The porch at our new house was (and, um…still is) covered in boxes and instead of unpacking and cleaning, as I should have done, I wanted to get my homesteading adventure officially started by bringing home some chickens. Fortunately our new house came with a fully enclosed chicken coop and absolutely adorable hen house.
I hit up Craig’s List and headed down to San Diego for my little Black Star Hens. As you can see in the video, we didn’t get off to a great start. (You can also see that my daughter, Eden, has a beautiful and understanding acceptance of the circle of life.)
(These are un-edited photos of the sunset taken on my iphone!)
I hadn’t taken into account the possibility of sitting in over 3 hours of traffic with my poorly ventilated boxes full of chickens. I honestly believed they would survive, but I guess God wanted me to have a crash course lesson in caring for chickens…as well as butchering them. Of the ten hens we brought home, five of them died during the transport. I was shocked, and really disappointed. I felt like an idiot actually. I also felt like I wasted their poor little lives. (That’s not totally true, though, because they lived a happy hen life at the farm they came from.)
I didn’t want their lives to be in vain, though, by just burying them (which would also attract wildlife I don’t want around). I quickly figured out how to properly butcher a chicken (thank you, YouTube) and got right to it. Fortunately I had processed some ducks my husband brought home from hunting a while back. My only problem was that I didn’t really want to eat chickens that had been dead for a few hours before processing them for food. I got mixed responses from an online forum about it, so I decided to make a big pot of very expensive, yet very nourishing, dog food. My little Italian Greyhounds are very happy about this!
The next day I decided to find more hens for sale and found some beautiful chickens closer to home. Along with another Black Star and two Rhode Island Reds, we brought home the most beautiful Blue Laced Red Wyandottes. One is a dark copper color and one is more of a blue splash. I love these little eye candy chickens and their blue eggs! We also brought home “Ariel”, Eden’s little Old World (something or other) bantam henb . I’m not enough of a chicken person yet to know exactly what it is, but it basically looks like a mini chicken and nothing is cuter than Eden and her little Ariel!
Despite the time of year (chickens need 12-14 hours of light per day to get their little brains to tell them to lay eggs), I’ve been given a few eggs so far. Ariel doesn’t believe in nesting boxes. I found out by accidentally stepping on one of her cute little eggs while walking through the hen house. Shhh! Don’t tell Eden. Fortunately this little lady is turning out to be a better layer than any of them, so we already have another mini egg sitting in the fridge!
I really wish I could snap my fingers and have my homestead put together right away. Of course, that’s impossible. And stupid. I need to at least unpack all my boxes before I move on. With my bees (transferred from the old house), new hens, and beautiful rooster waking us up each morning with his classic crow, I should be happy. And I am! I still can’t wait to be milking some goats, though!