Add some chickens for fun

I always wanted to live on a farm; my dream was idyllic and not really practical or realistic.  They are a lot of work.  But if you read, read, read and prepare yourself for that opportunity, then it should not be a real big adjustment to own and live on a farm.  I remember our Realtor when she showed us the property said, “won’t you be scared to live out here?”  Of course we knew we wouldn’t, although the first time we heard the coyotes yipping and calling I wasn’t really  sure how I felt about it.  But now, they are wonderful to listen to and sometimes observe when they are close enough.

I also always wanted chickens. I read and studied and also had to be familiar with the different breeds to choose something I would enjoy but I also wanted something that was different.  I did not plan to be butchering birds; they would only be for egg production.    I also wanted them to spread out across our 3 pastures and eat the bugs and help keep the pastures clean.  Then I could not narrow down my choices to just one.  I ended up getting a rare breed pullet assortment package , a bantam Silkie package and a guinea fowl package, 10 each group for a total of 30, 10 per coop.  img_0005

I had to make sure the coops, one in each pasture would be large enough to house the birds without them fighting for space.  They have adapted very well, enjoy the coops and enjoy the pastures and the barn.  I will find an occasional errant egg laid in the alpacas hay trough, or next to a coop.  But we designed the coops for good ventilation and they made it through the winter fine.  I acquired them as chicks from IDEAL POULTRY last June so we have made it almost a year.  There have not been any losses to hawks (fingers crossed) and we have  our “regulars” that fly all over the pastures out here.  Red tailed hawks and Mississippi Kites are frequent.  There is a smaller hawk variety I haven’t been able to identify but reminds me of a peregrine. 

I noted in a previous article how to go about finding your property.  The main thing is, make your list of priorities.  If you don’t know what your priorities are for a piece of property, do some shopping and you might be able to refine a list (a few of our priorities were: close access to a highway to get my husband to work in  downtown Dallas, not too far from medical and grocery shopping, good access to our place from major highways for alpaca customers, views are pastoral,  neighbors with clean and maintained properties, etc.).  We found our place after looking a year, and I mean out every weekend.  I did the research online and gathered up a list of addresses and we drove.  We learned a lot that way and further refined our list as to “where” we wanted to live.  Instead of south of Dallas we chose north and east of Dallas.  Access to, and “pretty”  surrounding properties, were exactly what we were looking for.  Review the county’s property tax base so you’re not surprised at your annual taxes.  We did not hire a realtor to show us properties; we were most interested in scouting out where they were, look around at the “neighborhood”, scout out the nearby small towns, and just observe whether the property might be one to investigate further.  That way we could look at our own pace.  We could then call the listing realtor if we wanted to look at the property.

Have patience, and the same for shopping for chickens.  Get a breed or two that has characteristics you want and  you will enjoy taking care of.  Then just get some.  You will not regret it.

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