Wednesday, June 4, 2008
We have been dreaming of having chickens for awhile now. We never thought we'd have the opportunity to do it while renting, let alone in town. As luck would have it, our new landlord is totally into the idea of having chickens, and encouraged us to get them as a collective undertaking with other tenants on the property. So...yesterday we bought 6 baby chicks for our Collective Chicken Project (CCP)!!!!! It all happened so fast we can hardly believe that the chirping noise incessantly emanating from the bathroom is from our very own brood!
We got our chickies from the feed store. It is actually pretty late in the season, which is why we got them right away instead of thinking it over like rational folk. If we thought about it too much longer, we'd have had a whole year to think it over. So, on Monday we went to the feed store and they only had 5 or 6 chicks left. We were sad, but the owner (who is quite a character) informed us that he'd be receiving a new shipment the next day. So we returned the following afternoon with our neighbor and partner in the CCP. She brought along two chicken experts, who happen to be 12 and 8-year-old children who have been raising chicks practically their whole lives. The elder girl led us through the whole process and made sure we had everything we needed. We bought 6 chickens: 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Rhode Island Whites (yeah, I'd never heard of them either), and 2 Arakaunas (they lay blue-green eggs!!!!) All are purported to be good layers, so we should be getting about 6 eggs a day come October.
Total startup cost so far is about $45, but that's not so bad when it's split between the three CCP members. Supposedly we will just about break even in terms of the cost of chickens v the cost of buying eggs, plus they will be super fresh and we'll know exactly how the chickens were treated and what they were fed. Not to mention no fossil fuel is required to get the eggs to us AND they will eat most of our kitchen scraps.
The chickies will have to stay inside for the next 4-8 weeks, until they have their feathers. Like divorced parents, we are sharing custody with our neighbors, trading our babies off every other week. So far the cat is intrigued but not aggressive towards the chickies, but we definitely don't let her near them unsupervised. I'm pretty sure we'd come home to a box of decapitated baby birds if we did.