Several years ago for my birthday, my husband and I took a trip down to Amish Country and had a chicken coop built. We had the Amish build a shed for us several years before and had been happy with the work they had done. Since then we have visited them each year to purchase paraffin for the roofs of not only the shed and chicken coop but also the roofs of the two gazeboes. It seems to keep the roofs sealed so that no rain falls through the tops.
The chicken coop was delivered several weeks later. Relatives gave us two chickens to get us started. We named them Lucy and Ethel and had a mailbox mounted on the outside to store bags, a knife and anything else we needed to store. Their names were on the mailbox. We decided to order a few more chickens to get more eggs. My plan was to repay my neighbors for all of their produce they had given me throughout the years. There are two gentlemen that live up the road that have taught me more about gardening than any book I could have read. They grow just about any vegetable or fruit you could imagine.
The little chicks arrived early in June and we had to separate them from the larger chickens, not only because they were so much smaller but also because they had to be kept very warm. They had a warming light above them and they stayed underneath it for two weeks. When they grew larger, we moved them into the shed with the other chickens. They got along very well. These particular chickens are from Chile and they are called Araucanas or the Easter egg chickens because they lay pink, blue, green and peach colored eggs. I am always amazed when people ask if they are edible. After all an egg is an egg. They are very delicious. There is nothing better than fresh eggs.
We waited patiently for the first eggs. Day after day we would watch them change colors and grow. They really are quite beautiful. We had fourteen chickens all together. My husband went out to water and feed the chickens on Christmas Eve while I prepared dinner and he came back all excited with a blue egg in his hand. Needless to say, we were very happy. From that point on, we collected eggs everyday. As the chickens grew, the eggs grew. It was like hunting for Easter eggs everyday.
I know now why chickens are so named. They are afraid of everything. Any sudden movement or someone different in there coop and they start flying all over the place. I thought they would chase the little mole away that was in there coop but no, they tried to avoid it and just let it live there until I finally chased the mole out. Same with the mouse that took up residence and decided to munch on the layer pellets. I had to get rid of it too.
Everything was going along nicely until one day I came home and when my husband and I walked out to see the chickens, my husband stopped me and said to stay where I was. The neighbor had two dogs that had entered the run and had killed every single chicken. The dogs were stuck inside the run. I couldn’t really blame the two hunting dogs and the neighbor seemed genuinely sad and scrubbed down the coop and paid for the chickens.
We ordered more chickens immediately because they had to grow fast enough to eliminate the cold weather that soon would be upon us. We just made it and they have done really well over the last years. We had a few run- ins with raccoons over the years and have seen many beautiful coyotes that we were afraid would get the chickens but luckily they mind their own business. I have faithful customers and supply many family members and neighbors so I would say the sky isn’t falling and raising chickens can be very rewarding.
From our backyard to yours. Eat more eggs!