And then there were eleven!

We had originally wanted only 4-5 chickens in our backyard, but everyone said to buy more than we want in a flock because not all the chicks will make it to adulthood and it is difficult to introduce a single new chick to an established flock. That is how we ended up with seven chicks about 5 weeks ago, and I have loved having the bigger than intended flock. Click here to read about their beginning weeks.

About three weeks ago when we came home from work there were only six. There was no sign of feathers or a struggle, and the other chickens were not disturbed or skittish in the least. We looked around the neighborhood and waited, but the whereabouts of our lost chicken will remain a mystery. And then there six.

My flock has grown quickly in the last few weeks and are almost full-grown. The fear of losing another chicken had passed, but last Friday one of them found a hole under the fence and went to play with the dog next door. Dogs play a little rough with chickens. And then there were five.

Even though we now had the number that we had wanted in the first place, five just wasn't enough for us anymore. Somehow this weekend we found ourselves coming home from the feed store with 6 new week-old Americauna chicks to add to our little flock of Buff Orpingtons. And then there were eleven! 
(I couldn't be more excited!)

They are so cute, but definitely more skittish than our first groups of chicks. I'm interested to see how well this group mixes with our flock that has grown up together. So far the Orpingtons are being polite, but don't want much to do with them. Does anyone have experience with mixing flocks of different ages? I hope they all get along!

In the beginning...

I love starting projects, and I seem to always be in the middle of creating something new, especially in the yard. All of these projects start with LOTS of internet research, and after getting a lot of good tips from bloggers and forums, I can't help but begin my own! Maybe someone can gather a bit of helpful information from it, or I can at least look back to learn from my own mistakes along the way :)

One of my newest endeavors is backyard chickens!

Here is our little flock of seven Buff Orpingtons. This is their first day with us, and they are about two weeks old. They are so soft and sweet!

The chickens have to stay indoors for a few weeks or until the weather gets warm enough for them to handle it. They are supposed to stay in their box, but we have several who are much too social for that!

Having smelly chickens in the house was a great motivator for us to finish the coop as soon as possible. But once we moved the chickens out, they missed being inside with us. Our parrot, however, was very happy to have the house back to himself.

Now that the chickens are out of the house, they love to free range in the backyard, especially the mulched gardens.

A few observations as a new chicken owner:
1. They are SO low maintenance! I open the chicken coop door in the morning, let them free range in the yard all day, and then at dusk they go back into the coop on their own. I count their fuzzy heads and close the door for the night. I check to make sure their food and water containers are filled, and that's it!

2. They have personalities. My chickens are very social, have distinct characteristics, and are always up to the funniest antics. They follow my husband and I around the yard, and come when called (unless distracted). I was not expecting such fun from a bunch of chickens!

3. They like to eat garden plants. This was a disappointing discovery. I love to garden and spend a lot of time working with my flowers and vegetables, so I was horrified to see that they had eaten every green leaf off of my kiwi vines and strawberry plants, not to mention eating portions of my lettuce, kale, dahlias, jasmine, and others. They also like to take dust baths in the mulch, which means mulch gets flung everywhere! This also causes a problem with direct sown seeds as they get dug up and flung out of the beds as well. I would fuss at them, but they are just too cute! I have a feeling I will be a terrible mother one day...

4. They eat like pigs! They eat everything in sight! Bugs, plants, leftover food, you name it. They are constantly pecking, tasting, devouring. Maybe they will slow down once they have finished growing, but at this rate they are eating us out of house and home!

To read more about this flock, click here.