So, I was reading an article in ReadyMade magazine the other day, and, long story short, I realized that I needed to raise some chickens to go with my new garden at the cafe! :)
Some background- when I was younger (middle-schoolish), I used to spend several weeks in the summer at my mamaw and papaw's farm in middle Tennessee. I got to "help" Mamaw and Papaw in their gardens- digging potatoes, picking strawberrries, playing in the dirt mostly, and eating A Lot! I can't say I remember how to garden at all- I only remember the wonderful feeling of barefoot toes in the dirt, and being with mamaw in her straw hat and cotton dress.
More than gardening, though, I remember chickens. There were several stages- from the incubator beside papaw's chair, to the cardboard hotel for the baby chicks in the living room floor, and then to the shed where they moved through the rooms in stages until they were ready for the coop! Occasionally, Papaw would let me and my cousin Wesley take care of the chickens. We gathered the eggs and fed them. I don't recall this ever ending well, and I'm sure Peta would not have approved.
And, the chickens led to the only time Mamaw ever got upset with us. Wesley and I had been playing with them so much one day, that we must have smelled pretty bad when we came in. Mamaw marched us both to the bathtub, put us in, showered us off, and barred us from the henhouse! That was pretty serious- but at least we still got to eat the eggs...sunny-side up.
Mamaw & Papaw had many many chickens, and I'm not trying to recreate that particular smell, but you can imagine how excited I got after reading an article about how easy it is to have your own chickens, resulting in farmfresh eggs!
And, it just so happened that it is the perfect season for baby chicks! I was certain my niece Lizi would love the chicks for Easter, so I headed to the local Co-op.
Wow- baby chicks need a lot of stuff. I only got 4 because of a misunderstanding about how many eggs they would eventually lay. It turns out 4 chickens will produce 3-4 eggs a day, not 12-16. I may be adding 3 or 4 more to the mix soon. So after the heat lamp, small coop, food and water dispensers, medicated food, etc, we got them settled into Mom and Dad's garage. You can hear their chirps throughout the entire house- ah, life on the farm...
I found a good website about raising chickens, also- www.backyardchickens.com. After reading some more, I realized we'll need an outdoor coop by May 23ish, and I've hired/challenged my brother Blue and my basically-brother Houston to surprise me with an aesthetically-pleasing and fully-functional coop. I hear they are trying to sublet the job, so you should know if they ask you- I'm paying them more than the $50 they are offering you!
Here are some photos of the baby chicks:
So, come see us in about 6 months, I think- We'll be using farmfresh eggs... Lord willing and the chicks survive!
See you soon,
P.S. Here is a short video of Lizi meeting the chicks and introducing them to the family. You can see she's ready for dinner...