We currently have 11 girls comprised of mostly Heritage breeds:
|Morning in the yard|
2 - Delaware
2- Buff Orpington
2 - Easter Egger
3 - Barnevelder
The breeds, and then the individual girls, each have their own characteristics and personalities. Mostly adorable due to their endless antics but then there are the occasional times when I would like to tweak someone's beak for picking on their sister. Sound familiar?
|Here's where the design comes into play - picked the breeds for a lovely egg basket|
On a typical day the girls give us between 4-7 eggs. We share with neighbors, co-workers, and happy clients. A basket of fresh eggs is a thing of beauty and wonder. The eggs are rich with deep yellow yolks and make the best omelettes, deviled eggs, egg foo young, quiche, frittata, eggs in hell, scotch eggs, potato salad, ... the list goes on.
|Birds of a Feather - The 3 Barnevelders - Sable, Suri and Sasha|
|Bella waiting for me to take her off the roost|
|The mad rush for breakfast|
Lately Steve has been letting them out in the big yard to roam and scratch for about 10 minutes before bedtime. 11 chicks will eat every blade of grass in their enclosure so they really need some good grass time. Just before bed (sunset) is ideal because they will always go home to roost - it's easy at dusk to get the 11 bodies to come home. Ever try to chase a chick that wants to stay out and play? Not an easy task.
We have three levels of containment for them.THE COOP - most safe (designed by my wonderful architect husband) so far the coop has the best security with 2 wire covered vents at the top for air flow, a window, a pop door, a service door, a man door, three nest boxes, and two roosts with 2 layers of open wire below (easy clean up.)
|Our coop with attached run|
THE FENCED YARD - day safe - large chain link fenced area with two pine trees, and aviary netting over the top of everything. The man door on the coop opens out into the fenced yard. They hang out here all day, scratching away, sitting under the trees, and enjoying life. We have trapped two raccoons over night in this area and we had a small hawk find its way into the yard. This part is not safe at night but works pretty well to protect them during the daylight hours.
|The garden with chick compost|
Now for the biggest challenges or draw backs:We have to be home at dawn and dusk - always, always, always. Lock them up or loose them. Who doesn't like to eat chicken??? Predators abound in our neighborhood.
We love them. Ella will nuzzle into my neck and sit with me for hours. Come on, how can you not love that?
Send us questions if you have any. We are not experts but are happy to share what we have learned so far.
Thanks for reading about our "girls" and our chick adventures!
PS - let us know if you would like to know about how we worked with our city to keep our girls. The city was awesome - they just needed a bit of good info to work with.