Now, I know that some of you are surprised. A couple of you readers even called (or texted) us to ask the question: “You got chickens? Why in the heck did you get chickens?”. And how many and what kind and why?!? Well, I think I can tell you why…
One of my very first memories was when we lived in Marana, AZ. I have lots of memories from our first home on “Waterman Lane” (though for the longest time I thought we lived on “Watermelon Lane”) but some of the very earliest and fuzziest I can still remember.
I know I was little because I had a hard time walking, so when I finally reached the sliding glass door leading out into our backyard, I was very happy to lean my arms up against it and rest. I also remember how much I liked to lick that door. I’m sure my mom didn’t appreciate that, hee, hee.
One evening, I wandered over to that sliding glass door and saw something very strange – it seemed to be a sea of yellow. It was an interesting sight – the ground seem to be covered in a layer of yellow that was moving, like the wind was blowing it and making it ripple. I also saw lights on in the yard, something I had never seen before. Those lights were shining on the yellow ground, illuminating the strange sight. My mom opened the sliding glass door and went into the yard without letting me out. I heard a strange, high-pitched noise repeating itself over and over through the opened door before she shut it in my face. Now this made me mad. I started crying and smearing my tears (and probably snot) on the window, letting my mom know that I was unhappy and NEEDED to come outside with her too. Then I saw that the funny yellow floor moved away from my mom when she came near it. I saw her pick up one of the yellow things in the yard and walk back toward the door, and as she lowered her hand toward me, I saw a tiny animal standing there, peeping for all it was worth. It was a baby chicken. A teeny, yellow, fluffy chick. I remember I LOVED it! I loved it and wanted to hold it and play with it and bring it into my room and keep it. But my mom (knowing better) put the sweet little chick back into the sea of yellow chicks on the ground in the magical backyard.
Now what really happened that day is that my dad went to the feed store to buy a flat of chicks to add to our little farm. When he got there, the owner of the store told my dad that he had ordered way too many chicks and wanted to get of them, so for every flat my dad bought, the owner would give him two. He had taken the Honda Civic to the feed store ( I don’t know WHAT would have happened if he had taken the station wagon) and came home with that car FULL of chicks. They were stashed in every cranny of that car, and I can only imagine what my mom said when she saw him start unloading.
From then on, chickens were the staple of every home I’ve ever lived in. We always had chickens (along with most other farm animals). While some people reminisce about things that remind them of their home or their childhood, for me, silly as it is, it’s chickens.
So now we have 3 chickens (1 Araucana and 2 Red Rocks), and Mr. B has named them Linny, Tuck, and Ming Ming (you know, like the Wonder Pets). But one of them is the boss of the others, kind of a bully actually, so we call her “Chuck” (that’s the Araucana). We get two eggs a day, one green and one light brown. It was really fun to set up the pen for them and they come running when you call, “Here, chick, chick, chick!”. Mr. B is having a grand ol’ time finding out what they will eat out of his hand (almost anything) and what they won’t (cauliflower, and peanuts). He also is understanding how to take care of animals – that it’s always more work than it seems.
So, now we have a home, because without the chickens, it was just a house.
Oh, and as to why my chickens aren’t laying as many eggs – it’s a number of factors:
- Chickens lay fewer eggs in the winter because there is less sunlight.
- I have been feeding them cracked corn instead of the laying mix because the store was out, but mixed one 15lb bag of cracked corn with one 50lb bag of laying mix and we are back on track.
- My chickens are young and aren’t quite full layers yet.
- Turns out, the chickens don’t like going down the slide so much, nor do they like hangin’ out up in Mr. B’s fort. Hm, now we know.