Diaries Magazine

A Few Words About Raising Backyard Chickens

By Chelseajmartin

In August of 2010, we decided to invest in a micro chicken flock as a way to become more connected with our food. Our 3 and then 4 bantam hens provided us eggs and countless hours of entertainment.  If you haven’t had the pleasure of watching chickens roam about in a backyard, you are truly missing out. They have hilarious antics and distinct personalities that are sure to keep you laughing.

Gail and Goldie

This spring, around March, we decided to expand our flock to include standard size hens and two more bantams. Their development was logged here,  and other posts on this blog. It was amazing to see them grow up in our house from one day old chicks brought home from tractor supply to full grown hens. We even ended up with two roosters- Rex and Raptor.

Chickie Day 2
Barred on the Run

Now enters the latest phase in chicken stewardship- allowing one of our first bantam hens, Goldie a Buff Brahma, try to hatch two Americana chicken eggs from two of our other hens.  Goldie has always been a pretty broody hen. Her last stretch of broodyness lasted 4 months. So, finally we caved to letting her sit on a clutch of eggs not knowing how it would turn out.

Two weeks ago, Goldie’s first egg hatched followed by a second egg about 5 days later. We had no idea what kind of intervention she would need to help care for the chicks. Turns out not a whole lot!

When we raised the 12 chicks this spring in the house, we were obsessed with keeping the temperature in their pen nice and warm. To our surprise, Goldie had both of the chicks out in the pen within 24 hours of hatching even though it was chilly outside. This is despite us providing both Goldie and the chicks with food and water in the much warmer pen. Now, two weeks later, Goldie is taking the chicks out into the yard foraging. She scratches- the chicks scratch. It’s very cute and impressive to see just how resilient the chicks are and what a great chicken mom Goldie is.

Never underestimate the power of instincts. 

Baby Chick

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