by Tammy Taylor
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When we purchased our property in 2000 I fell in love with the old 1880′s barn. When we had the exterior repaired we had the workers leave the coop intact & just repair the exterior walls around it, but alas it sat empty all these years. We’ve always known we wanted to try to raise chickens some day but it was never a priority. Well today we quit playing “Chicken” and jumped in with both feet.
We want to start very slowly so we only purchased 6 straight run chicks. Of the six, three cheepers are the cutest fuzzy yellow babies called “Ideal 236” hybrid chicks. We’ve been told they’ll grow up white and they’re known for their large white eggs.
We also bought three “Black Minorca” chicks. These are supposed to grow to be a larger chicken than the Ideal 236 breed. I Googled the images of these chickens and they’re very pretty when they’re grown, striking with their shiny black feathers & red comb.
They are all the cutest things and we have big plans for them (as do all starter endeavors) I’m hoping to eventually keep them in a chicken tractor, a mobile coop of sorts that you move to a different place each day. The benefit here is that the chickens receive fresh grass and they eat the bugs they find there, but they are in that one place for only a day before they’re moved to a clean environment. I’ve read that this makes their eggs more nutritious with dark yellow yolks and it also makes for healthier chickens. I’ve also heard about people using chickens in the fall to clean up and fertilize their spent veggie beds, scratching out grubs and weeds, eating the weed seeds, etc. We’ll keep this in mind when looking at dimensions of any mobile unit we fabricate and try to work these guys into garden workers as well.
I’ve been told that raising chickens is very rewarding yet very easy. I’ve been intimidated for years so I’m glad I finally jumped in. We’re so new to this and are open to any advice anyone wants to give. So don’t be chicken – speak up!
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05-06 UPDATE: We bought temporary chicken coop since the chickies are growing so fast they have outgrown their tiny enclosure. Look how awesome our new * chicken coop is! They will stay protected in this coop until they’re old enough to have grown all their feathers and the weather warms up a bit – it’s currently housed in our garage and the heat lamp is close to keep them warm. They’re loving their new digs! When they’re older we’ll use this coop as a portable chicken tractor to move them from place to place, and when they’re fully grown they’ll call the coop in our 1880′s barn home. Movin’ on UP!