In November 2011 we moved to our acreage. Both Arlen and I had grown up on the farm and knew that one day we wanted to raise our kids in the country. So when this property came up we decided to go for it. It was a huge step for us. We’d always lived in town and we were excited to show the kids things that we grew up with.
It didn’t take long and I knew that I wanted to raise some chickens. We converted a storage shed into a chicken coop and I ordered chicks through a hatchery and they came in the mail.
They were so soft. The kids and I loved going out and holding them. These were ISA Brown laying hens. It was a great way to learn about chickens and raising them. My mom had raised hens when I was little, but only for a short time and I didn’t remember a whole lot.
We had some serious learning curves with these birds. From feed that wasn’t high enough in protein that caused them to prolapse creating wounds that would bleed and then they’d pick on each other, to some coop ventilation issues causing frost bite and the final blow almost complete devastation to wildlife. It was a hard pill to swallow.
We had started with 40 birds and after the mass devastation from wildlife I had only 6 hens left. It was enough to make me want to throw in the towel. But, I didn’t. Instead I headed to the internet to learn what I had done wrong.
I learned about Heritage Chickens. Birds that were beautiful and hardy. I found a lady about 40 minutes west of us and ended up buying my first collection of fancy chickens. The photo below shows a Buff Chantecler Rooster with 2 of the remaining ISA Brown Hens.
He was a handsome boy that the kids and I named Monty. He was very protective of his girls and gentle with the kids and I never had to worry that he was going to attack. We sadly lost him one night when he refused to go in at night.
Even after loosing another chicken I knew that Heritage chickens were the birds for me. They were hardier, gentler and had a better disposition. I have had numerous different breeds of chickens come and go through my hen house over the past 7 years. 2 hens are still original to my first heritage purchase and many are daughters of those original hens.
I have also raised pullets to almost laying age and sold them to other chicken lovers. There is something about having chickens on a farm that is amazing. While many people think that roosters are noisy, I love the sound and miss it when we don’t have any roosters.
I think raising chickens is like having a bag of chips. You can’t just have one. You start with plain and then you add some salt and vinegar to the mix. Then next you want to try Dorittos. That’s how it is with chickens. I started with plain ISA Browns. Now I have numerous breeds and one day I want to try my hand at a few different breeds as well.
So there you go. That’s how I got into raising chickens.