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California Chick's

California Chick's

So like most of you know, urban farming is such the rage right now.  The Hipster revolution is on the rise and living off the land is in.  Some may think it's just a trend, a short lived fad, but I think its a fantastic way of life.  You don't have to have a green thumb or be a farmer to eat off the land.  You can grow herbs and veggies from seeds, get store bought plants in your garden, or even a pot.  Tomatoes and green beans are one of the easiest veggies to grow and they provide a large harvest.  Most herbs are low maintenance and do very well in a pot if you have a small garden.  There is nothing like going into your garden and cutting herbs and using your veggies when cooking.  Fresh always tastes better!

In April I talked my husband Trey into going to Rural King, a farm store, to buy 2 chicks.  The girls were very excited and couldn't wait to pick out their chicks.  The store had over sized troughs full of baby pullets, which are female chicks.  We wanted two Rhode Island Reds, because I had been told by my Amish cabinet maker they are the best layers.  So we grabbed a tiny box and asked the clerk to help us catch the chicks.  After a bit of whining from the kids about which chick was theirs, we had our two chicks and were ready to go.  We asked for our box of chicks from the clerk and she told us we weren't finished picking chicks.  We politely said we were finished  and two was all we wanted.  She then giggled and told us there was a 6 chick minimum to purchase!  To say my husband was in shock was an understatement, but one look at our girls is all it took to give in.  The girls were very excited to pick out 4 more chicks. We took home 2 Rhode Island Reds, 2 Buff Orpingtons, and 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes.   We named them, Big Rhonda, because she was the biggest, Bertha, Ginger because she is red, Gertrude, Gladys and Shirley.  You might say I had my own old lady retirement home.

I purchased a large feeding trough to put the 6, 10 week old babies in.  I then had to decide where to put them.  It was April and too chilly outside or in the garage.  After scouring the house for the perfect spot I decided on the formal dining room since you could shut the doors and  it was away from curious children and animals.  I had no idea what I was getting myself into!  I purchased a heat lamp since the chicks need to be in a temp controlled area of 95- 100 the first 2 weeks of life and then 5 degrees cooler each following week.  

Once the chick's where big enough to go outside I had the cutest barn style coop built.  We put it along the backside of our garage, where it stays shady all day.  Location for your coop is very important.  It needs to be a cool dry area with good airflow.  

They loved their new home!  It was the first time they had been in grass, and the girls loved finding bugs.  They couldn't get enough!

You're probably wondering when these little chick's started laying eggs?  Well, it actually takes awhile, around 6 months.  In the mean time I would let them out of their coop under supervision of myself or my sweet golden, Gracie.  Yes, our dog loves them too!  The girls have a blast chasing them around and spreadig feed!

After the Spring had past and the hot Summer days flew by, one of my favorites, Big Rhonda laid the first egg!  Believe it or not I caught it on camera.  

The first egg had arrived!

It took a few weeks, but all 6 of the chicks began to lay eggs.  We get 5 to 6 eggs a day, which is amazing!  Not only do we get fresh eggs to eat daily, they make wonderful gifts.

Now that the chick's are full grown we let them free range the property all day by themselves.  Because our chickens are allowed to graze the property all day everyday, they are considered pasture raised.  Basically the way you raise your chickens effects your eggs.  For example, the regular eggs you buy in the store are from caged chickens.  They probably have never been out of their cage and fed cheap unhealthy food.  Then there are Cage Free eggs, which usually means the chickens are not confined to a tiny cage but are still enclosed and don't graze outside.  Free Range chickens are allowed to be outside for a limited time and then caged.  We have what is called Pasture raised Organic chickens.  We let our chickens graze all day on 3 acres of grass and gardens.  They are fed certified non GMO organic food.  We don't use pesticides in our yard so everything they eat is natural, bugs and all.  These chickens have become a part of  our family,  we can't imagine life without them.  They are great bug control, give us eggs everyday and their droppings make the best fertilizer.

The Farmhouse

The Farmhouse