Happy Tuesday, everyone! Instead of the zucchini cake recipe I was going to share today, I’ve decided to do a chicken update. To be honest, I’m a little green around the gills (if you know what I mean) and could stand a 24 hr. zucchini reprieve. So here goes.
Waaaay back in June I used some of my Mom Central grant money to purchase 6 baby chicks. Over the past two months, these baby chicks have morphed into nearly full-grown chickens.
Last month I reported on their progress and documented construction of their palatial chicken estate: The Chickominium. (Funding courtesy of Mom Central – many thanks & woohoo!)
In early August, I described the chickens developing palates via the blog post Chicken Feed.
Now that the chickens are 3 months old, they’re bigger, busier and HUNGRIER than ever. Chicken feed is fine, but they much prefer grazing for insects throughout the yard. First thing each morning, we let them out of their pen to free range.
When the chickens first started free ranging, I would be in and out of the house, checking on them every 10 minutes. Call me Mother Hen. But as time has worn on, the chickens have adapted and so have I. Rather than wander aimlessly, we’ve developed a routine. I let them out. They scurry to the closest bush, a jumbo honeysuckle right beside our rock wall. This is their home base of operations. When they’re not beneath the bush itself, they like to chill up on top of the wall.
From here they strike out around the yard. They stick strictly to the planted perimeters, where the perennials (and weeds) shelter and shade their activities.
Often when I go to look for them, it takes me a little while to track them down. Not because they’ve wandered off – no, rather because they’re so quiet and well-hidden in the overgrowth.
I like nothing better than to watch them peck & scratch around, doing their chicken business. And since I’m the one that feeds/waters/and cleans their coop, they aren’t just used to me, they actually seek me out. I’m not joking. When I go out to the coop, if they’re somewhere near by, they hustle over to see if I bring treats. I spend most of my time in the kitchen, with the back door open. And while cooking, I often listen to music and sing. It’s become customary to see the chickens hanging out too.
Whenever I sit reading on the back porch, as I was doing when the earthquake struck last week, they sit beneath the table at my feet. I think of them as my chicken buddies.
The hens are now about 12 weeks old and should begin to lay somewhere between 18-22 weeks of age. So we should start seeing beautiful organic free-range eggs anywhere from mid-October to mid-November. I can hardly wait!
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