Backyard Chickens

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When I first met Ben, his profile picture featured him with a big smile on his face and a chicken on his shoulder.  I mean, I wasn’t a huge fan of birds, but didn’t think too much on it.  We went on our first date at a sushi restaurant, and I asked about his pets: eight chickens and two cats.  I asked the standard questions that I now field all the time like, “Do you eat them?” and, “Do they lay eggs?” To which the answers are no, and yes respectively.

Ben and one of his favorite chickens, Dagda.

Ben and one of his favorite chickens, Dagda.

About another month into our relationship, two of the chickens got sick. We believe they were egg bound (when an egg gets stuck in the chicken’s reproductive tract), and both died shortly after. I was surprised because I found myself upset, and I never would have guessed I’d have felt that way about a bird. Shortly after, a fox got into the chicken run and killed the remaining six chickens. It was a sad way to start a new flock, but such is life. It was a chance to start over.

Since it was early enough in the year, Ben decided to take a trip to a farm halfway between York and Hanover, PA. We got six chicks. One buff Orpington named Waffles, one blue laced Wyandotte named Herbert, two copper Marans named Roostroyer and Tilapia, and a black Silkie aptly named Fluffybutt.

The new baby chickens first time outside.

The new baby chickens first time outside.

I named Herbert first; he may have been my favorite.

He was so little he fit in my pocket.

He was so little he fit in my pocket.

They were housed in a giant storage bin with a heat lamp, food, and water with wood chips on the bottom. The bin was in the bathroom for about 3 or 4 weeks, and peeps could be heard round the clock. Those were both the cutest and most annoying weeks of my life.

Since Ben lives near his neighbors, he can’t keep roosters because of the noise they make.  So, when the chicks grew into chickens and those chickens started crowing like roosters, we had to find them a new home.  First Roostroyer started crowing, then Herbert.  We found a kind fellow from Ben’s father’s work to take Roostroyer, and a woman with a sizable collection of chickens for Herbert.  I know in my heart they are happy and getting all the tail-feather they could want.

Here is part of the chicken coop and run.  The chickens are enjoying some time outside in the open.

Here is part of the chicken coop and run. The chickens are enjoying some time outside in the open.

With only three and a half chickens (since Fluffybutt is a silkie, she lays half-sized eggs), we needed more!  Craigslist is the best bet for pullets (young chickens), which is where we found Kevin, an Ameraucana.

Kevin comes home!

Kevin comes home!

And two more! One Leghorn named Fog[horn], and one Barred Rocks that doesn’t have a name just yet.

Newbies!

Newbies!

Tilapia, the alpha hen, and Waffles, the giant, fluffy one, have started laying eggs.  I can’t wait until Fluffybutt lays little bitty eggs and Kevin, the jerk, lays her green or blue eggs.

They have become my babies, my pets, and my breakfast makers!

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