Our Rosie Chica, in her own nest~ from our Rancho days, 2003
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It's spring and many bloggers are posting about their new chicks! They all look so dear, and seeing them makes me eager to bring some little ones into our small flock. We're waiting for our new chicken run and coop to be complete, so we can enjoy our hens, and new chicks, while they are safe and comfortable. It pays to be patient, I've learned!
As long as I was quiet, Rosie would let me stand by while she was laying.
I was asked about how much time I spend devoted to the chickens, each week.
That's a good question! I think having a proper set up is what makes taking care of a small flock of chickens easy, and minimally time consuming. Things like automatic waterers, and a coop that opens into an enclosed run can add a great deal of convenience and safety for your hens. Clean water, secure living space, fresh food, an interesting space to scratch and dust bathe, and a clean coop make a flock happy and healthy. And a happy, healthy flock can take less time to tend. However!
If you are thinking only of eggs, or if you are looking for a pet to mind it's own business... well, you'll be missing out. Chickens are fun, and engaging, and time in their company rarely feels like a chore.
That is a fresh egg!
Observing hens, sitting with them, following them around the garden... not only are these pleasant and rewarding ways to pass the time, but they can alert you to health issues, and other concerns. Some days are full, and it's enough to feed them, check their water, and toss in some fresh straw, but when time permits, I am very happy to be in their company. Actually, they
follow me when I am in the garden. They know if I am pulling weeds there will be good finds in the loosened soil. And they always appreciate the bugs stirred up when I putter around, or the bits of veggie scraps I share with them.
Gracie Chica, my dear Ameraucana.
She liked to sit in my lap, and have her neck scratched. She would nod off contentedly in my arms.
My Grandmother Eunice with Gracie Chica
All three of our first hens were mild and tame, completely at ease roaming our two acre farm. They always came running when we called them. At the time, with our grandparents living with us, we were a family of seven, and our three hens gave us plenty of eggs through the week. You really can enjoy fresh eggs with a small flock, and it makes it easier to feel connected and familiar with your hens, when there isn't a mob of them!
And last, but not least ~ our lovely Luna Chica. What a dear lady hen she was.
Chickens really are a pleasure to keep. With thoughtful planning, and a few dedicated minutes a day, with some extra time for maintenance, they can be safe and happy hens. Though, no doubt you won't be counting the minutes when you are enjoying their company!