Give the Gift of Chickens!

I wrote recently how I had mixed feelings about Giving Tuesday. How I was sad that we actually had to be reminded to give and how we only remember to give to others in times of crisis. After a trip to the mall the other day, I felt even worse. Nobody seemed to be having any fun. If anything, the look on everyone's faces reflected how crappy I was feeling inside. We left without buying anything, not because we were overwhelmed by the shopping frenzy, but because the one thing we wanted (something for the whole family to enjoy together), was not at the store we went to. We could have gone to another store, but Mr. Jones begged me to go alone and I haven't been brave enough to go back by myself.

Today, I saw a great post on 10 Holiday Gifts that Give Back from my fellow San Diego blogger, Morgan Quinn. (Morgan was also the person I got great advice from when I was looking to get our backyard chickens. Thanks, Morgan!!)

[caption id="attachment_1672" align="aligncenter" width="560"] My Girls[/caption] On her post, she lists gifts that honor the spirit of this time of year. The items either go directly to people in need or a portion of the sale goes towards a worthy organization. My favorite one was World Vision. For only $25, you can give a family in another part of the world two chickens. Aside from providing hours of entertainment (trust me), those two chickens can help provide a family with a protein rich food source. And if they also receive a few more chickens donated from other awesome people around the world, they could actually make a little bit of money on the eggs that are produced. What would they do with that money?

Watch this video to find out what this family did:

For us, it's a few coffees with friends or maybe some impulse buys at the checkout stand. For a family in a village that we may never be able to locate on a map, it's a chance to change their world.

So, give Chickens this Christmas! That's what we're doing. :)

Baby Chicks for Farmer Jones

We decided that it would be cool to have farm fresh eggs at home. Not the kind you buy at the store that say "Farm Fresh" but actually fresh from our very own yard. Apparently, I'm not the only one. Recently, there has been a run on chickens in San Diego. The country feed store near our home in The Boonies sells out of them as soon as they put a sign up announcing Laying Hens. They didn't have any when I went by there a couple of weeks back. They did, however, have a ton of baby chicks.

So I decided to bring a bunch home. Six, to be exact.

Here's one on her first day home:

[caption id="attachment_1309" align="aligncenter" width="560"] Miss Cleo[/caption]

Chicken Breeds

You would not believe how many kinds of chickens there are. Thankfully, the Country Feed Store only had three breeds of baby chicks, so that made the picking easy. They did have one of the breeds I wanted, which was the Ameraucan. Our neighbors have those and they have the prettiest goldish brown feathers. they also lay blue-green eggs. I pretty much wanted them so that I can serve Green Eggs & Ham for breakfast.

Would you like them in a box? Would you like them with a fox?

Beside the Ameraucan, they had White Leghorns and Wyndott. The Wyndotts will grow to be black and white speckled and will lay brown eggs. The White Leghorn is the white chicken you see in old Americana posters. Nothing fancy, but kinda cool.

Nesting

We bought a cage for them that they will outgrow in about a month. That gives us a little time to flatten out a spot out in the yard and build a coop and chicken run. We also had to buy hay. Do you know how many different kinds of hay there are? I won't bore you. Just know that if you raise baby chicks, go with the Bermuda hay. We made sure to buy a heat lamp for times when the temperature dips below 65 degrees. We used that for about a week before the heat wave hit. Better safe than sorry, right?

Eating and Pooping

Chicken also like to crap where they eat, so feeders have to hang from the top of the cage in order to avoid such behavior. Unfortunately, I didn't think they'd do that to their water feeder, but they did. I clean that out a few times a day. I found a water dispenser for the chicken coop, so I won't have to do that anymore. When they're not pooping in their water, they're just dropping it right where they are, so we have to clean out the little cage once a week. I use the hay and poopies in my compost.

Dirty birdies.

Right now, they're pretty much being babies. They're just eating, pooping, and sleeping. They start off with mostly fuzz and a few tiny feathers, but they're going to grow very quickly, and their feathers are getting longer. Every day that we watch them running around, pecking for food, and hopping around each other, we can see how fast they are growing. I'm glad I got some video of their first few days home. Wanna see?

Watch this video:

Friends that also have chickens have told me that they have got some serious personalities. They were right. I've been watching them for the last few weeks trying to decide what names I should give them. I've named Miss Cleo (above) and three more of the six chicks. The final two, the Wyndotts are rather bitchy. They stay to themselves most times and do NOT like to be held. I need to come up with some good farm names that hints at that personality.

Any suggestions?