Who would have ever thought that the little feathered dinosaurs we call chickens could have such personalities that they just completely capture your heart. I know I didn’t. Growing up, chicken was a food source. They provided eggs for eating and eggs for cooking. They provided a meat source, a means of making broths and yummy meals. A chicken was a chicken. A, what I thought at the time, was just some small brained bird that didn’t know much of anything but was just placed here on earth for us as humans to consume. At this time, I hadn’t know about backyard chickens. I didn’t even know there were so many different breeds of chickens.
When Dan and I decided to start a little flock of our own, my eyes were opened. I now have 22 chickens living in my very own backyard, who each in their very own ways, have captured my heart and taught me so much more about chickens than just being a bird. And while we still eat the eggs they provide us, and while some day some of them may end up being on the dinner table, it will be with a new understanding. It will be with respect, thankfulness, love and hard work. Our flock as of now is here for the eggs. Dan is in the progress of getting our set up ready for meat chickens. But for the time being, all my little chicken babies can live happy knowing they will live a long and prosperous life here in the coop.
When we first started with chickens last year I was elated at the new adventure we were embarking on. We got to build our coop together, pick out our own hens and ended up with a little rooster who’s crow woke us in bed each morning. It was my first step into the farming life and I will never be looking back. This past Spring we had decided we had the space and time to expand our flock. We tried something a little different and decided to get our chickens this time as day old chicks. This is an experience one definitely gets hooked on. While I love all my big ladies in the coop, raising chicks from day olds gives you a whole different kind of bond with your hens. You can interact with them, get them used to being handled and have them not be so flighty around you.
When we got the chicks home there was one in particular that stuck out to me. My little Chick Norris as we refereed to it. Norris has now grown up to be a beautiful Polish hen, and I like to think we are fast friends. She knows her name, will come when called, and will even jump up into my lap when I tap my knee. All without using treats as a bribe. I have even had her on my shoulder. She is a special little hen who makes my heart so happy. I know picking favourites isn’t fair, but she may just be up there on the list!
All of the babies are growing up so fast, but they each have their own personalities. I could sit out in the coop all day watching them. Exploring their new chicken run, chasing the dogs around the fenceline and bothering our Big Momma hens. Everyone is out now in one enclosure and it is going much better than I could have anticipated. Its so funny to watch them interact. Even when we are outside they all come running to the gate to greet us, expecting some kind of treat I’m sure.
Even Albert, our sometimes nasty little rooster, has his place in my heart. With his funny little dance he does around the ladies and the way he herds them all up when he gets spooked. They have all truly stolen my heart and are one of the better parts about my days. They start my mornings with chores and end my days with a quick night check and egg collection.
I really wouldn’t have life any other way!