Saturday, January 19, 2013

So You Think You Want Chickens?

1. Chicks are adorable, hens are pretty, if it's beautiful, it's a rooster.
2. Roosters are a pain in the behind. If you don't have a large free-ranging flock and predators, there's no point for a roo. Roosters attack and can draw blood through jeans.
3. Roosters really are gorgeous.
4. A rooster will not just crow at sunrise but will also crow during the day and at night. Especially at 3am. The crow is a warning signal to the flock not just a way to greet the dawn. Some crow constantly.
5. When buying chicks, get an extra one. Something always seems to happen to one of them or one turns out to be a roo.
6. Chickens are incredibly adaptable.
7. I spoil my chickens but not as much as some.
8. No matter how crazy you are, someone else is crazier.
9. Chickens will eat almost anything, including chicken.
10. Almost anything will eat a chicken.
11. They will peck at the color red, toenail polish, clothes, another chicken that has a cut.
12. When you have to isolate a hen for whatever reason, a large dog crate comes in very handy.
13. Chickens love pink toddler fingers.
14. Feeding chickens is a super fun thing to do.
15. If you have chickens, you're never short on a topic of conversation.
16. People will be jealous of your hens and will start thinking maybe they should keep their own.
17. Once a year, chickens lose all of their feathers and looked plucked. This is called 'molting' and is perfectly natural. Hilarious laughter often ensues.
18. Hens do not lay eggs when they're molting, sadness follows, when you see that first egg again it's like a gift.
19. When your first chicken lays her first egg and your husband sends you a picture of it while you're on a business trip, your colleagues will think you've lost your mind as you show it to everyone as if it was a picture of your first born.
20. The person who gets to eat the first egg will feel like they won the lottery.
21. Once you have eggs from your girls you won't buy store bought ever again.
22. Hens slow down their laying after their 2nd year so you'd better have a plan to bring in new chicks and do something with the older ones.
23. Easter Eggers (a mixed breed) can lay the most beautiful eggs, from olive green to aqua.
24. Chickens die. It happens. Sometimes you have to kill one and you'd better know how to (or have a neighbor who does). I've found one dead in the coop and had to put one down (lucky we have a neighbor)
25. Kids LOVE chickens. Chickens love popcorn.
26. Keep your compost bin in with you chickens for some very happy birds and happy compost.
27. Chickens will decimate any area you let them into, garden, lawn - the plants? Gone.
28. Chickens make great bug catchers.
29. With chickens come flies.
30. Chickens bathe in the dirt - the first time you see this you'll think they're having a fit.
31. There are great websites out there full of information, the best thing to remember is that a chicken is a farm animal. They may be pets and have cute names but they're still a farm animal.
32. Hens do NOT need a rooster to lay eggs. They do need a rooster to lay fertilized eggs that will hatch chicks. You'll be amazed at how many people will tell you you need a rooster.
33. Most modern hens have had the ability to set on a nest and raise chicks bred out of them since a setting/broody hen does not lay eggs.
34. You will have a hen that goes broody (sits on a nest trying to hatch eggs even if they're not fertilized). Try whatever you can to break the broody. I lock mine out of the coop except for at night and that seems to work. Sometimes.
35. Keep your chickens where you can watch them and they'll provide hours of entertainment.
36. Chickens poop. A lot. Have a plan. It's great compost addition but you have to age it before putting it on plants.
37. Hens laying depends on daylight - so in winter their egg production slows down or even stops.
38. Bad things can happen to good chickens, be prepared.
39. There are things chickens shouldn't eat, tomato vines, green tomatoes, potato skins, avocados to name a few. Check the list before you give your girls something. Mine ate the insulation around the pipes to the air conditioner.
40. If you feed your girls onions and garlic, the eggs will taste like onion and garlic.
41. Work colleagues may start calling you 'The Crazy Chicken Lady'. You will take it as a compliment.
42. Unless you're a carpenter or married to a carpenter, you may spend your anniversary weekend building the coop/pen for your chickens. It may or may not cost $500 and involve 4-5 trips to Home Depot.
43. The first night your fledged (with feathers not down) chicks are outside in the coop, you will worry all night about them. This does not change no matter how many sets of chickens you raise.
44. Sexing chicks is not 100%, you may end up with a rooster (I've had two over the years).
45. The more you find out about factory farming, confined chickens, the debeaking of chickens and so called 'free range' the more appalled you will be.
46. Once you get hens, you won't ever want to live anywhere you can't keep chickens.


  1. Someday I will tell you about the Crazy Chicken Lady of Flatwillow Creek. You have not yet converted your basement into a chicken coop? Then someone IS crazier!

    Note: If you pcik up the roosters regularly- much more than they would like,and coddle them and humiliate them a bit while you hold them (playing with their feathers and wattles) they really think twice about attacking you. The in-laws have a couple roosters, and I think I am the only person the "mean" one hasn't tried to attack. When I call for him lovingly he runs the other way. An ego is a fragile thing.

    1. You sent me pictures! I have kept my chickens in the bathroom but never let them wander inside the house. Well, once.