Sunday, June 19, 2011

New chickens

As most of you know, I live on a pretty regular city street.  You know, a double-lot, which is 60'x140' (yeah, I know, long & narrow).  Lots of neighbors, who generally all love my chickens.

Except for one neighbor, for whom I just didn't know one way or the other.  One day a chicken got loose in their yard, which may have freaked them a bit (and totally fairly, I might add).  I'm reasonably sure one of their dogs got loose and killed three of our chickens, but seriously do not know for sure and never made any accusations.  So I was a bit in no-man's land with them, and they're right next door.

That is, until about 3 weeks ago, when they showed up in our yard with their own 9 baby chicks.  Okay, I guess that answers that question.

BUT, they were the classic Rural King suckers.  The lady got lured in by the adorable cheep-cheeps on chick day and bought 9, with no other obvious long term plan, like having a feeder or living situation or anything.  So they offered some to us, and I said I would take up to three of them once they were a bit bigger.

Now they're a bit bigger.

So here are some of the things I'm gonna need to do, or be aware of, soon:

  • Get back out the old brooder, to keep them in isolation for awhile
  • Wait until they're big enough to be able to hold their own in the main chicken yard
  • Construct a makeshift pen in the chicken yard, probably right off the side of the current run (that's my thinking anyway.  Probably a metal post & chicken wire affair, with a "whatever I can find that will work" roof system.
  • Spend roughly the next two months letting the chickens either grow or get acclimated to the other chicken.
  • Wait with baited breath to see if I got myself any (any at all) roosters.  If so, I'll have a few options:
    • See if my other neighbors were serious about preferring the sound of a rooster crow to an alarm clock.
    • Bite the bullet and learn how to butcher (um.. but where?!)
    • If I have more than one rooster.... sh*t, that's bad luck.
Honestly, I'd rather like one rooster.  I think the girls would be happier, and they're good defense for them (damnit, I hate how unliberated hens are!).  But I have serious doubts about my neighbors truly enjoying the call of the wild at the crack of dawn.  I understand that roosters aren't any louder than dogs, but no one likes to hear dogs barking at the crack of dawn, either.  We'll see how this plays out.  


  1. OMG! You do have your hands full! I love my rooster...he gets me up between 4:30 and 5 a.m. every day. It's great, but thank goodness I'm out in the country and my neighbors are my kids! I think my *big boy* would be stew if we lived in town! Good luck...I hope they are all pullets and then you won't have to worry!

  2. You should double check the laws. Where I live, I can have chickens, but no roosters.

  3. To be honest, the regular birds that live on my street regularly wake me up early in the morning with their incessant ... calls? Living in the city, we have all sorts of mimicry -- such as the bird that imitates a car alarm. Simply fabulous.

    I think for the most part, it's easy enough to go back to sleep after being woken up by most things (short of a burglar). Say the hell with it, and let your hens be happier and safer.

  4. @Heaumer001: the laws here are actually pretty nebulous, and just require that we conform to regular noise ordinances. Which, I'm pretty sure, means no roosters. *boo*

    @Lynda: yeah, that's sort of what I'm hoping, though I just really would love a rooster with the girls *mope*

    @Dea-chan: We might just see what happens, if I end up with a boy... Maybe I can put up curtains around the coop or something so he doesn't realize that it's daytime yet... =)

  5. I just attended a workshop on raising & butchering a meat flock--I can give you the woman's name if it comes down to culling a rooster from your flock. She is a mom, living in the suburbs of Indy, very down to earth and informative.

    I have a friend here in Indy who ended up with a bantam roo--a cochin with the fluffy legs and feet. His name is Bob and he is adorable. We are both hoping that his little crow continues to be quiet enough for the neighborhood!

  6. I just put my 40 meat birds out in their mobile pen. Now I'm paranoid that the weather won't be warm enough for them - always checking that their water and food are full in the field. It was so much easier when they were inside. Anyway - point is, it never ceases to amaze me how much work those little gaffers are. They kind of 'graduate' quickly to needing new digs and I find I need 3 different spots. And what always seem like a 'throw together quickly and cheaply' job ends up being a full day of cursing and searching for the old stuff. Not to mention the dusting job required when they live inside for the first week.
    Good luck with those birds! Great story. I also hope your rooster is friendly. We often get one with too much attitude that runs at us (he doesn't stick around).