Early Birds

earlybird

The early bird…

With a day still to go, according to the electronic countdown on my incubator, there are seven chicks and counting making a racket in the incubator.

Early this morning, there were two, and those two are beginning to look cute and fluffy.We called them early birds. Now, in the early afternoon, I see that they are a few hours ahead of the game, and stronger and more aggressive than the others already.

I always thought that the expression, the early bird catches the worm, meant that if you were prepared and got up early in the morning, you would be rewarded. But now I’m wondering if it first came from the idea that the early bird, the one that breaks free first, would surely get the first worm from its mother…

Feedback is welcome. 🙂

 

Chicken Keeping Honeymoon

 

Our first blue egg means that one of our Ameraucana hens laid her first egg.

Our first blue egg means that one of our Ameraucana hens laid her first egg.

It seems to me that the more I learn about chickens, the less I know. We took the leap back in May, and have been living with chickens for six months now. We’re still on our chicken honeymoon.

All of our chickens have survived, and the hens have started laying eggs.  We are still excited enough about our eggs for the whole family to keep count of how many we collect each day. Today I collected eight for the first time.

They lay their eggs in the run, and on the floor in the coop, and in the nesting boxes. I come around, rinse them off, and put them in the refrigerator.  I really don’t know which hens are laying the eggs. Yesterday we had our first blue egg, so I know that one of our two Ameraucanas laid her first. Continue reading

Why We Call People Chicken

Chicks at the door.

Chicks at the door.

This isn’t a scientific study, just some chicken coop observation. My chickens are a bunch of chickens. We got them when they were about a week and a half old, some New Hampshire, some Rhode Island, a couple of Ameraucanas and a White Leghorn rooster. After building the whole chicken coop and run, my husband still had to construct a box, with a light bulb to keep them warm and cozy for a little while longer. Then he said he was done. So it was my turn, to do something other than talk and write and read about chickens. First things first, keep things clean. That brings to mind another chicken expression that I won’t repeat here. Continue reading

I’m a Chicken Keeping Virgin

A raised platform for the coop on a hill sloping in two directions.

A raised platform for the coop on a hill sloping in two directions.

We’ve been talking about keeping chickens since we moved to Greenville, back to Greenville in my husband’s case, about four years ago. But I really don’t know much about keeping chickens. I started reading a few books a few years ago, and I surfed around the internet a bit, to learn what I can. But I know that if I haven’t done it before then I really don’t know anything. Practical experience is what I lack. My husband remembers his Big Daddy’s chicken coop, and he’s been “talking to people” who know something.

A solid frame will last for years to come.

A solid frame will last for years to come.

One thing I keep hearing from folks around our neighborhood is “we used to have chickens but” after which they will lament their loss to a coyote or weasel. There are also foxes, raccoons, possibly bobcats, not to mention our own two cats, three dogs, and the red tail hawks nesting overhead. With all that to think about, this won’t be a free relationship. We don’t need a chicken shack; we need a chicken fortress. Continue reading