Tuesday, August 24, 2010


And so it begins. The coop was built, the waterers purchased, the organic feed paid for. And now, the chickens are home!

It's been quite a journey. I've had more chicken drama in the past two days than I care to have in a lifetime. For one thing, I seem to be having trouble keeping my numbers up.As you know, Minnie and Olivia have been living down the road with a dear friend. Unfortunately, poor Minnie met her end when a dog burst through the coop and though he didn't eat her, he pawed her to death. Rest in peace dear Minnie. That left me with one chicken, Olivia, and far from my desired flock of four.

Enter my sweet friend Courtnie who offered me two of her chickens free of charge. They have more than enough eggs for themselves and their neighbors and were looking to downsize. I loaded up the kids and drove over. What a sight to see. If someone would have had a video camera, I think I could have won some money. I wouldn't say they were feral chickens but they were quite wild. Picture this:  Two full grown women with their youngest babies on their hips, trying to corner and chase chickens with their free hand while the older children cheered from outside the coop. We finally managed to catch two of them but we were muddy, feathered and sweaty for our efforts.

The trip from Courtnie's house to mine is a mere ten minutes. I carefully carried the box to the backyard and placed the hens in their new home. My daughter (who has unofficially become the namer-of-things for our family) dubbed the black one Glitter and the white one Daisy. We made sure they knew where their feed and water were and left them alone to acclimate.

My new coop is within view from my living room window. An hour or so after we brought Glitter and Daisy home, I peeked out the window to see if I could see them. What I saw was an egg! An egg! Only had them an hour and I got an egg. It had slipped between the nesting box and the wire. I pulled on my shoes to rescue my first backyard egg and hurried out into the heat. And there she was. Glitter. Dead as a doornail. Crap. I called Courtnie and she explained that chickens are easily stressed. The chasing, grabbing and transport in the 110 degree heat proved too much for poor Glitter and after drinking the entire contents of our two gallon waterer, she croaked right beside it.

Daisy, on the other hand, is fine and dandy. There was an egg waiting for me this morning so I figure if she's relaxed enough to lay, she's going to be okay. I went and picked up Olivia and my two survivor chickens seem to be doing just fine. I still want four chickens. But after this weekend's drama, I think I'll just stick with two, at least until Olivia starts laying her much anticipated blue-green eggs.  I don't know if I can handle another dead chicken quite yet. I forgot that life on the farm (or a track house in the middle of Phoenix) can be. My daughter was devastated at Glitter's passing which I certainly didn't expect. We literally had her in our possession less than two hours so I didn't think she would be bonded to the hens quite yet.  I was wrong. Explaining death to a four year old certainly wasn't on the agenda...

So... they are home. And I am happy. I like peeking out the window and seeing them strut around. I liked scrambling the egg Daisy gave me and eating it for breakfast. And with the massive egg recall and salmonella scare going on right now, I  feel so lucky that I know exactly where my food is coming from: my backyard. You can't get more local than that!


  1. Oh my gosh, I didn’t know all that happened! That is so funny, in a horrible way of course 

  2. I can picture the babies-on-hips-one-handed-chicken-herding scene because I do it all the time...oh, for a hidden camera. Sorry Glitter didn't adapt to the move very well. We got 17 chicks last week; J placed one back in their box too vigorously and injured its leg...LOTS of tears about it all, wanting to put a bandage on it, etc...very remorseful. Almost wrung its neck, but lo and behold, the next day it was fine. You never know! They can be sturdy, and they can also be delicate...kinda like us farm girls, eh??

  3. Oh poor Glitter! Did not know Chickens were so sensitive. Makes me really wonder just how many chickens die in those big chicken farms? OR what they are putting in the food to keep those chickens calm. Don't think our very "planned" subdivision even allows chickens in the backyard...jealous of what you have!

  4. Abbie-our HOA doesn't allow them. I'm being a rebel and praying I don't get caught! :)