We’d like to introduce our (not so new anymore) flock of chickens. They were a spur of the moment birthday gift to me; stumbled upon a for-sale ad and had chickens in the backyard the next day. I loaded up the kids and drove the hour and 20 minutes to the “chicken lady’s” ranch to investigate and potentially bring some layers and pullets home all the while the “coop” would be made ready. Check out the DIY chicken coop we put together in a couple hours.
We wound up bringing 2 laying Rhode Island Reds, and 10 pullets in the following breeds: Rhode Island Red, Barred Plymouth Rock, Leghorn, Buff Orpington, Blue Wyandotte, and some combination of Ameraucana, Araucauna and Easter Eggers. A sweet Austraulorp rooster introduced himself while we picked the girls out and happened to be looking for a home. I was on board for some extra chicken protection, since we planned to free range the girls, so we took him home, too.
See the fence in the background of the first picture? That was the solution to our quickly dwindling flock of chickens. We lost both layers within the first 2 weeks, as well as 2 pullets to predators. That experience was just a glimpse of what I imagine it feels like to lose a larger investment to predators. You feed and care for livestock, hoping that it will pay off eventually. Instead we gave the local wildlife some pretty tasty meals. Cycle of life, I get it, but not my critters. A fox was witnessed carrying off Betsy (our layer) but we never saw any evidence of the other attacks. For a few weeks our rooster’s fate was in limbo as he was clearly not offering any protection for the hens. After we put the fence up, our nerves calmed a bit, and we decided he could stick around.