A few years ago I noticed I became more and more drawn to the country... the fresh air, different shades of green sweeping from side to side, and then all the different animals that live in the countryside. From horses, to cows, to goats, to pigs, to chickens.. each serving a purpose.
I never thought I would be a farmer or homesteader. I was raised in suburbia.
After my enlightenment this past year, I realized how fulfilling and important it would be to learn how to live off the land, to grow and raise our own food. How important it would be to learn those skills and pass that knowledge down to my daughters.
So after starting our garden and our compost…the next on the list for our suburban homestead was: chickens.
I researched, studied, made notes and collected enough information that I was ready to embark on this journey.
I found that these types are best for kids, egg laying and backyard environments:
2. New Hampshire Red
3. Rhode Island Red
5. Speckled Sussex
6. Plymouth Rock
7. Easter Egger/Olive Egger
We chose to get two Black Australorps and two New Hampshire Reds. This was based on availability since we chose to start our chicken adventure in the winter. I also like the idea of two different breeds in our hen house.
We chose to get four chicks thinking eggs from each hen would provide enough eggs for us to eat each day. We shall see how that goes, I am already hooked and ready to add more to our brood.
Then I had to make sure I had their little home ready to go. I found a large hamster cage on our Buy Nothing Group, then I found a local feed store to get tips and other supplies from.
You will need:
- A cage of some kind- hamster cage works great, a trough will work, a wooden structure would work
- Chick starter ( Imade my own, see below for recipe)
- Pine shavings
- Water feeder
- Food feeder
- Heat lamp
I picked up our fuzzy girls on Christmas Eve and we hid them until Christmas morning from our daughters. They woke up to baby chicks under the Christmas tree and it was practically perfect.
We picked names from a bowl and came up with our theme of spices for our first generation of chickens.
1. Rosemary (yellow chick – New Hampshire Red) - yellow, she is adventurous and contestant for the boss of the coop
2. Cinnamon (red chick – New Hampshire Red) - reddish, most calm, sleepiest
3. Poppy (Black Australorp) -- solid black head, most curious, adventurous & also contestant for the boss of the coop
4. Pepper (Black Australorp) -- speckled face, smallest, needs the most help
They are currently 6 days old, happy, chirpy and so so cute. We are continuing to learn and the excitement on our daughters’ faces is truly remarkable.
For an organic, non-gmo chick starter feed I decided to make my own:
- Steel cut oats
- Black sesame seeds
- Flax meal
- Roasted squash seeds
- Roasted seaweed
- Unshelled sunflower seeds
- Blackstrap molasses (nutrient rich)
- Fresh greens (kale, lettuce or grass)
The important part is to crush all of this since it is for babies. We used our good ole mortar & pestle, but you could also grind in your food processor. The chicks will need this feed for the first 6 weeks of their life and then you use the same recipe, but you won’t have to crush it up.
Cheers to chickens y’all!