April 7, 2010

Putting the Cart Before the Horse (aka The Chicken Before the Coop)

I have some really smart blog readers, that's for sure. There was just no foolin' you with my cryptic post the other day! The new project Neal is working on is indeed a chicken coop and run. Once he declared that was what he was going to build, I began the quest for finding some chickens. We decided we were tired of waiting for the day we move to The Ranch, so we kicked it into high gear....even before the coop and run were completed. I found a lady 1 1/2 hours away who had a large selection of 5-week and 8-week old chicks for sale. So yesterday, I met my friend Susie about halfway for lunch, then headed out to claim my flock.

When I arrived at this 20-acre horse boarding facility, I was greeted by this colorful crew:

Then I was escorted into two coop areas, where I had to decide between these...

and these.
I am really not very good with making decisions when I am presented with so many choices. I called Neal and we decided to go with four of the older ones because they would lay sooner, and they were hardier so they could go out in a coop sooner. I was so overwhelmed trying to pick out my four, that I let the chicken lady pick them for me. We got one Rhode Island Red, one Buff Orpington, one Plymouth Barred Rock and one Golden Laced Wyandotte.

On the drive back home, they huddled together and softly cooed and peeped from time to time. When we arrived home, we had to pause for an inspection by all the resident critters.

Captain stood guard at the crate. When a cat would approach for a look and a sniff, he would growl and run them off. Not sure if he was protecting the chickens or if he was competing for a snack!

George seemed scared of them at first, then his curiosity got the best of him. I am concerned about the dogs with the chickens, so they will be under strict supervision until I feel more comfortable or until it is determined they cannot be integrated together.

The cats were equally as curious, but not as threatening . They were probably thinking, "what the heck has mom brought home this time?"

It was terribly windy outside, but I couldn't resist showing the ladies their new run and letting them stretch their legs a bit. They were very curious and didn't seem too concerned with the wind.

I put some feed on the ground and they immediately began pecking and scratching.

This is Cayenne, the Rhode Island Red. Not long after I sat down on the ground with them, she hopped onto my leg and snuggled down for quite a while.

The Golden Laced Wyandotte is Nutmeg.

The Buff Orpington is Ginger and the Barred Rock is Poppy. Do you detect a culinary theme here? We came up with Ginger, Cayenne and Nutmeg rather quickly, but Poppy took some extra thought and time. It's hard to find a spice that is black and white, aside from salt and pepper, so Neal explored our spice cabinet and pulled out a jar of poppy seed. He compared her coloring to the seeds in the jar and the rest was history. And yes, we know that poppy seed is not really a spice!

The girls' temporary home is in a dog crate in our bathroom until Neal can finish the coop and run. As a first-time chicken mom, I am very nervous about predators and I have impressed upon Neal the importance of building a Chicken Fort Knox. I am even more paranoid after witnessing a fox hop my neighbor's fence this morning!

I love these girls already and hope they will enjoy their city life. I have promised them that I will treat them like royalty if they will hold up their end of the bargain and keep us supplied with a bounty of delicious eggs!


the7msn said...

Woohoo! We can travel down the chicken road together. Mine are still alive after four days but still scared to death of me. I'm trying not to take it personally. Love how you came up with their names.

basicliving@backtobasicliving.com said...

Ohhhhh!! Congratulations!!! Those are some mighty pretty girls you have there! You're going to be a great chicken mama, Lilla. I really love the breeds you got. I've always loved the look of the Golden Laced Wyandotte. Enjoy those girls - I look forward to reading all about them. OH - and Neal did an outstanding job on that coop! He is so talented. Lucky girls.

Lilla said...

Linda, I'll gladly travel down the chicken road with you. I need all the company I can get! I was warned that by getting older chicks they may not bond with me, but I'm not finding that to be the case with these four, thank goodness. Yours will come around, I'm sure.

Penny, Thanks for the encouraging words. They are beautiful birds, aren't they? I'm glad I was able to go with different breeds so I have a colorful flock. Yes, Neal is very talented and threw together that run in no time. The coop will be in the works tomorrow and hopefully finished by the weekend. Stay tuned!

Anonymous said...

congratulations on your new babies!!!!!!!!!

cousin Arnetta said...

The girls are pretty, and you and Neal came up with perfect names for them... they are all fitting...
The Wyandotte is really pretty,
I'm familiar with all of the breeds now, we just had plain ol' "dominecker" when I was growing up.
They certainly can become pets, too !

cousin Arnetta said...

Oops! I meant to say I am not familiar with the different breeds now... they are a pretty assortment.

LiveWorkDream said...

So....are they pets or meat?

Hahah, just kidding. I'm super jealous. So is Wyatt Ray. He is frothing at the mouth just looking at the photo. Can't wait to meet them in person.

Anonymous said...

Your chicks are beautiful and their names are perfect! Captain is a good boy! :) I just love how Cayenne sat "in your lap." That's so sweet!

Lilla said...


Arnetta...thanks! I am not familiar with the "dominecker" breed you used to have. I didn't realize Aunt Claude and Uncle Fred ever had chickens!

Rene....ha! You know the answer to that question. Captain and George have been doing some "licking of their chops" when they approach the chicks, so I'm really trying to nip that behavior in the bud!

Morning Bray...Captain is a character, that's for sure. I was really surprised that Cayenne jumped up on my lap on the very first day. Talk about melting my heart on the spot! Thanks for the compliments.

Sweet Virginia Breeze said...

Congratulations on the chickens. They are all very pretty and it looks like they will have a well made coop.

Amy said...

Congrats on the new babies! You will quickly learn that having chickens are like potato chips, you can't just have one (or a few). If you haven't already found it, a great site for chicken owners is www.backyardchickens.com and there's a fantastic forum there for we chicken lovers www.backyardchickens.com/forum
I have photos of my babies on my blog, too! www.crazyforthecountry.com