunk and had to figure out what to do with it. It sprayed all over our yard and my dad ended up shooting it and taking out side of the city to dump it. Our yard and everywhere was so stinky. It still smells like skunk by the camper chicken coop even now, several months later.

      Because of loosing these chickens, my dad got worried about having enough eggs and went and got 7 more baby chicks to add to the 6 chicks we already had. While these chicks were growing in my dad's shed under the heat lamp, we were working on setting up the new chicken coop. Here are some pictures of the house as it stood at my great-grandpas homestead.

The building that we moved is the one in the far background on the right next to the sheep camp.

Ben saying hi to the baby cow. The building/ new chicken coop is on the left in the back ground of this picture.

Here is the new chicken coop all set up at our house. I think it looks really nice here and it is fun that it came from my great-grandpa.It sits on to the side of our garden between the cherry and apple tree. The chicken run is set up behind the coop.

         We moved the new baby chicks (13 of them) to this chicken coop and waited until they got bigger before we moved the 3 laying hens in with them. A few weeks we went down to Utah for a family reunion. When we came home I went to check on the chickens and saw several more chickens in the camper coop with the laying hens (this was before we moved then to the new coop).  I told Ben and he said, oh your dad probably just moved the baby chicks up. Uh... no that doesn't make since at all and these aren't our baby chicks. So I called my dad to ask what it the world was going on. He explained to me that a guy he works with got these roosters to use a meat birds and then decided he had no desire to actually butcher the birds and really wanted nothing to do with them at all. So my Dad kindly took them off his hands. There were 7 birds all together, one of which I am positive is a hen and one that might or might not be.

      After an evening of bird shuffling and moving, my dad got our 13 hens in the new hen house and the 7 other birds in the camper coop. I have rooster fear from our really mean rooster and I get scared every time I open the rooster house to give then food or water. They are all really skittish though, much more so then our hens, and all fly far away from the door when I open it. Our chicken totals:

3 Rode Island Reds, laying hens

7 Red Sex-links (also called Red Star), all hens- will start laying in the fall

6 Ameraucanas, all hens - will start laying in the fall

7 others, mostly rooster, most are Ameraucanas I think, the one hen is a Sex-link- we might add the hen to our other hens and then my dad will kill the roosters for meat after growing them for a few months

23 chickens all together. We let the all out in the yard to run and it was total craziness with that many chickens running around. It made me temporarily questions why we are doing this. Then I watched "Food Inc." and thought, oh yah, that's why.

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