You see, I have always liked chickens. I like the contented sounds they make, how colorful they can be, and that they can be helpful little gardeners/insect controllers. On top of all that, they lay eggs, too. How much better can it get?
This winter, I had done an insane amount of chicken research. I believe at some point I had checked out every book about chickens and chicken coops from our local library. We even attended "Chicken College" at our local farmers co-op. I felt like there was nothing more I could learn without getting a few of my own.
One very important thing: If you live in the city, like we do, call your city's planning/zoning department to find out if you can even have chickens in town. Every city is different. I was pleasantly surprised that we have no restrictions on the number of hens...just no roosters.
The co-op was expecting a shipment of chicks mid-March and by that time I had worn Tom down. He had conceeded but told me that they were my responsibility. I'm still not quite sure what that meant but I think it was his way of backing out just in case things got hairy (or in this case...feathery?).
The morning the chicks were available, the kids and I jumped into the truck, all excited to meet our new critters. I had decided that I wanted (Plymouth) Barred Rocks, Buff Orpingtons, Golden-Laced Wyandottes (pronounced wy-an-dot...can you tell we were stumped?) and Americuanas. The first three breeds I wanted out of practicality...they are good layers/meat* birds and have a docile disposition. The Americuanas I wanted because they are known to lay blue/green eggs.
Below is a picture of one of our Americuanas, Liberty (Libby). The kids thought the Americanas should be named patriotic names :-). The other is Betsy Ross.
*Earlier I mentioned getting chickens that were good meat birds, too. There are breeds that you would specifically grow as a fryer/roaster that would not be laying hens. At first I was a little concerned about culling one of our hens, and I have a feeling that it won't be an easy thing to do. But I did hear that chickens were made by God for our use, and one of those uses is as food for us. If we did not do that, we would not be honoring their life by allowing them to complete their purpose on this earth. I'll be trying to remember that when the time comes.
Oh, by the way, I did learn that our local butcher will take care of the entire process for about $3 a bird. I have to say that suits my sensibilities a whole lot more.