A few months back my husband and I decided to be chicken farmers! Yep, we heard of one too many people getting chickens as pets and we just couldn’t hold back on all the fun. One day a neighbor came over and was talking to us about fresh eggs at the farmers market. I much too excitedly said “oh we want to get chickens one day! Probably not for like 5-10 years, but it’s definitely on our bucket list!”. If you know my husband at all, then you would know that you can’t just innocently exclaim life long dreams aloud without expecting immediate results. “Love, you want chickens?! Let’s get you chickens!” #besthusbandever 💗
And that’s how our chicken farming began. Next thing I knew (within 24 hours actually) Ryan was outside building the coop. If you are considering getting chickens there are 2 roads you can choose: build your own coop or purchase a prefabricated one on sites like Wayfair.com. We chose the build-your-own route because I happen to have a husband who is very handy, and we also wanted a decent sized coop/ run without paying a fortune. The starting price for a prefabricated coop is around $200 for the smallest ones (usually house 2 chickens) and go up in price into the thousands depending on how large you want your coop to be. Our coop will be able to house 6 comfortably and cost about $800 total in materials as well as all chicken supplies.
But enough about the building–lets talk about the chicks! Chickens are social animals so you never just buy one, you always have to buy them in pairs or more. You also have to buy chicks around similar ages (typically within 2-3 weeks of age). There are also hundreds of breeds! For whatever reason I didn’t expect this. We did a little bit of research, but in general we knew we wanted 6 chicks (baby chicks are called “day old pullets” at the store) and I was only picky about one breed–the silkie. Here is a picture of two full grown silkies I pulled off Google. The adorableness of these Dr. Seuss looking creatures got me way too excited for chicken farming.
So we first bought 4 chickens of all different breeds knowing that 2 weeks later we were planning to add 2 silkies to the mix once the store got them back in stock.
Without further adieu lets introduce the flock!
On the left we have Dominique the dominique (not super clever on the name here) and Peggy the Plymouth Rock on the right. These ladies were 3 weeks old by the time we bought them so they lived indoors for a few weeks but they recently moved outide into the coop because once the silkies moved in the age gap was too high between these hens and the day old silkies.
On the left we have Willy the white leghorn and Raina the Rhode Island Red on the right (both chicks are about 3 days old here)
Did I mention that Romeo LOVES the chicks? He thinks he is a herding dog although he has absolutely no herding skills yet. The little white chick and the little black chick are Samantha and Sally the silkies.
The four little ones are still too small to live outside in the big coop, so they live indoors under a heat lamp until they develop their mature feathers. They take frequent trips to visit the coop though and will probably move out sometime next month. In about 6 months they will start laying eggs and we will have more fresh eggs than we will know what to do with! If you’re interested in getting you own pet chickens–do it! They are lots of fun and not much work. They are fairly inexpensive once you cover the initial cost of the coop and feeding equipment. Day old pullets only cost $3.99 each or if you want to skip the baby chicks and buy laying hens that are 6 month old those cost about $20 dollars each. All in all they have been lots of fun so far (although I should probably also mention LOTS of poop!) Need more incentive? They eat ticks, spiders, and just about any bug out in your yard. And most importantly–fresh eggs. Each chick will lay around 300 eggs a year (some breeds lay less & some breeds lay more..also they tend to lay less in tthe winter because of sunlight). Good luck if you are considering your own chicken adventures! 🐣