Thursday, May 14, 2015


You may have already heard, but our family grew by four heartbeats!! We're excited to announce that we have four feathered family members now. One Sunday evening, we all hopped in the car and went to a friend of a friend's home to choose our little flock. He had many different varieties and taught us about each kind, while also chatting with us about chicken care. We ended up staying two and a half hours... much longer than expected. It was a really fun evening.

Since it was late when we got home, we put the chickens in the coop and went to bed. The next morning we were so eager to get out the door and see how they were doing! We through Ian's boots over his pajamas and headed out the door.
Please don't mind the mess... goodwill donations in the backyard.
Apparently someone else was quite eager, too. Hi Leif...
 Jim made this really neat coop for them after researching many designs and coming up with his own. He's so handy.

 The entire roof lifts up, giving easy access to the feed refill shoot, as well as the water.

There's also a roosting perch, made out of a thick branch Jim installed within the coop. I'm not sure how I managed to skip taking a picture of the inside. One day I'll add one here.

Our chickens are two and three months old, so we still have a few months before they'll be supplying us with eggs. WHEN they do, they will lay them in this nesting area.
It is entirely too fun to come out and visit with the chickens each morning. Having a toddler makes it that much more enjoyable! I had no idea how great this would be. Seriously.

Our routine is to eat our breakfast, get Ian dressed and in his boots, and then we head out into the yard. I normally get there first to open the door of the coop and the gate of the run, and then Ian comes running in to visit with the ladies.

He's utterly fascinated.

 Unfortunately, Leif is too. We have had one incident already. Fortunately, all of our birds are okay. We though Leif had been doing very well, but when left alone for the first time he quickly lost his privileges to be alone with them again.
 Fortunately, Ian is much more harmless. He's had a great respect for them so far.

Here's a fun little series of Ian with the chickens. They approached just a little close and Ian's expressions always make us laugh when that happens. Click to enlarge, if interested.

 Here he is, the animal whisperer himself. Jim's so comfortable around the chickens
 And there's a little glow about him. Once a bio major, always a bio major.
 As the saying goes, perhaps.... like father, like son.
 Ian can be found following the chickens around now, arms spread out like he's herding them. Today he even started trying to pick them up gently. He had the technique down. He seems to grasp the concept that they are delicate beings and that we need to respect them. So neat!
So, would you like to meet them?? Of course you would.

Here are our two Barred Rocks. They are supposed to be hearty birds that are very docile and good with children. They will lay brown eggs.

This is Laverne. She is our friendliest chicken. She doesn't mind being held and sometimes sits on Jim's shoulder for a bit, when placed there. For personality and interaction, she's probably our family's favorite of the flock.
This is Clovus. She's a bit more nervous, but still fairly friendly. Jim named this one after a patient in a story told by one of his attendings. As soon as he heard the name he decided to save it for the name of a chicken one day. So, here she is
Here are our two Americana/Easter Eggers. They are a mix of the two. The Easter Eggers are supposed to lay blue, green, or pink eggs. We're looking forward to seeing what colors they lay in a few months!

 This is Sooki. She is quite skiddish and quick.

And, last but not least, this is Astrid. She is the star of the coop and, therefore, aptly named. She was chosen for her beautiful feathers. She lost quite a few in a skirmish with Leif. We thought we'd lost her and weren't sure if she'd make it through the night. The next day, she exited the coop with a flourish and was back to her normal self. Whew. She's also quite quick and timid.

So, that's our little flock. Small and sweet. Time will tell if we have any roosters in our midst. We have a couple potentials, but hope they all turn out to be hens. It will be sad to say goodbye after we've started growing so fond of them already. The man we got them from said we could bring them back and exchange them for another chicken, if that should occur. We aren't allowed to have roosters where we live, even though it would be neat to have one cock-a-doodle-dooo for us in the morning!!!
 The chickens are pretty fond of me now, since I almost always carry compost out to them when I visit. If they see me heading for them in the yard, they start running to me. It's quite sweet, really!

They've also gotten more and more daring about heading into our full yard. They always follow their buddy system, sticking with their partner bird, but the four of them make their treks across the yard all-together. There's strength in numbers.

We give them a lot of free range time, when we're home. Ian and I enjoy being in the yard with them. We keep a close eye on Leif, when he's out with us. As you can see from the hugs, Ian does a good job showing Leif that we still love him!!
This is now a common sight in our yard. 
So far, we are really enjoying this endeavor.

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