Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Chickens in the House

The girls have been wanting to join 4H for awhile, so we've been mulling the idea over and contemplating what sort of livestock we could legally raise in our .3 acre back yard. Notice the decimal point there. It's important.


Too reproductive.


A goat is like a dog, right?


Too clingy.



How hard can chickens be, really? They're cute. Sort of. They're dumb, but not as dumb as our dog. Surely they wouldn't eat cat poop!

Chickens lay eggs. Hey! We eat eggs! 

It was settled. So we bought a chicken book, because that's what teachers do when they need to learn stuff. They buy a book.

We told the girls that they had to read the chicken book and then we could get a chicken.

They read the chicken book. We were bound to honor our promise. There were only eight baby chicks left at Cal Ranch. We bought four.

The only problem is that we don't know if the chickens are hens or roosters or a combination of the two. I wasn't too worried because I figured the Renaissance Woman could sex the chickens for us.

Apparently the Renaissance Woman doesn't know everything, and she cannot sex our chickens. It's outside the boundaries of her skill set. It took eight years for me to find something that the Renaissance Woman doesn't know how to do, so I think I'm going to let her keep her title. However, she is on probation.

I probably don't need to say this, but if it turns out we have any roosters, they all must die. We cannot have them waking up our neighbors. That's the dog's job. From the teeny tiny little bit that I do know about chickens, from reading the young adult book Smiles to Go, chickens require a rooster to remain motivated to continue to lay eggs.

Enter Peanut Head and the Rooster Suit. I think this can work. Gunny's head will probably explode when he sees His Man in it, but that could hold some entertainment value. Video footage to come.

Currently the chicks are living in a cargo box which Peanut Head has most excellently fit with a cat/dog proof lid that still allows the chicks to breathe the precious oxygen of life. In the few days that we've had chickens, I've learned a thing or two about them.

They poop and eat constantly. That is all.

And okay, they are pretty cute too. I wonder though, at what point do they stop being cute and start looking creepy? You know what I'm talking about, right?

Is it me, or does this little guy look like he has a bobble head?

The girls spend a lot of time "playing with the chicks." The chicks spend a lot of time pooping on my babies.

Stinkerbell has gotten wise to the habits of chickens and now comes armed with a pooping pad.

Peanut Head has also put them to work building the chicken coop.

I begged for a chicken mansion that I could decorate like a sweet little playhouse in the backyard. Peanut Head pooh-poohed my idea and said "We will have something on wheels that we can roll around the yard and evenly distribute the fertilizer of perpetually pooping chickens."

It's a wonder I can maintain my positive attitude when my visions are discarded like used candy wrappers.

I am left to accept my fate of the mobile chicken coop. Perhaps I can still work with this vision. I'm thinking low rider with a hydraulic suspension. Where shall I mount the speakers with which to crank out War's Low Rider?


  1. Oh, Jill, you are too funny. And I have to tell you I was exactly where you are a year ago, only I had 14 chicks that were ALL supposed to be hens (specifically ordered that way), and we ended up with one roo. Our Oops Roo. Here, check out this link to see how we found out:

    Good luck!

  2. LOL, Jill! Will he pull it along behind a rider mower? Have coop will travel! : ) My Dad had chickens when we moved to Long Island from Brooklyn. He loved them and they followed him around, although he did have a coop and a chicken wire enclosure that they stayed in. I didn't care either way about them ~ I was a young teen at that point. I did care when my parents went on a cruise one year and I had to get the friggin eggs out of that coop! It does smell inside the coop, so get your nose clothespin ready. Hey ~ you can pretty that up! Some paint, scrapbook paper. You'll have the prettiest pinched nose in the neighborhood. : )

  3. Chickens are not legally allowed to be raised within city limits here. It's too bad, I think it's a good idea IF they have proper living quarters. There was a huge debate about this last year, about people wanting to raise egg laying chickens in the city, but the city shot them down and said that chickens are too dirty and noisy.

    My next door neighbors once tried to raise chickens in a little shack covered with a tarp that was not a proper coop. they had like 8 chickens in this tiny thing. Anyway, because it was (a) not legal in our city, and (b) it was not a proper coop, my other neighbor decided to call animal control about it.

    Also, I saw on a blog a while ago (forget which one) about a very PRETTY chicken coop. do a google search??

  4. chickens!!! you lucky ducks. Maybe you can compromise with a mobile chicken mansion? I'm sure you'll make it pretty, however it ends up.

  5. I didn't think you needed a rooster. Plus they can get mean!

    I also read (when i was chickensitting for my old neighbor) about how eggs can stay at room temp for days and be fine. But when you wash them, you wash off a coating and they need to be refridgerated asap. My neighbor had a complex egg carton rotation system in place to ensure she used the eggs on a first in/first out kind of basis.

    This blogger has chickens and has some good posts about them:

    I, too, can't wait to see how you use scrapbook supplies to pretty up the coop!

    Cat litter jugs or buckets make cheap nesting boxes!

  6. We'd like to have some chickens (as in Hubs and I; teen girls, not so much), so I'm eagerly awaiting your story of how this goes!

  7. My dream is to have chickens one day. I'm so jealous! It looks fun. :-)