Sunday, July 20, 2014

Skater the chicken keeper

So it's high time that I document one of the funnest (yeah I know that's not a word) adventures we have taken on recently.  WE HAVE CHICKENS!!!  So you might ask does a farm girl - married suburbian - decide to keep backyard chickens?  The answer - have yourself a Skater.  When I was pregnant with SK my mom bought a tiny box of peeps.  She started with quite a few.  Several have died along the way but she still has 3.  It's really neat that they are the same age as SK.  SK has LOVED interacting with Nammy's chickens.  All our kids are thrilled to collect eggs and think watching the chickens is so fun!  

While browsing the aisles of a local store Matt and I passed a chicken coop.  If you know my husband you will be shocked with the following.... so we passed the coop, I stopped and said OH MY GOSH this is so cool!  He then starts looking, asking how much it is, and checking it out.  I asked him what he thought about getting it for SK 6th birthday coming up.  He thought it was a fun idea and wondered if my parents would be interested.  I casually texted my mom and told her that SK would love it and nothing else was mentioned.  

A month or so before SK birthday my dad called and asked if we were serious about keeping chickens.  Matt and I talked and I told him yes.  My parents bought her the coop, set it up at their house and my mom bought a box full of baby peeps.  

SK spent the night at Nammys and discovered these sweet babies and was instantly in love!  She didn't know they were hers and would carefully help Nammy take care of them and handle them so they would be gentle.  

At Easter we handled chickens, painted their toenails and I got REALLY excited about when we would bring them home!

Skater and her new coop!

About a month before her birthday the chickens were getting ready and so we told SK they were hers and brought em home!  She was THRILLED to say the least.  We loaded up the coop and brought it home.  My dad, Matt and I loaded up and went to Lowes and got all the supplies for building the chicken run.  Matt worked hard at building an amazing chicken run.  We added a swing and they LOVED it. 

Tilda swinging.  Even our sweet Chelle who dislikes birds (okay lets not lie, I have seen her sprint at 9 months pregnant, screaming, away from my moms chickens- why oh why don't I have a photograph of that???)  Anyway - even she was entertained by chickens swinging!!! 

Skater and sweet Tilda.  This chicken is more like a dog than a bird!  She loves to creep up and sit beside us on the deck.  I have to say that I have loved her from the start.
When the chicks were still in the box my mom said she thought she had a rooster.  She could tell when he was tiny.  Initially I said we just wanted hens because I feared the rooster crowing bothering our neighbors.  When we were picking out which ones we wanted to bring home (mom got 10 - 5 for us, and 5 for her) Matt said he thought the rooster would be cool.  We had done enough reading about chickens for us to know that it would be interesting to watch a rooster and so I agreed.  SK named him The Mayor and he has been an absolute blast to watch.  We love him and everyone was ecstatic when he started to crow!

Skater holding Granny.  She is so proud of her chicks!

Our silly birds don't sleep in the coop.  Tilda started flying first and jumped on the roof.  Everyone must sleep together and so they all sleep on the roof of the coop.  One night it was storming horribly and I went out and there they all were on top.  They love it!  
We have recently started letting them out to roam in the yard.  Initially I was scared they would scatter in a million different directions and never be able to get em in the coop.  They have the best time in the yard!  We have LOVED watching them in the yard.  And by we I mean me and the girls because they stress Matt out in the yard!  We are having to constantly shoo them from the garden and the flowers.  
The Mayor keeps the girls in line.  He looks like he is pacing back and forth in this picture and I LOVE him.  When he started crowing Matt elbowed me at about 5am and said HE IS CROWING - and of course I FLEW out of bed to peek out the window and watch him!  

Skater has learned how to catch the chickens and she is constantly found packing them around.  I have to remind her that not everyone likes birds (ahem - aunt chelle) and to remember to not bring them out and pack them like pets around everyone!  haha.  
Here is our whole gang.  All 3 kids, 5 chickens and our kitten Rocky.  Oakley is missing from the picture (because she is a bird dog and really would love to eat them!)
Tilda wanted to join us for breakfast.  I made scrambled eggs.  
And....drumroll please - after much anticipation - one of our hens has laid an egg!  I have been waiting and knew it would be soon but was thinking a few more weeks.  Back last week I had cleaned out their coop and put down a lot of bedding in their nesting boxes (where they are supposed to lay eggs).  Usually when we are home we let everyone out at least once a day for a while if not more than that.  Today after church we headed to moms to eat, I had a reception for a friend getting married, and my sweet nephews birthday party.  Needless to say we weren't home.  When I finally got out there today to water the garden and check on everyone it was starting to get dark.  Chickens can't see in the dark and they start heading to their coop at that time and so it wasn't the time to let em out.  I had to remind SK of this when she came out to watch me and said "MOOOOOMMMMM we haven't had em out all day!"  I have been checking their nesting box expecting nothing and I lifted the lid and there it was.  AN EGG!!!! I squealed and told sk who went FLYING into the house for her boots, followed by me for my camera.  W was screaming and Matt came to look but was watching us like we were lunatics.  SK immediately called her Nammy who couldn't even understand her because she was so excited.  

Can you even believe how precious this is????
We came right in and fried up our precious egg.  Everyone had a bite and it was the BEST egg I have ever had.  I cannot believe how proud we are of our hens!  


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