Soothing my inner farmgirl.

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A couple weeks ago my friend gave me a stack of magazines she thought I’d enjoy. She knows me so well. The magazine is MaryJanes Farm and I love  it! MaryJane has a zeal for life and beauty and organic and green farm living.  She finds ways to make her messages relevant even for those of us who will probably never ever have the joy of living on a farm. She respects that deep inner connection that some  seem to have with nature and simple living. She respects that there are people out there who don’t have any desire or wherewithal  to live a farm life yet want to find ways to disconnect from the “plugged-in” nature of our culture and just slow down.

Anyway. MaryJane likes chickens.  I read several articles devoted to raising chickens in the typical urban backyard. For several years I’ve been dreaming of having backyard chickens  and have repeatedly let the opportunity slip through my fingers.   Spring would come and I would still not have a coop built. Spring would go and baby chicks were no longer available at the feed store. “Next year”  became my consoling thought.

After reading a few of Maryjane’s articles (and not being happy spending $5/dozen organic/local/free range eggs) I went on an online information hunt  and stumbled across a blog (or two hundred)  on the subject and learned that the chicks need to remain indoors (or in a warm place) until they’re around 6 weeks old. Well. Heck. I can make that happen!  Six to eight weeks is plenty of time to make a coop come together and break up the cost of materials over two months instead of in one lump.  Woo Hoo!

First thing I needed was to make sure I had a decent place to keep the chickies warm when we got them home  (we’re still having lows in the teens…shiver).    I pulled out the old aquarium and heat lamp we used for my sons snake  and we were in business!  I went on a hunt for a bigger brooder yesterday.   I was at a “big box” store and guess what I found sitting empty in the garden center?   Yep.  A BIG BOX!   heh heh.   I asked the nearest employee if I could have it and he even helped me take it to the car.    I’m glad I was thinking clear enough to grab the divider insert.  Without the divider insert the box is about 4′x 4′.   I think that might just be a bit of overkill for these little chicks – but I do know they’ll grow into the space eventually.      The picture is awful – but at least you can see how much space they have now and get an idea just how big this box is.   I think I could house a small cow in the remaining section.   My husband is paranoid that I might.

This section is a little less than half of the box.

Are you thinking of raising a few chickens?   Don’t have a clue where to start?   Urban Chicken Keeping and My Pet Chicken are two  great place to gather knowledge.  Also:  Find out if it is even permissible in your city.   It’s kind of a no-brainer that roosters are almost a universal no-no within city limits.  But some cities don’t even allow hens.

Backyard Chickens is also a great resource.

And don’t forget that old faithful  The Library.  ;)

So, tell me.  Am I crazy?  My husband sure thinks so.

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  • Anne

    We can’t have chickens either. My girls would love some, so they say.

    • Anonymous

      My daughter was pretty jazzed. For a week. Now – not so much.

  • Rachel Pridgen

    Yup. You’re crazy. I don’t know what that says about me since we have 12 of them…and 3 ducks. I agree with the love/hate relationship. They are actually quite addicting to watch, but they are little troublemakers. We have one in particular that has figured out a way to get out of every coop we have built. Always when my husband is at work. Have fun!

    • Anonymous

      Hopefully mine will have enough sense to steer clear of the pooch!

  • Elizabeth Hawks

    :) I love Mary Jane’s Farm. I don’t subscribe because we already get to many magazines, but every so often I’ll pick one up when we’re at TSC.

    Welcome to the world of chickens! I have a love/hate relationship with ours. I hate their messiness but I love their eggs. :D

    • Anonymous

      Messy is right! HOLY loads of CRAP (literally) Batman! I’m thinking my compost pile will be about 5 times it’s normal size from now on. heh

  • Chloeofthemountain

    Heck, no, you aren’t crazy! Gosh I’m envious. Is it too late for me to start?

    • Anonymous

      It’s only too late if your Feed Store is out of chicks. :) a.s.a.p. is a good plan, though.

    • Amy Gault

      Our Tractor Supply store is selling them until next Wednesday. I’d say you still have time, if you haven’t already taken the plunge. My problem is staying out of said TSC until May 4 because of the intense temptation to buy chicks now instead of in a month when the weather is warmer & I can pick what I want from the hatchery catalog (which is another option, and should be able to send you chicks until mid-summer).

      • Anonymous

        In our climate the concern is getting them grown enough before the weather turns cold again.

  • Susan in the Boonies

    Robin, I am very jealous of your new venture. My neighborhood covenant forbids me to have farm animals, but I sure wish I could . I would so love to have my own supply of farm fresh eggs!!!

    • Anonymous

      I’d be sorely tempted to ignore that law. I’m sorry I won’t be able to share my bounty with you.

      • Stephanie

        Ignore the chicken nazi law? Robin, you’re such a rebel!