Meet our Flock!

The chickens love their new home!
The chickens love their new home!

Here’s a little-known fact about me: I am an award-winning poultry farmer.  Seriously.  When I was about 8, I had two adorable Polish chickens (the ones with the crazy feather poofs on their heads) named Vermont and Virginia. (Yes, even at the tender age of 8, I had an avid appreciation of alliteration.) I doted on those chickens like crazy. I walked them on leashes made of orange twine; I carried them all over the yard; I washed their “hair” in a kiddie pool.  They were were more pets than anything else.  What can I say?  I’m pragmatic: I like pets with a purpose.

At any rate, I pestered my mom into letting me enter them into the county fair where one of them (I was never very good at telling them apart) won first place!  Full disclosure: they may have been the only two chickens entered in that category, but still — first place!

So, it should come as no surprise that when we moved into our house (which is on almost an acre), I had chickens on my mind!  Chris was skeptical.  Very skeptical.  So, I promised that the chickens would be “mine” and he wouldn’t have to do anything.  Haha!  I know how to rope him into doing what I want! 🙂

In April, I bought four Austrolorp chicks.  Thinking (incorrectly!) that I might have improved skills in chicken-identification, I named them after Shakespearean characters: Hermione, Cordelia, Rosalind, and Ophelia.  I have no idea which chicken is which heroine, so now they’re collectively “The Big Girls.”

Aren't they adorable little bundles of fluff?
Aren’t they adorable little bundles of fluff?

Then, Chris came home one day with news that one of his colleagues had too many chicks, so we took four of them, too! We think they are Welsummers, although at least one of them probably is only half Welsummer.  These are “The Littles.”  I’m pretty sure one or two will turn out to be roosters.

The chick on the bottom right is
The chick on the bottom right is “Alvin” because it looks like a chipmunk. The rest are just known as “The Littles.”

Like most projects that I tell Chris are “mine,” this has turned out to be a joint effort.  He’s such a trooper!  He built a coop, using mostly materials we had lying around, reclaimed from the side of the road (as I often say, “Free is my favorite price!”), or purchased on the “cheep” (Get it?  cheep… like a chick’s cheep? Okay, that was pretty bad.  My apologies).

This coop project was supposed to take one weekend.  It took about three weekends of non-stop work.  Thanks, Chris!
This coop project was supposed to take one weekend. It took about three weekends of non-stop work. Thanks, Chris!

Armed with a hammer, paintbrush, and the trusty sawzall, we built a coop that most chickens can only dream about.  Here it is!

The ramp has hinges on it so that it can be flipped up and latched at night.  Groen Family Flock - 1 Raccoons - 0!
The ramp has hinges on it so that it can be flipped up and latched at night. Groen Family Flock – 1 Raccoons – 0!
This door came from an on-the-side-of-the-road salvaged find.  When it is open, you can reach your hand in to the nesting boxes and grab the eggs.  Well, someday, when the chicks are full-grown, you can grab the eggs!
This door came from an on-the-side-of-the-road salvaged find. When it is open, you can reach your hand in to the nesting boxes and grab the eggs. Well, someday, when the chicks are full-grown, you can grab the eggs!

It looks pretty good, huh?  As my dad said when he visited us last weekend, “Pretty expensive eggs you’re raising.”  Shh… we’ll let him think what he wants.

Stop by for an omelette when the girls start laying in September!

Katrina

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