I’ve really loved the idea of keeping chickens since I was a kid. In fact, when I was in elementary school, my father and I (mostly him) built coops for each of my 28 chickens. Each bird with it’s own cage, and 26 of them were roosters. Looking back at it, I don’t think it was the best way to keep them, but I learned a lot about chickens and their personalities very early.
It wasn’t until a year ago that I really started looking into keeping chickens seriously. Meeting their needs while also making them a functioning part of the farm. Learning about how much food they actually require, what to do about keeping them safe from predators, and of course the finer points of collecting and using their eggs.
We have a few chickens here at Towns End already, but these guys are more like pets than farm animals. I don’t imagine these guys will be seeing a pot at the end of their lives as everyone has grown pretty attached to them. We do collect and enjoy their eggs so I guess they are a little more than pets.
I still want to get a new working flock for tilling and fertilizing along with egg duty. But these guys will give me a little more hands on time with the chickens and allow me to learn a few lessons along the way before I pull the trigger on a whole new flock.
Without further ado; Meet some of the flock
“Larry” is the most noticeable character when it comes to the chickens. He is our only rooster, and really helps when it comes to wrangling the free ranging hens, and keeping them safe from the mongoose. Larry is a Lavender Orpington, who’s white coloration stands out in a sea of brown hens.
The hens are all Buff Orpingtons, characterized by their brown (or “buff”) coloration. These chickens are extremely docile and people friendly. More so than any other chicken I’ve come across. They have no problem being around people, and even come when they’re called. They will regularly follow us around when we’re working on the farm, hoping we dig up some bugs while weeding.
All of our hens are free ranging throughout the day, but sleep in a protected coop to keep them safe from mongoose while they sleep. Larry does a great job keeping them safe during the day, but we have to lock them up at night. We learned that lesson the hard way, unfortunately.
make sure there is no opening larger than 1″ x 1″ in your coop to keep predators out
Here are a few more photos of our chickens that I snapped this week.