Friday, May 15, 2009


Lately, we've been talking about chickens a lot. J gets fresh goat milk from a little goat dairy in Salt Lake* and he gets fresh eggs there, too. So we always eat good eggs at his house. We've been talking about how it would be nice to have chickens, though. Because then you always have fresh eggs, and you know what the chickens are eating, etc, and the yolks are darker orange and the whites are firmer, and eggs are just better.

And chickens are supposed to be pretty easy to keep. And fairly inexpensive.

So recently, we decided we would get a chicken coop and three hens and one chick (since they're so cute) to put in J's backyard. Fun!

Yesterday we went to IFA to check out coops and get some hens and chicken stuff, buuuut, turns out you can only get like Chicken Deluxe SuperFancy Suites there, which are like $350, which is way more than what we had been looking at online. And then, they didn't have hens at all, just chicks.

But the chicks were ADORABLE. So we got a heated water dish that we were going to need anyway, and I said, "J, what if we just get a few chicks, since they don't need a whole coop anyway...? And they're so cute..." and J decided that would be just fine with him, so we decided to get four chicks.

And we went to get the special chick food (which is like, medicated and has extra nutrition since chicks die way easy), and a lady stopped us and told us we should ask IFA if they have an IFA brand feed, because that would be cheaper. We thanked her, and I started asking her about what we could keep them in (we had talked about using a box, which the lady said was perfect), and what all we would need (our big heated waterer was too deep for them, we would need a little one too), and where we should look for grown hens and coops (online--her friend got a nice coop for $50!), and what she has (50 pullets! And like 50? 100? I forget how many grown laying hens), and what breeds she recommends, and so on.

We ended up getting two Araucanas (because the lady said they are her favorite because of their sweet personalities and because they're great layers and because their eggs are colored!) and two Buff Orpingtons (because we were planning on only getting those--the placard said they're friendly and that they lay during the winter, which we want them to; but the lady said she really likes those, too).

I held the box for the ride home, because I already loved our chicks. J told me he couldn't think of any reason why I couldn't keep them at my house, if I wanted. He meant that it wouldn't require a lot of space, and they wouldn't be loud enough to bother my neighbors, and that I would have fun being the one to take care of them. So I reminded him: "Paley." He had forgotten all about her and agreed that we had better keep them at his house. Paley would love the chicks as much as I do. Maybe more. That would be a problem.**

I had seen an online project (Three Chicks a Day) where this guy takes pictures of chicks every day to document their growth (but like, artsy photos, not scientific ones). His chicks are named Noodle Soup, Salad Sandwich, and Pot Pie. I thought those names were really clever, and wanted to come up with something similar. I wasn't really able to think of anything, though, so I decided that another good idea would be to give them old lady names. SO WE DID!

Some of the names I'd thought of were: Ethel, Gerty/Trudy, Maude, and Berta.

J thought Ethel sounded like the beginning of a chemical compound, and he liked "Gertrude" better than the shortened versions, so we named our favorite chick Maude, and we named her sister Gertrude. For the blonde girls, we originally decided we would call them Berta and were not sure what to call the last one. His grandma's name was Evelyn, so we thought that would be good. I texted Jess for suggestions, but then my mom replied, confused, so I took her suggestions, too. And texted Jess.

Mom replied: "Edith or mildred. Jason suggests Eleanore, Tyler says Judith. Brandon suggests Grandma Shumskins."

Jess replied: "Do you have a Gertie?" (We did.) She also suggested Ethel. Barbara. Gladys! LaVerne. Alice.

We liked Gladys. So I texted Jess back, "Oooh. J says Gladys is a winner."

And Jess texted back "Yay!"

I told Mom "Thanks for playing!" And she wondered if they had won, and I told them they won Honorable Mention.

The boys also suggested a boy name, which I said we wouldn't need, because if any of them turn out to be boys (they're supposed to be all girls), we will change its name to Dinner.

We liked Evelyn, though, so we changed Berta's name, even though Berta is maybe a good name for a Bird-a.

Here are the pictures of our cute chicks:

Getting chicks! He's reaching for the Araucanas.

Still at the store, in the shopping cart. From left to right you can tell them apart because the first one has like, a dark brown stripe (Maude), the next one is much lighter (Gertrude), the first blonde one has some dark on her head (Gladys), and the last chick is all yellow with no brown on her head (Evelyn).

After we got home (and washed our hands with lots of soap and warm water), we moved the chicks from their little cardboard box into a medium! cardboard box with water! and food! and a light! so that they would be more comfortable. Maude was awake when I picked her up, but she cuddled down into my hand and started to sleep while I was holding her, which I thought was just adorable. When I put her down into the new box, she wanted to stay in my hand, which was even more adorable. She is J's favorite too, because he thinks she's the prettiest. We like her.

Chicks! In their new home!

Annnnd, right before I went home: the chicks all sleeping together! Cute! ...On their food? We think it may be softer to sit on than the floor. Hopefully they don't poop in it. (Do you see how we can tell them apart? The one at the top of the picture has brown on her head--Gladys. So the other blonde one is Evelyn. And then the the brown ones are Maude and Gertrude, from left to right, because Maude is much darker.)

Cuuuute! So. Now we just need to find a chicken coop for sale. And hens (which will hopefully be good layers, and not ones that someone is culling.) Or we can build a chicken coop, but J thinks that may be more fun than we want. Heh.

*Which is the only dairy in Salt Lake. Super random, though--turns out my coworker's aunt and uncle own it! What a small world, eh?
** She would eat them, FOR SURE.


erin said...

So now I have two reasons to visit you: your kitty, and your chicks. Awww....

We need to go geocaching. Are you in school this semester?

Anonymous said...

Nice post.. :)

Here is the adv which I found for coop.

MamaErin said...

what a fun project. they are so cute! beware though... we had chicks in my 4th grade class for a project and they nearly burned down our classroom... i believe because they chewed on some cords or something.

Me again said...

Beware, chicken keeping is addicting.

A good site for info is

Also, when searching Craigslist, don't look specifically for a coop. A shed, cutter bee house, or even an old playhouse someone's kids don't use anymore will work.

Ask me how I know. :)