It’s been nearly two months since we finished our chicken coop, adopted our chickens and harvested our very first egg. I wanted to do a little chicken check-in for those of you who are considering backyard chickens. WE LOVE THEM!
- They are quieter then I expected.
- They are cleaner then I expected.
- They are so fun to watch.
- They are quarky and each have their own personalities.
- The eggs are AMAZING!
I’m so glad that we put in the hard work to build a coop and add chickens to our backyard. Even two months later the kids still get excited to go out and check for eggs. If I’m gone in the morning when the kids harvest eggs – the first thing I hear from my both my 2- and 5-yr-olds when I walk through the door is how many eggs they got from the coop!
We have five chickens:
Amelia – Black & White Chicken – Light Brahma – The boss of the group, she’s in charge.
Princess Lay-a-negg – Yellow Chicken – Buff Orpington – Loves her picture taken.
Girly – Brown Chicken- Partridge Cochin – Always looks a bit perplexed and often off on her own.
Chena – cross between an Orpington and a Jersey Giant – Follows around Marmalade
Marmalade – cross between an Orpington and a Jersey Giant – Follows around Chena.
I didn’t think I’d want the chickens running around in my backyard (and that’s partly why we invested in such a big coop) – but we let them run around and “free range” nearly every day. We let them out – they run around and explore and as soon as we open the coop door they all run back in.
We get between three to four eggs a day – which has been the perfect amount for an egg breakfast 4-5 days a week and for any baking we do. They usually lay the eggs in late morning. They make the most noise when they are laying eggs, but it’s still less noise than I expected we’d have with five chickens – and a million times quieter then our two children. 🙂 Our neighbors haven’t complained at all, in fact I think they actually find it a little charming, I think.
The eggs themselves are the tastiest I’ve ever had. It could be that I’m a bit partial, but really, the yolks are bright yellow and they taste wonderful.
We traveled a lot this summer and the chickens are so low maintenance they did fine! We have amazing neighbor friends who swing in once a day to check the chicken’s water and food – and collect the fresh eggs – while we’re gone. It’s a win-win – they love the eggs and we appreciate the chicken sitting.
As far as being a frugal endeavor, it is not. . . .yet. The initial investment of the coop was more than we expected – so it wasn’t as “cheep” as I anticipated – BUT the initial investment is worth it to us over the long run – and the whole experience has been a great learning experience and great for our kids. It gives me a warm and fuzzy Little House on the Prairie feeling as I see my 2-year-old juggling fresh eggs while sprinting across the lawn into the house, shoes on the wrong feet and her hair in her face. We’ve lost a few from fumbling fingers, but that’s also part of the whole learning experience.
Although the coop cost more than we wanted, I still LOVE the design and it has worked out wonderfully. It’s easy to clean, easy to access, the chickens seem happy and I’m really pleased with it! I think coop design plays a big role in how easy it is to care for your chickens. I hope to share our coop “plans” (they aren’t official) and the building process this fall when the kids are back in school and I have some time to do a more thorough, detailed post. The green chair is an eye sore – but it’s how the kids are currently able to climb up to open the nesting box door and harvest the eggs. I’d like to eventually build a little step stool, maybe this fall. I put up wood boards around the bottom left side to provide the chickens more shaded area over the hottest days this summer – an easy, inexpensive fix for those extra sunny days.
We keep all the chicken feed in a galvanized garbage can with a tight lid to keep other creatures (maybe predators) from coming around looking for food. It works great and the chickens now get super excited when we take the lid off – and they come running over because they know it’s food time! We’ve also been feeding them food waste scraps (which they share with our worms) and that’s good for their digestion, good for their eggs and it keeps our feed costs down.
It’s been a great couple months and I just wanted to check-in, or should I say chick-en? Expect more on the coop building process later in September!
Here are a few chicken resources:
Check out these books for some great chicken info. Your local library probably has these titles and others, too!
- *LOVE THIS BOOK!* The Joy of Keeping Chickens: The Ultimate Guide to Raising Poultry for Fun or Profit (The Joy of Series) – $10.91
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, 3rd Edition – $12.36
- Building Chicken Coops For Dummies – $12.03 (reg. $19.99)
- Chicken Coops: 45 Building Ideas for Housing Your Flock – $13.30 (reg. $19.95)
Did you get chickens this summer? Are you thinking about getting backyard chickens?