Updated: Jan 19
Well, we did it. We took the plunge. I think maybe now we're official urban farmers, right? We have a flock of five little chickens - three Buff Orpingtons and two Black Astralorps, breeds we chose because of their heat tolerance, inability to fly too high when fully grown, sweet temperment, and the number of eggs they lay. So far, these seem to be the perfect birds for the Arizona heat, putting up with kids, and not making much noise. We'll see about the flying and egg laying when they are fully grown!
Their names are:
- Scoot (named after a cousin Scott)
- 9-mil (we were trying to think of names and our youngest said something that sounded like this and the name stuck)
- Thor, and of course,
- Chuck. Chuck the Chick.
All great girls' names, right?
We weren't sure what to expect raising chickens, but so far we've been pleasantly surprised. Now that I'm writing from a month or two into the journey, I have to say, five chickens is remarkably easy, as far as pets go. We raised them from chicks in a plastic tub with wood chips on the bottom, with a food and water dish that needed refilling twice a day. The tub needed changing every few days, but even though it was inside (due to the 105+ temps outdoors), it didn't get too stinky until they were old enough to go outside, so the transition was easy.
Compared to other birds (I love birds and have had a parakeet and a conure parrot in the past), these girls entertained themselves well enough flocking together without expensive bird toys, and didn't get frustrated in the boring box for the weeks they had to stay there. And far from being noisy, these breeds have the sweetest little cooing whistle noises that make up their conversations with each other and us. They also are extremely forgiving and content to be handled, though I'm afraid our 5-year-old has been a bit too rough as of late (these were his first pets and he doesn't seem to be getting the concept of "gentle" yet), so I'm giving them some extra time and handling every night to make sure they grow up to like us! Thankfully they are forgiving and it seems to be working - at least they like and trust me despite being chased around by my little ones!
Bottom line: a flock of sweet pets that will follow you around, have cute squabbles with each other, lay eggs, turn your compost, sit on your lap (outside!), eat all your garden pests, who don't require much more than just some food and water and love every day...as my husband pointed out yesterday (after Charlemagne hilariously tried to upend Scoot from behind out of my hand so she could sit there instead), I've become a chicken lady!