Tuesday, February 24, 2009

New paradigm for the chicken adventURE

I've been finding people who have chickens and visiting their domiciles to develop a frame of reference about chickens. Seeing where they're housed helps us plan to build our chicken coop.

The rooster at right "rules the roost." We met him during a chicken tour at Doug's house. Doug shares my passion to bike to work.

The rooster is proving his dominance by stomping on the chicken at right. I've read that the main purpose to have a rooster is for entertainment. Because I don't need them to fertilize the eggs, they're superfluous.

Bob asked, "How do roosters fertilize eggs so eggs grow into chickens?" I don't know. This shows the shallowness of my chicken-raising knowledge. I don't need to know now, but what if my survival depended on it?

DOES ANYONE KNOW THE ANSWER to how roosters fertilize eggs?

My friends Bernadett and Denali are coming with me on the chicken adventURE. We decided to get Rhode Island Reds because they were the ONE "highly recommended"breed among the 44 Jeremy Hobson and Celia Lewis described in their book "Keeping Chickens."

The adoption date is April 16, after Denali gets back from a road trip. It gives Bernadett and me time to build a chicken coop. We have to order them. They will NOT be given antibiotics, but we do want them vaccinated. All of these decisions.

Denali said the breed is not too friendly. "We don't want to get attached to them as pets before we kill them."

It is like having a baby or getting a dog. All of the sudden we notice chicken coops and chicken owners so we can talk chicken with them.

We have determined that chickens are considered pets by town government, so we won't be breaking any laws by setting up our chicken operations.

The anticipation of the chicken advent is building. There are so many unknowns, which is why it's a great adventure. Bernadett reports, "I stayed up for three hours last night thinking and planning for my chickens."

Bob and I figured out where to build the chicken coop -- at the end of an existing out-building, downwind from the house. When the snow melts, we'll start construction. Bob thought the recommended 4 square per "heavy" bird was excessive. We'll see. The chicks will start out in a box in the workshop, where it's warm.

Doug gave us an old plastic watering and feeding device for the chicks. Our first shower gift.


  1. that picture shows how you get fertile eggs! if you are going to eat your chickens you will have to buy more chicks or let some of the eggs hatch

  2. I really enjoyed reading your posts! Did anyone say that chickens can get a taste for eggs, sometimes you will get one that discovers that the eggs taste good and they will eat them. Some hens are protective of their eggs and will object by pecking your hand when you take their eggs. the chickens can be good defenders of the yard, one I had once would chase cats out of the yard. They are most vulnurable at night, they sleep so soundly even the meanest rooster can be picked up easily.

  3. by the way, they eat almost everything green including nuisance weeds like poison ivy. they are almost as good as goats for stripping the undergrowth in the woods.

  4. The chickens we had before ate a lot of poison ivy, but Im not sure if eating the eggs transferred any immunity to poison ivy to us.

  5. It would be nice to gain some immunity from poison ivy through chickens. Thanks for the explanation on how to get fertile eggs! I will remember to make night-time raids on roosters. Thanks for all of your chick-education and the tour.

  6. I am getting some chickens from a customer at my store but I have no previous knowledge or experience. All the people I know just chuckle when I ask for a book recommendation; apparently they don't need a primer. I have been reading up online but I really would like to get at least one good book to help me on my adventure. Any suggestions?