Wednesday, 17 February 2016

10 Things about Raising Chickens...

Before we brought home our Chickens we researched for months. We'd read every book we could get our hands on and scarred the backyard chicken websites for information. We thought we know everything there was to know about chickens. We were wrong.

1. People will think that you're insane
You will encounter quite a bit negatively about your new hobby. Of all the people i've talked to about our experience raising chickens, Most people have been positive but there was a few others with negative comments. You'll hear a lot of comments like this: Why would you raise chickens when you can just buy eggs at the store?" "but, won't you get sick from eating their eggs?""Aren't you afraid somebody steals them?" "But what about the poop?". While some comment are just outwardly judgmetal others can be downright destructive to your chickens raising lifestyle. I'm talking neighbours here, while we are very lucky to have understanding neighbours who don't have a problem with our chickens (free range eggs don't hurt), I've heard of many chicken keepers while neighbours started an all out was over their new featured friends.

On the other hand chickens can be a great conversation starter with friend or strangers. Bring up the fact that you raise chickens at any party and you're guaranteed to have some questions to answer. These people will still probably think you're insane, but at least you have a chance to educate them on the hobby.

2. They're addicted
Any chicken keeper can tell you that raising chickens is like eating potato chips, one is just not enough and you won’t be able to stop yourself from collecting more.  You will end up with more chickens than you originally planned on getting.  You may not even do this on purpose.  Extra chickens see that rocking coop and smell your tasty chicken treats and they just come a knocking at your door! At least that’s what I tell my husband whenever our chickens mysteriously multiply.

3. They are unstoppable destruction machines
Our chickens have torn our backyard to shreds. I was never told that they would dig up every last plant, turn the yard into a mud pit, eat everything in sight, and poop on anything that’s left. Our first summer of free ranging, we let the birds out all day, every day.  By the end of the summer our yard was a mud pit and the only survivors in our garden were the toughest, woodiest plants, and even they weren’t looking too good. Chickens scratch at everything, and if they only have a small space to range in, they will destroy it. Don’t let this factor deter you from getting a flock of backyard chickens, you can do several things to keep them from destroying your property. 

4. They have unique personalities
Each breed has its own demeanor, it’s own quirks and characteristics. Just like dogs or horses, each breed differs greatly from others. Each chicken within that breed comes with its unique personality as well. Some chickens are friendly and will be constantly underfoot, some are skittish and shy, some are mean. They are all different little souls and once you have them frolicking about in your backyard, you’ll quickly pick up on their individuality.

5. The pecking order can be brutal
When we read in the books about pecking order. Imagined chickens giving a swift poke here and there to those underneath them. While that does happen, the reality of it is much more war-like. We have some chickens that are so eager to hang onto their title as head hen, they’ll straight up jump their flock-mates. I’m talking screaming, tackling, pulling feathers, scratching, and biting. The sweetest chickens can turn into vicious animals if their status is threatened. I just hope they never turn that brutality to the kind-hearted soul that feeds them everyday.

6. They will make you into a paranoid freak
Raising chickens has a way of turning you into a paranoid freak. It starts when they’re tiny fragile babies and entirely in your care. You’ll walk to the brooder one day and see three babies laying on their sides, unmoving. Your heart will stop and you’ll start squealing that you accidentally killed your babies. All of this racket will wake up the peacefully sleeping babies, and they’ll look at you like you have two heads. This is the only the beginning. Every time you hear them squawking in the backyard, you’ll run to the back door expecting to see Godzilla stomping through the yard, eating chickens left and right. Whenever the slightest little thing looks wrong with one, you’ll obsessively check them all to be sure this devastating and mysterious chicken disease hasn’t spread to all of your birds. Then when you start talking to your friends about bumblefoot and poultry lice over dinner, you’ll really know they got to you.

7. You will become their human servant 
You’ll feel guilty when you sleep in an hour on the weekend and you know those little feathery faces are standing at the door of their coop, desperate to go out, just waiting for their servant to come and open the door. If you run out of chicken treats you’ll find yourself driving to the country store at 7:50pm to get them some more before they close, then realize that you’re spending more money on their treats than you do on your own. You’ll find yourself giving them baths and manicures. Their coop will be cleaner than your home. You’ll soon realize that you’re bending over backward for the happiness of your chickens, and wondering how these little rascals went from being egg providing livestock to pampered pets with a higher status than your cat.

8. They are escape artists
Some say chickens are dumb, and they certainly can be, but they can also be brilliant little escape artists. Our Ginger spent a whole summer finding new ways to get on the other side of the fence. She would use a wheelbarrow propped against the fence to climb and hop over. She would find gaps under the chain link just big enough for her to squeeze through. She would hop from limb to limb on trees along the fence line until she could get to the top and lunge to the other side. If there was a way out of the yard, Ginger would find it. She even remembered from day to day which spots worked and which didn’t. Since it would always take me a few days to catch onto her tricks, she could get away with the same escape tactics over and over. I’ll tell ya, it’s very frustrating being outsmarted by a chicken.

9. They will eat practically anything
I’ll never understand why goats got the reputation for eating everything in sight. It really should go to the masters of devouring inedible garbage, the chickens. This can be a blessing and a burden. If you ever have food that’s about to go to bad, let your chickens take care of it for you! If you have an abundance of weeds growing in your yard, your chickens will be delighted to lend a hand, or rather a beak. Bug troubles? Once again chickens come to the rescue to gobble up ticks, flies, and garden pests. This helpfulness can be just as horrible as it is good. Chickens aren’t particular about what they eat, and you’ll see them sampling every bit of trash that’s blown into your yard, picking at tin foil and stray nails, trying to gobble down plastic bags, devouring styrofoam and chomping on newspaper.

10. You'll get attached
You can tell yourself that you won’t. You can refuse to name your birds and claim that they’re not pets, but when their little individual personalities start shining through, you’ll be hard pressed to resist them. When it comes time to say goodbye, whether through culling, selling, or death by accident, don’t expect it to be easy just because they’re livestock. When we got our chickens, I broke all the rules of livestock within a month.

If you are thinking about getting a flock of chickens, we got ours from a local breeders "Briggs Poultry". Pam is such a lovely lady and she will help you in every way. You can view from appointment, or pop in. She lives near Wind Mill near Alford. For Pam's contact details.

Please comment below if you would like to know anything else about Chickens and I will try my best to answer your questions. 

Thank you y'all for reading my blogs.

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