Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My Girls (yes, I do know they are chickens)

When we bought our first house I told my husband I wanted chickens and a goat. I don't think he quite believed me. Of course, we ended up having way too many projects, and a newborn baby, our second daughter, kept our life complicated enough for the first year. But a bit over a year ago I started getting the itch. I pushed for another baby. I pushed for a dog. I've always wanted a full (to the brim) life.
I got them as pullets for $1 each
We compromised at chickens and a veggie garden. I was so excited to show my daughters what food really is, where it really comes from. I got the chickens expecting that they would lay eggs until the winter months, and then provide us with a nice slightly non-traditional Thanksgiving meal. I tried to prepare my oldest daughter mentally for this fated day when all the chickens were going to be suddenly gone, and she did not like it. I talked with her about it often, telling her if she had a problem with it that it was ok, but that then she should have a problem with eating all chickens - not just hers. She wasn't ready to make the leap to vegetarian, but she might have if we had butchered the chickens that fall.

My main motivation in butchering them before winter was I wasn't quite sure what to do with the chickens with all the snow and freezing temperatures. I did a lot of googling and I didn't find any great information. Some people said they'd need light for half of the day to keep laying eggs. Some said they wouldn't lay any eggs. Some said they'd need a heater. 

Well, guess what? Winter came early last year and I just kept letting them live and provide us with eggs and they ended up sticking around. They were just fine on their own - no light bulb, no heater. A heated dog bowl to keep the water from freezing and a tarp over the chicken run to keep the snow out was all they needed. They did take a brief egg laying hiatus towards Spring, but it only lasted a couple weeks. 
Next time, I'd build it differently, but I love their little cabin
I love my chickens now and they're past their prime as far as food goes, so they'll be sticking around providing me with amazing eggs for as long as they let me. I've learned a lot from them and my kids love being little farmers. I love being a bit more sustainable here in the city. It makes me proud to be able to provide for my family and neighbors in some way. Having the kids in the neighborhood come over to "The Farm" as they call it and learn about eggs and chickens is very rewarding - and given what little common knowledge there is left of the farming world I feel like it is very important work. One should know where eggs come from. It's surprising how many people don't know that you don't need a rooster for the hens to lay eggs.
The tiny egg is what they call an egg-fart, no yolk
It's really great to live in an area where it is not only accepted but welcomed. I've been happy to see some suburbs embracing the trend, as well. I think it's important for those who can to take the time to unravel some of the automatic luxuries. I love when people choose the farmer's market instead of Whole Foods. I get really excited when people are interested in raising chickens, and I really hope people continue to place value in where their food is coming from. If you are considering raising chickens, please feel free to contact me and ask questions. I'm more than happy to convince anyone they need these little ladies in their lives.

Anyway, I'd like to introduce them to you -
Madonna, the beautiful
Priscilla, the bold
Duckie, the timid
Well, that's all for now, but now that you're all acquainted I'm sure you'll be hearing more about them. 


  1. Wow, very cool that you're raising chickens in the city! Now I know who to call when I'm baking those cookies and I run out of eggs...

  2. Do you know what breed of chicken you have? We got the "meat and eggs" combo from McMurray Hatchery this spring and have one chicken that's the same as yours. Maybe a Dominecker, Barred Rock or a Wyandotte?

  3. I have tons of eggs! Bring a carton and I'll bring you back eggs :) And Gretchen, they are Barred Rock hens. I loved their look and they were supposedly the quietest kind. My neighbors never hear them and make fun of me for it when they hear the slightest sounds.

  4. They're so cute! I totally wouldn't mind having chickens! And eggs are one of the few foods my kids always eat ;-)

  5. Thanks for adding me on twitter! (iheartsharks) I'm excited to start reading through your blog. I have to say, Im so jealous of your chickens. I also really want chickens and a goat (or 2), but the husband is not into the idea yet. (Lucky for him we cant have goats in Minneapolis. Very unfortunate for me though. Maybe I can convince him to move to St Paul...)

  6. Heidi - I wish my kids would eat eggs! I've tried every way and so far they only like them one way - in cupcakes, lol!

    iheartsharks- I didn't know you could have goats in St. Paul! Definitely makes St. Paul more appealing :) And my husband was against it for awhile, but has grown to love them!

  7. Thanks for the post about your chickens! I was going to ask you about a post, but you already did it. Your chicken's and coop are so lovely! I may need to do a drive by...

  8. Yes, I added myself to the coop tour, too. I'm excited and nervous. My backyard is a mess! I'm hoping it'll motivate me a bit :) And, you are always welcome to just stop by some time, we love visitors and I would give you eggs!

  9. Neat! Gotta love the chickens. A blogger friend of mine just lost one of hers to a hawk.. and she lives in a town, not the country. For some reason I thought hawks would back off in town. As for me, I see them often, usually eying my small pups.