Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Chickens, Chickens, Chickens!

So yesterday I shared our chicken pen and coop with all of you and now for today I'm going to talk about our chickens!! I don't know why, but I was so nervous to get our chickens. They were our first farm animal and I had no idea what to expect. I read so many books, joined a bunch of Facebook groups, and found so many useful blogs before I jumped all in! We heard that most of the time, when you order pullets, you'll almost always end up with a few roosters, and a few that wouldn't make it. I had wanted 6 chickens, so I was settled on getting 8, just in case. When we walked into tractor supply they had a sale. Buy 6, get 6 free. My husband quickly (and surprisingly) Said yes to 12 even before I could ask him, and so we learned that day all about chicken math!  We brought our little chicks home and that started our journey into chicken ownership! They have so much more personality than I had expected! They are so much fun to be around!

Follow along with the photo progression to see how they grew! These are Production Reds! They can be a mix of Rhode Island reds, red sex links and/or New Hampshires breeds! Ours ended up being pretty large birds and they sure lay a lot! We are into December and still average 8-12 eggs a day! I've really had to up my egg recipe skills with this many eggs, and all our friends and family have a steady supply of free farm fresh eggs!
5 day old! So fully, yellow and wide eyed!
6 day old with the cutest little tail feathers. Tell me how adorable those little fluffy chick butts are? I cannot get over how cute this little picture was of the girls! 
6 days old. Are you a rooster or a hen? I don't know, Let me check! LOL!
 13 days old and they have grown so much already!
 2 weeks old. Look at all those feathers!
 3 weeks old. It's crazy how fast they grow is't it?!
 1 month old and they are so silly looking! That awkward teenage stage I called it!
 Here they are at 1.5 months and living in their coop full time! They had gotten too big to stay inside! Look at all these feathers!
Here is a 3 month old girl roosting! 

 Here they are at 4 months old. They love exploring and trying new treats. Here they were checking out a dandelion my daughter picked just for them! 
Here they are at 5 months old. They loved getting to dig in the pen, eat grass and bugs, and practice their flying!
Here is one of our hens at just 7 months old! We let them free range with us sometimes when we are outside with them so they can explore and eat stuff!
In October, a friend of my husband was told he had to re-home his 5 chickens. 3 are Australorps and 2 are Isa Browns! They are a year older than my hens! (Born Spring 2016) The Isa Browns are so small next to our Production reds! The black ones are so shiny and metallic and such gorgeous birds!
Here is one of our girls at 8 months old digging in the fresh straw. One of their favorite things to do!
And here they are now at just 8.5 months old. fThey are surrounding their new heated water bucket filled with fresh warm water. They were really excited and all came right over to check it out! 

And there they all are! Our 17 hens! We ended up with all 12 of our original chickens as hens! No roosters! They are all healthy and thriving! Add in our 5 new ones and we have a large happy flock! I will be sharing some photos of our queen hen, appropriately named Queenie next time, and then onto our sweet goats!
I hope you have enjoyed getting to see our girls growing up! <3 

Thanks for reading! ~The Vela Homestead

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