I’m sorry but I never remember to answer all the questions that are asked so I’ll try to answer a few of them today.
1. Someone asked if the chickens run loose when not in the coop.
No. If you go to this post, you can kinda see the run my chickens are in. We move the run around so they have grass to eat. It takes them about a week to 10 days to completely destroy the grass but this time of year, it grows back quickly once we move the run to a new location. During the day they’re free to get in the coop, though they pretty much go in there only to lay eggs or if they think we’re going in there. Otherwise, they’re in the run or in the enclosed area between the run and the coop.
We live in the city and while I don’t think my chickens would wander too far from home, I don’t want to chance aggravating my neighbors. A lot of people get real fired up about free range chicken but when reading the chicken forums, it’s way too often that dogs or cats or possums or birds of prey or whatever kill chickens and I don’t know what’s more humane . . keeping them in a pen with plenty of room and fresh grass or letting them run loose and risk being killed.
Sometimes in the afternoons when we’re out, we’ll let some of the Red Stars out. They hang around real close to us and we can easily pick them up and put them back in the run. The Ameraucanas don’t want to come out with us and we can’t catch them easily so they usually don’t get to run around the yard.
2. Where did I get the fleur de lis cake pan?
I ordered them from Nordicware. Similarly shaped pans can be found for less but Nordicware is heavy and worth the extra $$. If you live near a good kitchen store, they’ll often have a wide variety of Nordicware cake pans.
3. Is there a difference in taste in the fresh eggs vs. storebough eggs?
OMG! You wouldn’t believe the difference. For a couple of years we’ve been using eggs from a lady who sells them at the quilt shop or eggs from the Amish. A month or so ago, I was out of eggs and the quilt shop didn’t have and all the Amish eggs were sold before we got to the store and I had to buy eggs. I bought something like “free range brown eggs” hoping they’d be similar to the fresh eggs we’d been getting. They were not and we could hardly eat them.
4. What’s the down side of having chickens?
I hate to even address this question because we all have such different ideas of “fun” and “good”. I have friends who would rather stick needles under their fingernails than even think of having chickens.
For us, we hardly ever travel. I’d rather be home than most anywhere else. Even without chickens or Speck, I am still a homebody. But, if you’re one of those who loves to travel, someone is going to have to take care of the chickens. It’s not like you can board them at the vet or take them with you. Well, I guess you could but I surely wouldn’t want to rent that hotel room after you’ve been there with chickens! 🙂 We have a friend a couple of blocks away and a neighbor just behind us who will either one take care of the chickens when we do go somewhere overnight.
In a nutshell, here’s what we do.
- In the mornings between 5:30 and 6:00, we open the hatch door on the coop and the chickens emerge into the run. Once they go into the run, we change the water in the coop and fill up the feeder if needed. They also have fresh water and feed in the run. We’re real big on making it easy to eat around here!
- About 10 or 11 a.m., I go out and get the eggs. They’ve been laying between 9 and 11 each morning. They lay in the nesting boxes and I just open the lid door, get the eggs and bring them in. The eggs have been very clean and have not even needed wiping. On the days when it was over 100 degrees, I’d give them fresh water at this point.
- About 3 p.m., I check their water. If it’s warm, I give them fresh and give them more food if needed.
- About 8:00 p.m. they go into their coop. We go out and close the hatch door and change out the water in their run so that in the morning, they’ll have fresh water in there.
That’s it. Once a week, we rake out all the straw/poop from inside the coop. About once a month, we’ll probably pressure wash inside the coop but so far, the poop has all stuck to the straw and when we raked out the straw, the poop all came out with it and the floor looked fairly clean. It goes into the compost crate.
They’re really not a lot of trouble eat all.
One thing that’s real important to me is that that the 6 Red Star chickens are so friendly. They love to be petted and if they’re out running around and I sit down on the ground, they’ll come right over and sit on my lap for me to pet them. The 4 Ameraucanas want absolutely nothing to do with us. If I had all Ameraucanas, I’d be pretty disappointed. There are lots of really pretty chickens and I thought I’d like to have a bunch of different breeds but after seeing the “personality” of the Red Stars, I think that may be all I ever have. I really like those chickens and can see how they could easily be pets.
That’s all the questions I can remember . .
Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says
When I adopted/rehomed my first dog (1998), the rescue coordinator kept Silver Wyandotte chickens. It was my first introduction to chickens as pets. We didn’t go visit the chickens–I’m allergic to bird feather dust 🙁 –but I looked up the breed on the Net when I got home.
Wow. Very beautiful! And Rhonda (rescue coordinator) was talking about how sweet they were, too.
Maybe someone on your chicken forum(s) can tell you about Silver Wyandottes?
I have really been enjoying reading about the chickens. I sure wish I could have some.