Monday, December 27, 2010

I'm In A Chicken State Of Mind

Come this spring, we're planning on the first addition of animals at Casa de Peaceable Kingdom.  I'm going to continue my true homesteading experience with the addition of chickens to our little farmstead.  Music Man got this wonderful book for me for Christmas.  The photography is beautiful, the information informative and very pertinent and a great winter time read for me. 

I've been having a fun time trying to figure out just the right breed for our needs.  So many wonderful types of chickens and the choices are I get ones that can be trusted to be kind to the kids?  Is their relationship to each other most important?  Can they handle the extreme temps changes of New England (being 45 mile an hour winds outside today along with blizzard conditions and I'm more then ever convinced I need a winter hearty breed!  See the arrival of snow to our corner through the window in the picture?).

Also what type of coop do they need?  How large, should it be mobile so I can move them around the yard (helping fertilize and decreasing bug population), or trust that they can truly free range here unconfined (we do have foxes and skunks that we've seen here that would make a quick snack of a non vigilant chicken)?  Should their enclosure be permanent?  So many decisions!

What's the best feed to supplement the grass and bugs they will be foraging around here (oh, we've got plenty!)?  What type of bedding to use that will be totally compostable so they can benefit my garden as well?How many chickens will meet our egg needs per week?  We have decided to start with eggs this year and get our feet wet with egg layers and perhaps next year we'll try our hand at broilers to fill our freezer.

So many choices and decisions...and I've been having a great time learning and reading about them. As a teenager, I worked on a farm that had chickens and I'm not completely novice at this, but honestly, it's been a few years since that time was at hand.  I am brushing up on the care and feeding so I can provide a caring and humane home for our newest additions. 

Not to mention, I just love chickens.  I don't know what it is about them, they are just charming to me.  Hours of entertainment watching their interactions with each other and other animals, chasing a succulent bug or having a dirt bath.  I've heard to them referred to as Farm TV...I wholeheartedly agree!

Wishing you some fresh eggs in your future, ~Peacemom


small farm girl said...

My best advice about chickens? Don't over think them. They are very easy to raise. Get a veriety of them. That way YOU can decide which kind you like the best. Then when you want to try butchering, just butcher the ones that just arn't the kind you want. You can read as many books as you can, but nothing is better than plain old experiance. Jump in with both feet! lol

Peacemom said...

Good advice, farm girl, thanks! As it's deep winter here in NH, this is the time I read about what I want to learn...spring will be the doing time!

Ruta said...

Tractor Supply has been sponsoring "chicken swaps" these last few years in the spring. I got my chickens almost two years ago from the chicken swap in Merrimack. TSC in Milford also had a chicken swap but I missed it. It is held (usually on a Saturday) in the parking lot. I had my choice of full grown, just hatched, or in between. You might want to check it out.