Saturday, April 30, 2011

I Have a Chicken Addiction and Other Stupid Facts

Hi, My name is Jocelyn and I am absolutely addicted to chickens.

Do you think there is a 12 step program for this?  There should be. Chickens are the gateway livestock, and it is way too easy to become addicted.  I have geese because I had chickens.  I have ducks because I had geese.  I will have guinea fowl, because what the hell and why not.  You see the slippery slope?  Chickens are cute, small, portable, cheap, and very useful.  There are always tons of them at the feed store and online, and they are so tempting, especially after a long, cold winter.

These are our layers right now.  Hermione, the Barred Rock, is in the front here.
We started with 10 chickens here at Chicken Scratch.  10.  We had more eggs than we could eat, and were selling the extras.  It was going well, so the plan was to add 10 more this spring, for an even 20.  When chick ordering time came around, the 10 turned to 15.  Up to 25 now.  Then we lost one of our laying hens.  So we were down to 24.
A Sicilian Buttercup chick
24 is a nice even number, so we'd stop there.  But then there was the Emmet/Arthur problem of too many ganders and not enough geese (poor Ginger).  Thought I'd alleviate that by a trip to the feed store to order a goose for each of them.  But here in NY, you can't just order 2 of anything, when it comes to fowl, 6 is the minimum.  So, I added 3 Ameraucanas and 2 guineas to my order, and had 7 and was good to go.  3 more chickens would bring us up to 27, an odd number, but it would be OK.
A Black Copper Maran chick.
Chick time came in the feed store, and I got the Ameraucanas.  I knocked together a quick (read: badly put together) brooder box for them (the other two were filled with geese), and off we went.  Went back to the feed store for wood chips.  They had Silkies.  Thought of my mom, who wants to start with chickens this year.  She had wanted a Silkie.  So I asked for one, and Katie, who works in the feed store, asked if I could take the two she had left instead.  One Silkie for me, one for mom.  Ok.  Up to 28 now.
My mother's silkie chick.  Mine was still in the brooder.
Fast forward a couple of weeks and the mail order chicks finally arrive.  One Ameraucana is DOA.  Another, the Ancona, dies that day.  I have no idea why, but there you have it.  We are down to 26.  26 is a nice, even number of chickens.  Good.  Done.
A Salmon Faverolle chick.

5 toes!!
Go back to the feed store yesterday.  Buy some more wood chips and look at the chicks. you know where this is going?  Casually mention to Katie that there are a few chicks in the box that seem to be getting a little long in the tooth--just making conversation.  So many tiny ones, and there are these Barred Rocks that are a lot bigger, you know?  So she asks if I want them, and that she'll give them to me for a discount.  I agree, because I thought there were two.  Two can't hurt, right?  There were four.  Can't back out now, so I took them home.
New Barred Rocks.  We call them The Hermiones.
The count is now 30.  We went from 9 chickens to 30 chickens.  It's obvious an intervention needs to take place sometime soon.  And I need to find an outlet for all the eggs.  Oh boy.

Either a Speckled Sussex, or a Welsummer.  They both look the same to me.
So what did we learn here?
  1. I am a chicken addict.
  2. Chickens are the gateway livestock and lead to other types of livestock.
  3. I single-handedly increased our chicken flock over 3 fold in a month's time.
  4. I like even numbers when it comes to my livestock.
  5. I should not go to the feed store and look in the chick room.
  6. I will have WAY too many eggs later this year, and will be giving them to anyone who rings the doorbell or walks past the house (or drives past, or looks in my direction).
  7. The eggs will be pretty.  Just think of all the colors we'll get.
  8. If there are roosters in this batch (beyond what I planned for), then we'll have chicken to eat.
  9. I will never remember all the names of the chickens, even though my children will name every one of them. I will call them all "Chicken".
  10. I will not be placing a chick order next year (or the year after that).
  11. My husband is a saint and deserves a shrine to be built to him.
One of the Ameraucanas from the feed store.  My daughter says her name is Molly.
Don't do what I've done, everyone.  Learn from me.  Stay off the slippery chicken slope!
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  1. Oh that was too fun. I love my girls too! I need to fence them though because now they free range and our eating my flowers. So they are in a bit of hot water!
    Have a wonderful week!

  2. I love my hens also! I said after the last batch I would never raise tiny chicks again. The mother would have to do it. But then I went to the feed store and they were so cute, had to get them. Had a stinking living room for awhile, but it was worth it. We have 15 now and I have to say, I wouldn't say no to some more.

  3. Thanks for a great start to the week! We only have five but are thinking of increasing by "just a few"... let's hope I heed your warning!

  4. Haha, I can relate! I only wanted 5, I'm now up to 8, have two more on order, in search of another breed...I figure I'll stop when chicks are no longer available.

  5. Seriously love this and we have the same problem. We had 25 the first year. The second year we ordered 50 chicks(we butchered 32 in the fall) + we got 12 ducks from a friend. This year we lost our minds, order 62 chicks, four geese, and six ducks.

  6. I know just what you mean! If my hubby wouldn't keep me in check I would have ducks, geese, and guinea fowl too. But, he doesn't want anything that we can't eat or get something from...we go up and down in numbers too!

  7. This was a funny post! We had 33 Welsummers last year, butchered 15 roosters. We lost 5 to dogs, I bought 7 Buff Orpingtons. Then one of my hens went broody and hatched 7 eggs. We bought a pair of turkeys who hatched 4 poults. My son keeps begging for guineas and I want a goat. It never ends LOL.

  8. Oh oh, I see I am about to join the group - one silkie at your house and my eleven on the way at the end of the month --- the pic of the salmon faverolle is VERY tempting!

  9. oh whenever we get to move to the country I would so do this! hahah my husband agrees! I loved reading this! Great post!

  10. Dear Fellow chicken addict:

    Let me know about the 12-step program... I'm starting over with chickens, but years ago I ended up with 26. If one went, another took it's place, and for about 10 years I had the magic #26. I'm so tempted now, but I'm trying to stick with ten. Yeah, I'm hopelessly addicted. They'll be going out in a couple weeks. Hope I don't have to sleep in the coop to overcome the separation anxiety!


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