January 14, 2011

The Unplanned Chicken

So we have our first chicken. I have no idea how old she is but according to her previous owners she doesn't even lay eggs anymore, so I guess she is a pet chicken. We had thought about getting some chickens for a couple years now but the goats keep us so busy we just never got around to really deciding on chickens or not. I am afraid our farm has always been chickenless, though a few wild turkeys did decide to make our place the local turkey hang out a couple years ago.

So why did we get a pet chicken in January? After spending almost $15 on chicken feed and grit I am not so sure anymore myself but she has a nice personality and surprisingly this one I think I can blame on my husband, at least for the most part. See the unplanned chicken is actually Jamey's chicken.

The new guy that baled our hay pastures last year (and did a much better job than the hay guy before him) is also a person that used to work with Jamey. I think it was around the time the hay was baled that Jamey went over to his house for some reason and came home talking about some chicken that roosted on their porch. I didn't pay too much attention, I was probably thinking about goats at the time.

Several months went by and we were invited to these people's house one evening to play board games. I had not been there before but as soon as we got out of the car Jamey pointed out the chicken roosting on their patio table and proceeded to tell me all about her again. I guess she refused to stay in the chicken coop because the other chickens picked on her and so she roosted on their front porch every evening instead. She did seem pretty friendly for a chicken, softly clucking "hello" (I guess that is what she was saying) at everyone that walked up to their door like their own little feathered Wal-Mart greeter, all she needed was a tiny blue smock. Jamey even had to go pick her up and show her to me that evening. I watched him carry that bird around and started to wonder if he was smitten with that chicken.

Our friends told Jamey he could take the chicken home on several occasions, personally I think they were getting a little tired of the chicken poo on their patio table and porch. I can't say that I blame them one little bit, if the greeter at Wal-Mart pooed in front of their store I am sure Wal-Mart would fire her pretty quick too.

Jamey wanted to bring her home at that time but I said "no, no" and reminded him we had no place to put her since we have no coop and the room in the old farmhouse/shop was occupied by Cookie the goat expecting winter kids at the time. I was also afraid with no place for her to stay at night some coyote or owl might get her, we have lots of both around our farm.

So we didn't bring the chicken home and time went by. Our friends graciously invited us back over to their house several times and there was still always that chicken sitting on their front porch table.

Then came January and our mild winter turned cold, really cold. It snowed and the weatherman said it would get down in the negative numbers that night. The goats all have shelters so I knew they would be OK and we now had a place in the old farm house to put a chicken since Cookie and her two maturing kids had since been graduated back outside with the other goats. I called Jamey when he got off work and asked him if he wanted to go get that chicken, so he did.

It was all last minute and not thought out at all. So that night we fed her some all stock grain, sunflower seeds, some lettuce (which she turned her beak up at) and some seedless grapes which she did like. We also made her a temporary nest box and perch. The video was taken that first night, the room is actually well lighted and not dark at all when the light is on but for some reason my cheapo camera just makes indoor pictures or video all look dark like this unless I use the flash (which I can't do on video.)

They said she was a Cinnamon Queen chicken. I assume that is a breed like a Red Star or Red Sex Link chicken? I guess we will call her Cinnamon. I know goats but chickens are new for us, so feel free to offer advice! Maybe in the spring we will get some more chickens, some passive ones so they don't chase and bully her out of the coop again. Oh yes I guess we need to build a coop too!


~Tonia said...

Cinnamon queens are excellent layers sometimes laying 2 a day. You may try giving her a little meat too. She may surprise you and start laying. I have 4 yr old chickens that still lay at least every other day.
Congrats on having A chicken!lol They are my second favorite to goats!

Teresa said...

Dog food is another good source of protein that might help her lay. Chickens can be very sweet. Congratulations!

Pricilla said...

Chicken poop is foul and disgusting.
It gets everywhere. Don't let it get on a goat you will never get it out of the fur.

They will eat almost everything - I watched one chase and kill a mouse in the barn the other day. It was rather amazing.

Joanna@BooneDocksWilcox said...

well, if we lived close, I'd share some chickens with ya. She needs some buddies, order some day olds from McMurray Hatchery.

Liz Oller said...

Your video made me miss raising laying hens. They can be such fun. Like goats each hen has their own personality. I can't wait to see the coop.

Terry Golson said...

Hi- my blog and FAQs might help you get started with chickens. Yes, plural. Once you have one, you get more. I see five in your future. Well, maybe a dozen. Worse than potato chips.
BTW, I've integrated hens that have been bullied by other chickens into a flock. You can read about that here

Anonymous said...

She's lovely though! I had a guinea pig named "Cinnamon" but she died before moving to the country though. We've had roosters wander on our property from our neighbor's. We have the Muscovies though and our 25 goats and our 24 cats.


Sally/Two of Us said...

I like chickens! Not as much as i love goats, but they are much lower maintenance. I had a little flock of my own when I was nine years old. Just recently I was thinking if I could possibly keep a few here. . .(I decided that my yard is really just too small)but I did find LOTS of chicken blogs which confirmed what I remember, which is all you really need to do for hens is toss some food and close them up from predators at night. You don't even need a rooster (according to some of the blogs but not all) The biggest problem seems to be what to do with all the eggs if you have too many chooks. And there are so many pretty kinds!

Mom L said...

It's definitely better than an unplanned baby!!! She's a very pretty hen - I'll bet your husband will be happy to feed and clean up after her!!!

Nancy in Iowa

Claire the Shepherdess said...

A lovely hen! She may well start laying again in spring when the day length is longer. They can surprise you sometimes. Hens are very social and mine sneak rides on the backs of goats and sheep but they don't poop on them. They get off to poop and get back on again.

Elizabeth, Liz, Lizzy, MOM!! said...

Love your blog, love your goats, and even love your new (old) scrawny chicken! :) I just became your follower and look forward to reading more. Please stop by and visit my new blog sometime!

Flartus said...

Oh, she seems lovely! I, too, predict a small flock in your future. As long as they have good shelter, chickens are very easy to keep; they're a great way to get rid of all kinds of food scraps. And they're just so fun to watch.

Good luck!

Whiffletree Farm said...

My "girls" follow me around in the good weather and particularly like it when I'm pulling weeds from the garden so they can snap up any tasty creatures from the soil. You may start to really like her... chickens are easy and fun. Beth

Twisted Fencepost said...

Yay! You got a chicken!!
I just love chickens and hope to someday build a chicken coop. But for now it's just a dream. My grandmother always had chickens and I loved to watch them. I've had a few over the years but it's been a long time. I can't wait to be awakened by a rooster again.

Nerd Mama said...

She looks so sweet! My great-grandmother used to have chickens and I would have to go hunting everywhere for eggs. The smarter hens would hide their clutches from us. Someday I'll have laying hens of my own, I still love them. She may have stopped laying because the other chickens chased her from her nesting site, not because of age. Give her some good rich feed and a place to settle in, and you may get some eggs yet. If you get more chickens you may want to get young ones, if they are smaller than her when they meet they're less likely to pick on her even if they grow bigger.

Ken ande Mary of Fancy Fibers Farm said...

We have a Cinnamon Queen hen we obtained in exchange for a your easter egger rooster. Hopefully she'll lay for you as they lay exceedingly large brown eggs, well at least ours does. Chickens are quite adaptable and like others have said they'll eat just about anything. In the winter, we provide ours (we have about 30 or so) laying crumbles and scratch. In the summer we feed them very little, as they free range, eating greenery, bugs, etc. Someone mentioned seeing one of their hens carrying off a mouse. I'm sure they'll do it. I saw a few of mine chasing a hen one day, trying to take away a little lizard she had hanging out both sides of her beak! Good luck with your hen.

Anonymous said...

Terry, up above there is a great resource, as is a forum called Backyard Chickens.
Congratulations on your new addition.
I might suggest before you start with fresh hatched chicks that you get a few older hens off CraigsList, often free or less than $5 around here. Be sure of what you want to get yourself into.