So what kind of farm doesn’t have chickens? Rhetorical question, but one I ask myself often. I had wanted goats, the rascals have charm. But hungry goats and tender flowers seem incompatible (pretty sure I’m right about that) so what animals could we bring on for enjoyment and sustenance? Chickens, as great bug eaters and fertilizer producers, seem to pair well with floral crops. If not, there’s always fencing.
Now to select a breed? I could always get an assortment by mail or chick-days at the farm store. They’d need to be cold hardy, with nice dispositions, colored egg layers and nice to look at. Then I found a local farmer who raises Barnevelders, a heritage Dutch breed that fits the bill, and she has chicks to sell on occasion. I put my name on the list and forgot all about it.
Suddenly, my number was up and she had 15 chicks that were mine for the taking as long as the taking was right now. After a flash of hesitation – where will I put them? Am I ready for this?—I had to admit to myself the decision had really been made long ago, so time to saddle up and go get me some chickens.
We met Donna and her flock on a warm summer afternoon and got a quick tour of a working chicken coop—many coops actually. We were introduced to the patriarch of our brood, a handsome roo with a full bold comb and easygoing attitude. We rode home with a box of peeps and a list for Tractor Supply.
Within weeks they had outgrown their brooder, then the makeshift pen I cobbled together, and were soon ready to outgrow the nice enclosure I built with care. Next up, a real coop.
As the chicks grow into pullets, their dinosaur heritage is evident.
The young rooster’s comb has started to come in.