There's so much anticipation leading up to getting chickens. Should I raise my own chicks? Go with a pullet that's almost ready to lay? Is an actively laying hen the best choice since she's a sure thing? And then there are the questions that really matter, pertaining to food, shelter, health, safety and the happiness of the future flock.
Some of these questions were answered for me this week when I met a woman from Big Lake, Alaska looking to downsize her flock. Before I knew it I had one pullet and two actively laying hens pecking around my coop in the city. All three birds are full sized, and I have to say that for now this is the perfect number of chickens for me. It's manageable, and will allow me to get through my learning curve without being totally overwhelmed. Like my dog, these girls are practically impossible to take a picture of...they just move too fast! So until I get a better camera I hope these photos will do.
After arriving home from picking the chickens up, I carefully moved them from the straw-filled dog crate into the main chicken coop. Two of the girls got right to pecking around and scratching; the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte you see below was the first to brave the ramp down to the outside run.
The Golden Laced Cochin has the softest feathers, and with such a beautiful pattern! She's very friendly, and quickly took to investigating her surroundings.
The Black Cochin pullet has been keeping a close eye on me ever since we met. She's not very thrilled when I pick her up (clearly, she's figured out I'm new at this) but I know that I'll earn her trust over time. She's very alert and has even managed to make herself a nice dust bath in the frozen ground. I see some diatomaceous earth in her future...
I was really worried about the girls on their first night. It was -2* F when the sun went down, and the temperature continued to drop. I'd read that cracked corn really gets their metabolism going so I fed them some before bed, shut the coop up tight with a 150 watt infrared heat lamp, and hoped for the best. By morning it was -11* F, but when I checked on the girls they all looked to be doing just fine. I can't say that their coop seemed "warm" to me, but it must have been warm enough for them.
Later in the morning I went out to add some weather stripping to the coop and look what was waiting for me...the first egg! I'd thought for sure it would be days or longer before they would start laying again, but the Blue Laced Red Wyandotte got right to work. Today there was another egg as well...I wonder which of the girls will be the next to lay?
Find Arctic Feat on Facebook by clicking HERE.