Thursday, January 17, 2013


Our chickens have stopped laying and while we are weighing our options (leaning towards processing them for chicken stew), I wanted to take this time to encourage others that were considering raising chickens for either meat or eggs. 

I have always wanted to raise chickens ever since I’ve had my first taste of it as a boy of 12. My father had an autobody repair shop, which in turn had a large fenced in yard. This yard constantly had chickens running around it that had escaped from another property in the neighborhood where they were free-ranged. Some of these chickens had taken up residence in part of my dad's property and one day we discovered that they had laid eggs and that they had hatched. 

I asked my parents if we could take some chickens home to raise.  My parents thought briefly and said, "Why not?" I don’t remember the exact number of peeps that I had, but it was probably about 6. None of us knew anything about raising chickens, so I kept them in a clubhouse-like building that I had. I outfitted it with bedding, food and water. Unbeknownst to me, we were going to have a cold snap a few weeks later. One morning I came out to 6 dead chickens. I hadn't tried anything with chickens until now.

Fast forward to the Summer of 2010...

We have a couple from church that was looking to get rid of their Arucanas. We live in an unincorporated area but close by, the city has a limit of 6 chickens. Note to self (and others), live in an area with as little restrictions as possible. Freedom is very important in more ways than one!

In thinking about the number of chickens that we should keep, we decided that we should take as many as we could handle and have room for. Extra eggs will just go to our friends and the neighbors.

Our family took to building a chicken tractor so we can house the chickens with access to land, while keeping them from tearing up all of the grass as well as aggravating the neighbors, so I immediately began thinking about what to build and how to build on that is efficient as well as inexpensive as possible. I'll post some information on the  chicken tractor in a future post.

We got the girls home and were fascinated. We watched then as they became accustomed to their new surroundings.The next morning we came out to six freshly laid eggs. We were surprised that they acclimated that quickly, but were also very happy that they did.

Like I mentioned earlier, I wanted to take this time to encourage anyone who was thinking about raising chickens to try it. Start small so you don't get overwhelmed and have a chance to learn, but do start. You'll find that chickens are quirky, but also very enjoyable and smart; and nothing beats your own, fresh eggs!

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