So not quite a year ago, I had these chickens show up on my land. Apparently one of my neighbors somewhere had these guys and abandon them, so they
wandered off and ended up at my place.
My wife and I had talked about getting chickens off and on. We live way out here in the country and it just made sense to get some chickens that would
give us eggs. Not meat birds though. We are both confirmed meat eaters, but there's just something about slaughtering an animal that you've cared
for and then eat it that bothers both her and me.
But we never got serious about it. Until these chickens showed up.
After about a week, all but 4 of the white ones had wandered away. The 4 white ones decided to take up residency here at my house. So I decided to
build a chicken coop and a run for them.
Of course I had NO idea how to take care of chickens. Research on the internet took me to a web site known as
and is a web site I highly recommend for all your chicken resources. They have great
articles there from peoples own experience in raising chickens, and there is even a forum there so if you have questions you can ask and get a lot of
After some research, I saw that the size requirements for the coop and run for just 4 chickens was small. Not wanting to cram them together, I decided
to tripple the size of the coop and run that I needed.
I quickly slapped together a home for them:
Once I had shooed them into their new home (and that's another story in itself....), within about a day they were fighting and trying to kill each
Turns out there was a very good reason for that: All four of them were roosters!
I found this out after posting pictures at Backyard Chickens and asking people what kind of chickens they were. You can't coop up 4 roosters like
that without any females, and you need about 7 to 10 hens per rooster if you are going to have multiple roosters penned up like this.
So they had to go, and I found someone that was willing to take them off my hands.
Now I was sitting here with a chicken coop and run....but no chickens. What to do? Why you go buy chicks!
As it was spring time, this was not going to be a problem. Around here you can buy chicks from local farms, or you can go to places like Tractor
Supply where they sell chicks during the spring.
So off to Tractor Supply we went, and we picked up some Silver Laced Wyandottes. Six of them. And assurances that they were all females.....
Well here is what they looked like as chicks:
And they started to grow of course:
And grow some more:
Once they are all feathered in (takes about 6 to 8 weeks) you can put them outside.
I had noticed when they started to feather in, their feathers did not have silver, but gold instead. That means Tractor Supply got it wrong, they were
actually Golden Laced Wyandottes.
Wonder what else they got wrong?
Turns out that no, they were NOT all females....there were roos in the mix. How many roos? Out of the six we bought....5 of them!
Of course I was wondering what I was going to do about that when disaster struck!
One of my neighbors had a young dog get loose and it ended up at my place. It crashed through the screen door netting and killed two of my
Needless to say I was not very happy, but the pup was just doing what dogs do. He came and got the dog, offered to pay for the chickens, which I told
him not to worry about it as that would have been about four dollars (the chicks cost about two dollars a piece), and just asked him to try and make
sure his dog didn't get loose anymore.
So two of the roos were gone. I installed plywood at the bottom of the door to keep that from happening again.
Then, two days later, my step mother's dog, Tasha, whos a Husky / wolf mix got loose, came over and pretty much just crashed through the chicken wire
of the run, and took out two more of my chickens.
Again, not very happy, and I ended up doubling the fencing, using spikes to secure the bottom of the fence to the ground. Have not had an issue with
But now I was down to two chickens. A roo and a hen. Not going to get a lot of eggs that way.
That meant going out and buying more chicks.
We went to one of the local feed stores, and small business that still had chicks (was getting to the end of the season). I told the girls that worked
there that I wanted chicks that I KNOW are females. That I already had a roo and did NOT want anymore.
The girls there knew just what I needed: Cinnoman Queens!
They are not really a recognized breed, but are a hybrid that are what we call Color Sex Linked chickens. This means that their colors they have as
chicks makes it possible to identify them easily as male or female.
The Queens are very friendly, laid back, are great egg producers (about 240 a year per hen) and tend to lay jumbo sized brown eggs.
So we got six of them:
And of course they ended up growing too. Better yet: for a fact, they were ALL females! Yay!
So my rooster is a happy rooster. We call him Nugget (my son's idea). Here's a picture of him. At the bottom of the picture is the other surviving
Golden Lace, Betty:
Continued in the next post is some things I have learned about keeping chickens........