We have chickens!
Yes, you read that correctly.
It all started with the little first grade hatching project at Kinley's school.
We knew it was coming the entire year.
Kinley has begged for the 1st grade chickens since Kindergarten.
For Christmas, Ben's gift to me was that he would build me a garden and a chicken coop...5 months before the 1st grade chicks were even going to be available.
So, it was not something that was going away.
Kinley learned so much through the first grade hatching project about chicks and the lifecycle of a chicken and how to care for them and everything.
She was so excited to put her name in the hat to get some chicks.
The school had 18 eggs in the incubator and 9 of them hatched.
On hatching day the school had a live feed set up to watch so families could watch from home.
Ty's preschool teachers even set up the live feed on their computers and let the kids watch them hatch all day for 2 days.
It was SO fun to see those babies hatch.
We told the school we would take up to 4 chicks.
But, there were 10 families that wanted the 9 chicks so we only got one.
Kinley chose the chick in her class that she had named, Popcorn.
We came to pick up Popcorn when he was one week old.
We had no idea what type of chicken or what sex that Popcorn was.
But we cuddled with her nonstop.
We set up a brooder for her with a heat lamp and food and water and pine shavings.
Haley was very interested in looking at our new houseguest.
We knew we did not just want one chicken because it would be so lonely so, as Ben was driving home from a day of work in Austin that same day, he stopped at a hatchery in Hillsboro and bought 4 more chicks.
Even Ben and I would just sit at night and cuddle with the baby chicks.
Popcorn came home from the school with a little rash on her that we weren't sure whether it was contagious or not to the other new chicks so we kept them separated for the first couple weeks to make sure it went away.
Ben added a piece of wood to the brooder to separate them.
So she wouldn't get lonely we put a small stuffed animal and a mirror on Popcorn's side and it made a world of difference. She played and played and had so much fun with those toys.
When they finally all got together and shared the same space.
My kids are so, so in love with the baby chicks.
Ty has bonded with this Rhode Island Red chicken (that he named "Red") from day one.
Red pretty much is trained like a parrot. She will sit right on Ty's arm or on his shoulder or even his head.
Dylan occasionally was able to sit still enough to hold a chick on his own and when he got to he was beyond excited.
Ty teaching Dylan the shoulder perch
The chicks have been very popular and have had lots of visitors and attention.
Anson and Dylan climbing up to take a look at the chicks
Kai and Jaymes
Enough chicks for the all the neighbors to hold
The head perch is everyones favorite to try
Lucy was in town and got to come by and meet the chicks
We even took the chicks on a field trip to the preschool for the kids to come by and look at during the day.
Ty's class especially loved it since they watched the 1st grade chicks hatch.
The Bartels and Nordells came one day
The Jacobs came and Jensen loved them
Ava and Finley
There has been some rotation of the chicks we have had over the last eight weeks.
We lost one sweet chick.
We had 2 wyandotte chicks that we named Mary Kate and Ashley.
Mary Kate got sick and we did everything we could nurse her back to health but she didn't make it.
Ashley ended up being a rooster so we had to give her up.
Our city ordinance doesn't allow for roosters.
And we ended up having to give up Popcorn too.
Turns out the entire school district ordered "feeder chicken eggs" for their 1st grade hatching project. So all the chickens born were feeder chickens.
The problem is they just are steriod injected and get bigger and bigger. They rarely lay eggs and they eventually get too heavy to even move or walk. They are pretty much fully grown at 8 weeks and ready to eat.
Aside from the fact that it made me very disturbed about the chicken we buy and eat at the grocery store, it was also hard to give up our original chicken from school, Popcorn.
But, we just didn't think we could take proper care of her.
So, Popcorn and Mary-Kate were given to the nice man who owns the local feed store and took a majority of the first grade chickens from the whole district.
You can tell in this picture how much faster Popcorn is growing than all these other chickens who are the exact same age.
Ben quickly replaced Popcorn, Mary Kate and Ashley with some new chickens.
Our final six chicks are now:
1) Red - the sweetest, tamest, Rhode Island Red Chicken
2) Lizzie - a beautiful, large, Barred Rock chicken...she is named Lizzie because when she had her fuzz she looked like she had a little crown on her head and Ben was calling her Queen Elizabeth...now shortened to Lizzie
3) Snowy - A crazy light brahma chicken with feathers on her feet, apparently her breed is supposed to be super calm and tame but she is nuts
4) Lulu - the smallest, fastest gold laced wyandotte
5 & 6) And Mary Kate & Ashley 2.0 - two buff orphington chickens
It didn't take long before our chicks started getting smart enough to jump on top of their food dispenser and on the edge of their brooder.
We spent way too many days chasing chickens all over our playroom and putting them back in the brooder.
Ty is the master chicken catcher.
I just herd them toward him and he can snatch them up quickly.
Ben had to think of a way to keep them in. At first we put a soccer net over them but, they could maneuver it and still jump out. So he rigged up some chicken wire weighted by 2x4s to keep them in.
We've (really Ben) has been spending lots and lots of nights and weekends building our coop.
I have been dying to get these chickens out of my house.
They are not small anymore.
They have all their feathers and they are big and they are ready to be outside.
My house smells like a barnyard and I am so ready to have them OUT.
Thankfully, my husband is working SO hard on this for us.
A whole other post on the coop coming soon!