Things I Learned as a Chicken Mama
I am a bit of a reflective person, and this week I was thinking about all the things that I have learned since I started raising chickens. I didn’t know anything when we ended up adopting a stray chicken that had wandered into our yard. Now it is almost seven years later, and we still have that same chicken. Her name is Buster, and today she started her spring laying cycle.
Photo By Faithful Homesteader
When my husband decided to keep her, he bought a rabbit hutch that he ended up converting into a coop, but it did not even have a roost, because we didn’t know anything about that. He eventually built another coop, and by then I stressed to him that we needed a roost. The first time a chicken went broody, I was clueless. I just noticed that of the two chickens that we had, only one was out and about and no one was laying. I didn’t know what broodiness was. Of course, now I know that it is when a chicken wants to sit on eggs with the goal of hatching baby chicks. We do not have a rooster, so there is no possibility of that happening.
I have learned just how much drama a broody chicken can cause. I even ended up with a chicken on the roof of the house after chasing her out of the nesting box. I can’t get over how moody those broody broads can be. Right now we have one broody chicken, Nailie, and since I was gone most of the day, I wasn’t able to keep her out of the nesting box.
I noticed that one of the other chickens, Katana, was fussy, and I guessed she was trying to lay even though it was so late in the day. Everyone else kept the other nesting box occupied, so she had no where to go. I managed to get Nailie out and Katana went into the box. When I checked on things, Nailie was in with her. Katana did manage to lay. I noticed she came out, and sure enough, the broody miss wasted no time sitting on her egg. I like that I have learned to understand at least some chicken speak.
I have learned when my chickens are getting close to starting their laying cycles. I pay attention to the color and size of their combs. Our little Buster has had an increasingly brighter red comb, and it has become bigger. That, and the fact that she would give us the submissive squat, told us she was getting close to laying. We also notice when the girls get a bit fidgety going in and out of the coop.
I learned about dirt baths for chickens. I never noticed that the wild, birds do the same thing. Now I notice the little spots in the yard that they use for bathing. I think it’s cute. I have learned so much since having chickens. They also just provide so much entertainment and joy. I never tire of seeing them run or fly across the yard in anticipation of a treat. I learned that they make great pets.
Read this editor’s letter about her new chickens and their lively personalities.
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