Sunday, June 14, 2009

Getting Hens --- (SURPRISE ENDING!)

Yesterday, J and I got HENS!

We were planning to get hens all along, actually. We thought we would maybe get one chick because I think they're cute, but really the whole point was to have birds that actually lay eggs. Now.

So I've been watching KSL, and I told J there are a bunch of laying hens available online, and he told me to pick some and set an appointment. Buuuuut, when it came to picking hens, I discovered all of the ads online are for like, four places. We could get hens from Mona, Utah (too far south), someplace up by Ogden (too far north), some place...east?, and Sandy, Utah (juuuust right). So really, our choice was basically this one place, Sunny Brooke Farm. I called to see if they had any laying hens, and they did. And they also had ones that were about to start laying, which is really the smart time to buy hens.

I told her we would be there at 3pm. And We Were. Bring
boxes, she said. It was raining buckets, and we rang her doorbell and waited with our boxes on the porch. She opened the door and said, "You came?!!" Because it really was raining a ton.

We went out to her garage, which was open and we kind of saw as we were coming up to the house. She showed us a catalog and we discussed breeds. We learned that hens start laying eggs when they reach a certain weight. Some breeds lay sooner than others because they all seem to grow about the same.

We told her we still wanted a couple of the ones that were already laying, and then we would like a couple of the ones that were about to start (in like a week or two, she said).

So she got them for us. When she grabbed the Delawares, she brought out their eggs from that day, to show us that they really do lay.

And then we got one Red Sex Link (Sex Link means, ok, usually when chicks hatch, they all look alike. So sometimes they're sold "straight run" which means you'll probably get half hens and half roosters. OR, scientists with good magnifying glasses look at their teeny-tiny girl parts or itty-bitty boy parts and separate them so that you can get only hens. They're surprisingly good at this, and they're right 90-95% of the time. So you pay more for that, like we did for our chicks. OR, sex link ones means that the boys and girls are different colors, so their sex is just totally obvious from the instant they hatch). And we got one Barred Plymouth Rock.
She also showed us her brooder. I asked how many chickens she had at her farm and she said over eight hundred! Holy smokes! That's a lot of chickens. She told us next time we need chicks, she has a pullet guarantee, so we should come to her. (Basically, when the scientists do mistake tiny bird parts, you're stuck with the bird. So it's possible (though unlikely) that our four little chicks will all end up actually being roosters. But with her, even if our chicks were 4 months old and one was a rooster, we could bring it back to trade.) She says she gets calls all the time from the Hispanic people, "Do you have any roosters yet?" Everyone just eats roosters.

Anyway, we took the birds home.

I wanted to get a picture of our little chicks all together before we added the BIG hens, but it didn't happen. One of the Delawares started escaping from their cardboard box. So I caught her and put her in the coop, and then the other one started getting out of the box too. And then we just added the Red Sex-Link and the Plymouth to the coop as well.
We got our pine shavings out so that we could make the nesting boxes comfortable for them. I told them they could lay anytime. We weren't sure if they would lay today, and just lay like normal, or if it would take some time to adjust to the new home and new friends, or what. J reminded me that even though we were filling the nesting boxes, they may lay in the wrong place at the beginning. Hens do that. ("It would be like Easter every day!" I told him.)

I love our hens. The Delawares are actually fun because they're a breed that is super friendly. Supposedly they'll sit in your lap. Like a pet. On the farm website, it says that the Reds will follow you around and "talk" to you. So. We have all friendly birds.

They seem to be getting along just fine.

At night, I went out to check on them. They were fantastic! The big hens were all lined up on the perch, and the little chicks were nestled into one of the corners of a nesting box. Adorable!
So I called J out to see them, and he came. "Is that an egg?!" he said, incredulously.

"What. No, just look how nice they are, all in a row."

"That looks like an egg!"

So we went over to investigate, and totally we already had our first egg. Good job, girls!

It was brown, with specks. We were pretty excited. It was still a little warm, actually. Eggs don't get much fresher than that!

So we took it inside, and we fried it, and we shared our first egg from our little flock. Already!
I LOVE CHICKENS! When our birds are all big enough to lay, I think we'll be getting: 2 blue-green eggs, 1 beige egg, and 5 brown eggs from them. Obviously, they won't all lay every day, but if they did, those are the colors we would have.

Neat, eh?! In a couple weeks we should have about 4 -fresh!- eggs every day. ("So you're going to [J's] house every day for breakfast?" mom asked. Mhmm. Well. Not really.)


Paul said...

Meh, want chickens. want now.

MamaErin said...

Do yo u have any idea how much $$ you're going to be saving on eggs?! We go through at least a dozen eggs a week- sometimes more. I"m so jealous. Your chickens are cute!

By the way, could you tell the difference in taste between store-bought eggs and freshly laid eggs?

Becky said...

Wow, your chickens look like so much fun. I can't believe how domestic you are.

Mindi said...

emily--thanks for your comment! and before i answer your question, i just have to say :NICE BIRDS!!!!!!

anyway, the shout out means you get one entry for leaving a comment and another entry if you mention it on your blog. usually people will come back and leave a 2nd comment and tell me they shouted it out for their second entry.

but, again, NOT REQUIRED for my love! so glad you read!

Becky said...

What do you do with the paper towel tubes? After your comment I made chocolate salame and it was pretty good. I put the recipe on my blog if you are interested (after your month without sugar.) I don't know how you can go a month without sugar I am a chocolate fiend!

I have been reading some of your past blogs lately and I almost decided to do the winder farms thing. The problem is that I am moving in a couple of months and they want you to sign up for a certain amount of time and I will be moving and probably pretty broke once I start graduate school. Oh well I guess I will just have to buy milk from Walmart ;)

How is you 101 things going? I saw your post and it has inspired me to do the same thing. I am having difficulty coming up with 101 thing so it is taking me a while.

Becky said...

The paper towel rolls are a good idea. The recipe I used was not crumbly but I think the paper towel rolls would help it to be a better shape.

Did you buy a car? That is pretty exciting if you did. I did not get a car until my senior year of college and it made life SO much easier.

Since you like to cook have you ever checked out the cooking classes at Maceys? I love it because the classes are free and they make some great stuff Are there Maceys grocery stores in SLC?

Gina said...

Isn't that first egg the most delicious thing you've ever eaten? Congrats on your new girls!