Spring will be here soon, and baby chicks will start arriving in farm stores across the nation. For those of you considering having your own backyard coop, now is the time to start planning.
We were the proud owners of our own chickens for several years. This was prior to moving back to the DC area. We maintained our backyard chicken coop, and enjoyed fresh daily eggs. My grandparents had raised pigs, goats, and chickens. I had such great memories, and I had always wanted my own.
Our first year, we started with a small flock of various breeds. We knew nothing. My husband just knew I wanted chickens, and showed up on my birthday in the spring with little tiny chicks. We had no coop, and no idea how to raise these little peeps. We placed them in tubs with heat lamps in our bonus room. The room proceeded to be covered in their fine feather dust, turning everything white. These are things you might want to consider prior to bringing chicks home. We built a coop, and then realized it was too small. We let them roam the backyard, then realized they could escape. And we quickly discovered that even a small number of chickens can destroy a large area of lawn very quickly. Our chickens pecked away at our garden, destroying our cabbage. It turned out we had much to learn regarding how to make a backyard coop work properly.
The chickens were work, but the fresh eggs made it worth the experience. The kids learned a great deal from these added chores. They froze their little fingers in winter, cleaning out the water containers daily. The daily scene was priceless, as the children tried to avoid touching the chicken droppings on eggs. It turns out that eggs are not found looking like they do in the grocery store.
The kids named their chickens, and spent a great deal of time interacting with them. I am sure someday they will possibly want to raise their own for their children. But for now, they say they want goats next. We are sticking with just the dog for now.
I am adding a few links here for any of you that live in an area where a backyard coop is possible.
Here are a few fun pictures from our experiences.