Sunday, June 14, 2009

Howdy! Farmer Cluck here

I can't believe it's been so many days since I last posted. It turns out that I had strep throat this week, so that had me pretty knocked out for a few days. It was the worst throat pain I can ever remember.........I had to take ibuprofen just to swallow somewhat comfortably. And I was VERY achey. Anyway, enough whining. Due to the little "bug", I didn't do much, didn't blog that's that.

We haven't been studying a new topic this week. I kind of planned to tie them to some special little outings we are hoping to do this summer, like our farm trip. And right now I'm not sure when we'll next do an outing BECAUSE...............................we have taken the plunge and decided to become chicken farmers!! If you read my post about the farm visit, you know that my oldest son has been wanting to raise chickens. I raised (umm, well, actually my PARENTS raised) chickens growing up and have fond memories of it. So...........I did a TON of internet research, checked out all the chicken books in our local library and we (DH is on board) decided to go ahead. One problem we encountered is that we are a little late in the season to find baby chicks locally. I really wanted to have the boys raise the chicks from chickhood so we can really tame them and get to know them as individuals (yes, that's weird to write about a chicken). Most hatcheries require you to order a minimum of 25 chicks to be shipped to you. And while there are several hatcheries within driving distance of us, none of them will allow you to just go there and pick up a few chicks except for a hatchery that was 6 hours away. DH thought I was actually quite loco to consider making a 12 hour round trip to buy chicks. Truthfully, I thought it sounded fun. What we ended up doing is ordering our chicks from My Pet Chicken. It is the only hatchery I could find that lets you order quantities as small as 3 chicks. We ordered 5 chicks and they should arrive the week of July 13th. We had to pay a ridiculous shipping fee, but considering they are shipping day old chicks via the US Postal Service and get them to you within a day or so of their hatching, I guess it really isn't a ridiculous fee. So.......we're excited. We decided to order one chicken for each person in our family so everyone could have their "own" chicken. We only ordered hens as we don't want to deal with the crowing roosters. I ordered one extra because I was a little afraid of one dying during shipping. In typical Laura fashion, I am currently in the middle of a full-scale chicken obsession, spending exorbitant amounts of time reading the Chicken Forum posts on Backyard Chickens. I'm kind of nuts that way. It's really amazing how much there is to learn about raising chickens. Seriously. And of course I must be well informed. Oh..........that leads me to the title of this post. My username on the Backyard Chickens forum is FarmerCluck. Isn't that cute? I wanted to be MamaCluck, but someone else had already STOLEN that awesome username. Actually, I like the FarmerCluck moniker. If you want to know an interesting little tidbit about me.........when I was in 8th grade we had to fill out a survey to help us decide what career we might be interested in. At that time in my life, I really and truly wanted to be a farmer. Not marry a farmer........I wanted to be an actual farmer. So I've always kind of wanted to have a hobby farm.

The big task now for us is making a chicken coop for our girls (that what everyone at BYC--Backyard Chickens---calls their hens..........OK.........I'm a total chicken nerd). I looked at many designs online and we finally decided to remodel an existing shed on our property to become our new coop. I cannot tell you how much I wish I had the skills to do this myself. Not that I don't want DH to help and, in fact, he's going to have to be the main coop contractor; I just kind of hate to ask other people to help me with such a big project. Amazingly, there are so many things to consider even when building a chicken coop.................what kind of high should the roosts many nest boxes...............what kind of chicken run.........roof or no roof on the run..........what kind of wire to to keep all kinds of predators we allow the chickens to free range or just keep them in the run.............?? Seriously.........these are the questions that are weighing heavily on my mind, people. As I type this my DARLING DEAR HUSBAND (maybe I should refer to him as DDH from here on out) is cleaning all the STUFF/CRAP out of said shed so we can begin the renovations. (And before you think I'm being too lazy to help, I asked him and he really wanted to do that part himself.) I am way excited to start our chicken adventure. If you are even remotely ever thinking of raising chickens (not you, Tammie!!) you should really click over to Backyard Chickens. It is really amazing the wealth of information on that website. Beth.............I know you would totally love it that we are getting chickens............maybe you too could be a chicken farmer..........I read yesterday on Urban Chickens that your fair city was petitioning to allow city dwellers to raise up to 5 hens on their city properties. Otherwise you'll have to be a vicarious chicken farmer through me. ha!

Apparently, there is a major trend going on where many people, especially in urban areas, are starting to raise chickens in their backyards. I just want to go on record as saying that we are not trying to be trendy (I wasn't aware of the trend until I started my chicken research); we are just trying to support the interest of our oldest son who has been asking and asking us for a chicken.

I will post soon about our coop progress and about what kinds of chickens we're getting. AND.........I'll be adding a "chickens" label to my categories list so all you chicken farmer wanna-bes will know just where to look for all the relevant chicken info. How fun is that??


Trisha said...

WOW! Maybe my barn does need some chickens. :-)

Lee Ann said...

Yay! I've been daydreaming about having some chickens (and a goat and maybe a mule). But it's absolutely impossible for us right now.

I'll have to enjoy the chicken experience vicariously through you.

Tami said...

We dove into chicken life this spring (4 feathered friends). To us they are pets with egg benefits. Building of the coop was school. We made a chicken book off all the stuff we learned (recording their weight, days old, what they can eat, why they have feathers, measuring feathers, labeling parts of a chicken, egg experiments, Bible- three parts to an egg: trinity)

We love our chickens. We are little urban homesteader wannabees. Minimal work! Much to learn and VERY FUN. Totally recommend it!!

Anna said...

sounds like quite an adventure! You are wise to not get roosters, some neighbors by our old house had some and they could be very loud at times!

Sadie said...

We have had chickens a little over a year- my boys LOVE them. They pay more attention to them than they have our cats, dogs, rabbits.... is a great resource, the forums too.

Currently we have 5 week olds, 10 week olds and 1 1/2 yr boys carry all of them around, so raising from chickdom is the best I think.
Good luck!

Kristina said...

I want chickens! Hey, and don't be ashamed to say that you're fulfilling part of your childhood dream, along with granting your son's wishes. :)

Cris said...

Strep must be going around. My boss had it at work and was out for three days.

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