The Ferry is simply a buzz and a cluck with estrogen these days. Poor Jacob and Tucker became unequivocally outnumbered last week when we picked up six female chicks. Add that to Beckett and me. And, we cannot forget the 20,000 honeybees that arrived two weeks ago. I suppose I could call Jacob a “Ladies Man” because the girls are taking over.
It was not even two months ago that I made the emphatic announcement that I was not getting chickens this year – there was too much on my plate. I was in the throws of chugging through the mud of this blog, transitioning a household budget to one that sufficed on unemployment checks and mulling over the dreary winter that appeared to be never-ending… There was certainly no room for chickens. Well, that song and dance quickly changed its tune. There was a fervent campaign that I couldn’t fend off. The cheeping fluff balls sold me the next time we visited the farm store (a likely excuse, I know), the chicken care books that had been reserved back in December had finally arrived at the library (and, I couldn’t NOT check them out!) and a good friend’s enthusiasm for chickens rubbed off on me.
So, now that the books were in my hands, I got to start working on finding out everything I could about chickens:
- How to care for them (I have raised dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, honeybees, but never even been near or touched chickens – I had A LOT to read up on)
- What breeds to purchase (they needed to be friendly, tolerable to handling by adults and children and generally hardy)
- What kind of coop to build (Let’s not go here yet, the chicks are still in the brooder and we are finalizing the plans for our simple, but working towards extremely elaborate chicken coop. Basically, too much talk, not enough action.)
Whatcom County is a wonderful resource for this project as a whole. I have met and talked with incredibly kind and skilled farmers and producers who are changing the face of our local economy. Our country neighborhood is home to a veritable plethora of local products ranging from food and drink to artisan gifts and homespun crafts. There also seems to be no shortage of information on chickens. I feel like I am becoming a member of an honorary club that the majority of the county already belongs to – real, live chicken raiser.
All my questions were answered and the chicks were ordered – a mix of Buff Orpingtons and Plymouth Bard Rocks. My initial estimate (a.k.a. “promise to Jacob”) of two chickens conspicuously grew to an order of six chicks and we picked up our girls last week. The garage was ready for the brooder and the nameplate was painted. Jackie, Mays, Sandy, Tris, Paige and Gwynn had arrived (do you see the pattern?!). The first week was bliss with nary a worry in sight. But, last week one of our Buff Orpingtons took a turn for the worse. Jacob and I said our good-byes that evening preparing for the worst come morning, but lo and behold she recovered and has rebounded with an enthusiasm for life (at least that’s what her flightiness and constant cheeping tell me!). If keeping ones children alive is an indicator of parenting abilities, we have been tested and appear to be passing at this point.
The chicks will move out to the chicken coop (assuming it’s ready sometime this year!) in the next few months and hopefully begin laying scrumptious, fresh, organic eggs for us. The chicks have provided Beckett with the perfect, living and breathing example of farm animal sounds and she loves to crouch low next to the brooder and cheep along with their chorus. As her sense of humor grows, we enjoy her sunshine lilt each morning when she says “Mornin’ guys. Ha! Ha! Just kidding…girls!”
Here’s to our starting line-up of baseball girls – bring on the eggs!