So I did a thing.
I have wanted chickens for years, but my town wouldn’t allow them. I watched as friends around the country raise their own flocks with envy. Finally, last Spring, they changed the law in our town after years of pushing. I was so excited for the change, but knew I couldn’t get any chicks due to lack of planning. I also knew I was travelling a ton last year and didn’t have my yard ready to protect my own den of hens.This year, however, is perfectly set up to bring up some chicks: very little travel, lots of home time and a homesteading journey mentality. I am ready for this next step!I researched the local laws which told me I was allowed up to 6 chickens for my property and no roosters. I looked into chicken breeds to see what would fit into our lifestyle – time, committment, space, cost, weather, need. I knew I wanted chickens for fresh eggs, but I also wanted chickens purely for the pet too. Living more simply and sustainably is my goal and raising chickens is just one more step in that homesteading journey.There are a bunch of chicken breeds and even more hybrids. I narrowed down my choice to the Barred Plymouth Rock breed. Barred Rock chickens are an Anerican heritage breed first seen around 1850 in the Boston area. They were the most popular chicken breed for much of the early twentieth century – a classic, mainly because they were great egg layers AND good meat chickens. They are just gorgeous with their black and white stripes, red comb and yellow beak. Barred Rocks are very docile, tame birds which makes them great around kids and as pets. I was drawn to them because of their heritage, their disposition, their beauty and their cold hardiness. New England weather is a big consideration.Since Thursday, we have housed 6 chicks in a simple dog crate box lined with pine shavings. They need a heater because they haven’t developed their feathers yet, but they are already growing fast! Fresh water and starter crumbles to eat and some love and affection. They peep and sleep and eat all day.The chicks will live inside the house with me for awhile until I get the yard ready and build their coop (besides, they need to grow their full feathers before going outside for good). Luckily, coop designs are EVERYWHERE. The kids are really enjoying the chicks (and so am I) and I have been doing lots of coop design planning. I think I have narrowed down my plan, but it’s still going to be a trial since this is my first year raising chickens. We all have to start somewhere.Chickens tend to lay an egg every 24-48 hours depending on the breed and start laying around 5-6 months of age. It all depends on how much daylight they receive too. So, winter months when the days are shorter could mean less eggs. Having fresh eggs is going to be so rewarding as is caring for these beautiful hens. We have already named 3 of them….My point is this…if you really want to raise chickens like I do, look into your local laws and do your research. Chicks are SUPER cute, but they are animals and they grow fast and have lots of needs. Beware before you buy. Be prepared. Be committed. I had been calling the 3 local tractor supply stores for weeks trying to find the breed of chick I wanted so when the day came that one of those stores said they had them, I jumped in my car and flew there right away. The excitement was ridiculous. I was happy to see that I had to sign a waiver before I took them and was asked if I had all the proper supplies. Keeping chickens is not so.ethinf to be taken lightly.Once you do the research and make a committment, I cannot imagine anyone not enjoying the experience of raising chickens. I am still only less than a week into this new chapter of our lives, but very excited for the future.
We are beginners though so I would love to hear from any chicken parents that have advice they wish they knew before starting their flock! Please share with my readers and with me!