Seven Lessons In Seven Weeks

It has been 7 weeks now I’ve had those baby chickens. Well, they aren’t babies any more. They were babies for about a week and then they grew and grew and grew. Wow. They really do grow up fast. I don’t guess I’ve ever witnessed anything like it before.

I have learned many things from those chicks by welcoming them into my farm, my home, and my heart. Today I’m going to share Seven Lessons I’ve learned in Seven Weeks from my Sixteen Chickens.

Now when you read this post, you might think I’m boycotting using apostrophes. Nope, I’m not. This crazy blog program deleted them all. So Im going with it. And maybe I should boycott them? Just for the summer?  Lazy days of summer and all. Okay, Im in.

Lesson 1.
You want it more if someone else has it.

I can put down a plate of bread crumbs and fruit pieces. A whole plate. But all it takes is one chick to pick up a piece and start running with it and they all want that ONE piece. It doesnt matter that there are 20 more pieces exactly like it over there in the plate, just waiting. Nope. They all want that ONE piece thats already taken.

This is chicken nature; this is human nature.

Lesson 2.

The jokes apply. 

I have one blonde chicken.

She isn’t the sharpest tool in the shed. Shes a Buff Cochin with beautiful feathery legs and feet. Simply stunning. Her eyes are an enchanting green.  However, she cant find the door that everyone else just flew out of.  “How did they do that?” she cocks her head in confusion. And she pecks at her feet thinking they are worms. What she lacks in brains she makes up in gorgeousness. We call her Barbie. See the resemblance?

Barbie Cochin is a ding-dong. All blonde jokes apply. And I can say that because I used to be blonde.

(What did the blonde say when she saw the Cheerios box? OMG, donut seeds!)

The other Cochin, the chick beside her in the picture, is a Black Cochin. The black one is engaging and curious, a very smart bird, she or he is. (We think he might be a Roo, which suits us fine!) Cochins are calm and friendly. Great chicken pets.

Lesson 3.

There is a reason that being scared is called being chicken.

Chickens are afraid of almost anything and everything. They scream and freak out. They run and scatter. I fully understand why people with no courage are called chickens now that Ive spent time with chickens. I still don’t get why its called the chicken dance, though.

Lesson 4.

Chickens have individual, unique personalities.

I never knew this. If I had known this, I would have stopped eating them a long time ago. I have 16 birds and each one is different from the others.

This ones personality is as different as her hairdo.

All my birds are different. I have a sweet, sweet, sweet friendly bird. I have a bold, courageous, friendly bird. I have a bird that is flighty and crazy and wild. They are each different from the other. Chickens are precious and unique.

Lesson 5.

Fresh Air and Green Grass is good for everything.

Because my hen house project is so ~~S~~L~~O~~W~~, I jumped at the chance to take a small chicken coop off someones hands. What I’ve been doing the last week or so is to take some of the chicks outside each day. Its so cute how theyve already learned the drill. I take the cage in their room in my house and I let some of the birds jump in the cage to go outside.

I loved seeing them touch their feet in the grass for the first time.

It was so funny. The first time, they were sooooo “chicken” and timid to leave the cage. Not any more. Now they fly out one after the other, excited to be outside again. They come back in every night and join the ones who didnt go out. Crazy, I know; you dont have to tell me. I’m well aware. Who provides outside day care for chickens? That would be me.

So the lesson here is when you get the chance, go outside. Even if you are afraid, do it. Jump in and take the trip. You never know what you’ll experience out of the house.

Lesson 6.

You can accomplish things you never thought possible.

Heres the current status of the hen house.

My facebook friends helped me decide on the shutters. And can you make out the stained glass window above the door?

When I started this project, I couldnt hammer a nail in straight. I actually told my husband that the problem was THE HAMMER. He said, “Really? The hammer???” I was serious; I thought it was because the hammer was too light-weight with my lack of arm strength.

It was not the hammer.

I can now hammer a nail straight and steady.

And now I have learned how to use this baby.

Its like a machine gun: rat, tat, tat, tat, tat. And youre done. Its a thing of beauty. I put up these interior walls in no time at all.

My hubs did the cutting (Ive stayed away from the saws so far) and I did the rat, tat, tat, tatting. They dont match because this is all scrap from our previous project. I dont think the birdies will mind.

Another thing I learned was how to cut insulation. Yes, indeed, there is insulation in this hen house. I dont have power, so thought Id better insulate it.

A fella told me that he had not insulated his and his chickens were fine. “No big deal,” he said, “In winter, their combs get a frost-bitten, turn black and fall off. They grow back.” Um. No thanks. Should I have told him that I take mine outside for chickie day care? No, I didn’t think so.

Anyway, I was cutting on the paper side until someone stopped by and told me to cut on the insulation side. What a difference that made! Cutting on the paper side was slow and arduous. Cutting on the other side was smooth and easy!

I bought a $20 piece of scrap linoleum at the local home improvement store for the flooring. Do you see why it was only $20?

Yes, it is orange! But I like orange, what can I say. I figured that it will be covered in a bedding material any way. All I had to do was cut it to size. It took no time at all. I just had to work around and keep moving a certain rocking chair. Check this out.

We built the house around this old rocking chair. Unbelievable. I took it in there so I could sit down every now and then and drink some water. It is an old chair that came out of the barn here. And somehow, without thinking, we framed the house around it. The doors are too small for it to fit through. Its not going anywhere. How funny is that?!

Lesson 7.

There is nothing quite as delicious in summer time as cantaloupe and blueberries together in the same bowl.

The combination of those two flavors is heavenly. chicks love it and so do I. Tis the season for fresh fruit! I have a few blueberry bushes I need to plant hThe ere; one I dug up from my old house. Next year Im planting cantaloupe in the garden. For sure. For me. For my birdies.

Talk to me.

Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

Leave a comment 13 Comments

  1. Mary Rauch says:

    I’m pretending I cannot understand what you said about the chickens and their personalities. I LOVE to eat chicken. Sometimes I tell my friends that if there were only two things (Chicken and Strawberries)to eat in the world that I might well be a happy woman. Of course a little Kentucky bourbon wouldn’t hurt, for medicinal purposes you understand.

  2. Teri Schneider says:

    After reading about the rocking chair I had a hearty laugh! That is so awesome! The chickens will love the extra space to roost and it makes it look so cozy inside. My chickens love fruit too. Last year, they thought they died and went to heaven when I gave to them the watermelons out of the garden that hadn’t ripened in time. If they could smile, I’m sure they would have!

  3. Mary says:

    Hi Rebekah, I also started raising chickens about 6 weeks ago but I’m still living in the city. My son and daughter-in-law gave me 6 of their chicks to get started. My "City Chicks" as I call them are so much fun to watch. I totally understand now why chicken scratch is called scratch…they each have to scratch the ground and do a little dance while pecking at the scratch while eating. I love to listen to the "girls" when they announce that an egg has been laid. There is so much more I could tell you of the fun of raising chickens. Also, nothing beats having fresh eggs.

  4. Joan says:

    Oh yea!!!! I so needed to hear from you and the girls and maybe one Roo – he will be fun too. Your ‘coop’ is looking marvelous – lucky girls I’d say and a place to sit and enjoy them. I love hearing about your learning experience. My son lives in the Black Forest in CO. – maybe you heard of the fire – well he got the family and horses out but the girls had to be left – oh yes I so wanted to try to sneak in during the mandatory evacuation and get them but he said they were running around like only chickens can – ‘the sky is falling’ – well his home was spared and so were the girls – we thank God and ask Him to comfort those that lost everything – he has one girl that LOVES to TALK – and when they got home she really gave him the whole story – LOUDLY but wouldn’t leave his side – oh yes love the animals but LOVE the GIRLS. Thanks again for the super rest time this afternoon – now I must get back to doing something. God Bless

  5. Pat says:

    Your blog about the chicks is so enlightening (and funny). I have learned things about chickens I didn’t know. I think its amazing that people are raising chickens everywhere, in the city, in the suburbs, as well as in the country. Although I live in an apartment (can’t have chickens), I manage to grow most of my own herbs and have a tomato plant. I frequent the farmers’ markets every weekend (we have many in the Boise ID area where I live). They actually begin in the middle of April and go through fall (one goes until Christmas-time). I, along with some of my friends, have been trying to eat as local and organic as possible and have found that the food tastes so good, and I’m sure it is so much better for us. Anyway, good luck with your chickens. Keep us posted as to their progress.

  6. Mary Beth Schwarz says:

    Your hen house is so lovely! Only the best for your chicks including insulation. The girls will love it! What laughs your story has given me tonight. Every animal I have been around has a special personality so your chicks are just like most animals with their little quirks. I think if you love animals they respond to you and are able to show you their natures. You will enjoy seeing the old rocker in the hen house and i will give it that homey feel. Mary Beth

  7. Nan Roberts says:

    I love these lessons. I aspire to have chickens this summer. I want to eat them. I also want to have bunnies and eat them, but I bet you I’ll be like you and not be able to. I love Barbie Cochin. Of course you do outdoor chicken daycare. WHat else?
    The rocking chair you can use to sit in and rock the chickens. How nice that will be.(well, there will be that chicken bedding, but still, you’re used to the smell by now anyway.) thanks for sharing and inspiring and encouraging.

  8. kay says:

    Looks like something I would do….building around a chair. Enjoy!

  9. Vivian says:

    Oh I do love the baby chicks. I get them every spring and enjoy all their lovely personalities. One trick I learned is to have space in the coop for a chair but don’t leave it in the coop. It will get yucky because the birds will use it. Also if you grow lavender in your garden you can harvest it and put the dried stems and flowers in your coop it will keep bugs away and makes your coop smell fresh. I mix it in with pine shavings. There is nothing in the summer that beats a good chair by the coop and a nice glass of wine. Have fun and enjoy. Vivian from http://www.gardengatelavender.com and http://www.womenfarmers.org.

  10. Brenda says:

    Well you will just need to take a piece of newpaper out with you when you visit to put on the chair seat before you place your seat upon it. And your girls will just sit there in your lap while you talk to them. One or two will claim it for thier night time roost. It will be the the queens spot! Love all that you learned in 7 weeks. It is all true! I lost 2 of my old hens this spring I am down to 8. I needed chicks, but I wanted a vacation during chick time. No insulation in our hen house but I do hang a light when it gets below freezing. Happy Hen days!

  11. Denise says:

    Love reading your post, had a good laugh over your lessons, very funny and relevant too. Love what you’re doing with your farm too. Look forward to reading more posts :) take care.

  12. Lynda says:

    I am so happy to have read all your 7 weeks of lessons. It made my face and my Heart smile. I laughed out loud about the chair being built inside the coop. My Grandmother raised chickens and she said it was one of the highlights of her life, that is next to raising her children. I want to raise some Girls of my own. Soon very soon…. Thank you for your accounts and keep the wonderful words coming…

  13. Nancy says:

    I Loved reading your post about your chickens. I too have started raising chickens I started off with 6 little Buff Orbingtons, they were just so cute and fluffy but yes they grew so fast and then became 5 Roos and 1 hen. We have been able to find homes for 4 of our Roos and now our Henry is so happy with his little Millie and there will be 7 new hens for him it was so nice to watch the two chickens get to know each other and Bond they hang with each other all day isn’t Love Wonderful

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