Raising chickens is a labor of love

Chicks inside chicken coopMy wife and I are in 3rd week, going on 4 weeks of having chickens.  One thing I have realized in this short period of time, raising chickens is a labor of love.  Unless you are ready to check on your chickens everyday, feed, water, clean, inspect, worry about,,, don’t even bother.

From February 25 – March 18 the chicks were kept in a plastic box, that was in kept in a bathtub.  On a daily basis I had to clean the tub, replace the newspapers, refill the water and refill the food.  For the last week that the chicks were in the box I put some pine shavings down in the tub.  This made matters worse as the chicks scratched the bottom of the tub and threw the pine shavings into the food and water bowls.  The water bowl was the worse, as the pine shavings soaked up the water and stuck inside the water bowl.

On March 16, 17 and 18, with the help of my wife and my son I built a chicken coop.  On Saturday I only had about 1/2 day for work.  the morning was taken up helping my step-daughter do a beauty pageant.

The coop measures 4 feet wide by 6 feet long, and has 5 laying boxes on the inside.  While building the coop I realized I should have used 4 foot wide hardware cloth, instead of 3 foot wide.  Just having that extra foot would really help out with the perch.

I am thinking about adding a lower set of laying boxes.  The current boxes are screwed into place.  All I would have to do is build the extra boxes, unscrew the current set, lift the current boxes up, slid the new boxes in place, then screw the two sets of boxes together.

For most people, when their kids grow up and move out, they get some kind of pet such as a dog or cat.  My wife and I decided to get chickens.  If we are going to take care of a pet – feed, water, care for,,,, we want something in return.  Its all fine and dandy when your dog wants to play, but fresh eggs are nice to.

Chickens go past the pet mentality, they provide food as well as companionship.  Cats just eat, sleep and want to be petted.  Chickens do all kinds of good stuff, they eat bugs, provide eggs, are fun to watch,,,.

One of the big advantages of keeping chickens over dogs and cats, if you get tired of taking care of chickens, you whack their heads off, pluck the feathers, and put them in the freezer.  If you do that do a dog or cat you will probably get charged with animal abuse.

If you eat a dog or cat everyone freaks out.  If you eat a chicken, nobody cares.

One of the disadvantages to chickens, they are not going to sleep at the foot of your bed, and they can not be house trained.

If you want to something to bark at strangers, a chicken just is not going to get the job done.  When I see a chicken, I am thinking about chicken gumbo or chicken nuggets.  When I see a growling German Shepard, I am thinking about my arms being torn off.

I think it takes a special kind of person to care for chickens.  Some people do not have the patience to care for chickens, some people to not have the patience to care for cats or dogs either.  Where some people just want to throw down a food bowl and water with a cat or dog, that is not going to work with chickens.  What other animal craps in their water bowl?  What other pet walks through a pile of steaming crap, then stands in their food and water bowl?  The only one I can think of is a chicken.