Those of you with kids probably went through something like I did when you were expecting your first baby. Remember how everyone had advice and opinions about what kind of diapers, or pacifiers, or baths, to use? Remember the strong opinions of well meaning aunties about nursing vs. bottle feeding, or vaccines? And god forbid we get into sleeping habits, or discipline! Do you remember the first time you walked in to a Babies-R-Us? Personally, I wandered around overwhelmed, and stunned, by the vastness of it all, and finally fled without having bought a thing.
And do you remember, how, once the baby came, there were some hiccups along the way, and a learning curve, but eventually it mostly worked out. And how all that advice was kind of helpful, but also, that you figured out what worked best for you. And that it turns out a lot of different choices work for different people. And that your kids have somehow grown up to be pretty spectacular, whatever diapers you used, or mistakes you made.
That’s what it’s like with chickens. I wanted chickens for twenty years, and was afraid I didn’t know enough about them to do it. I will forever be grateful to Lisa Steele for sharing her experiences at Fresh Eggs Daily, which is what gave me the confidence to try. There are a lot of different ways to raise chickens. But it’s not as complicated as it seems. And you have to figure out what works for you. Want to keep the little ones inside to cuddle and stay warm and get tame? Great! Want to raise them in a grow out pen or a barn? Sure! Want to have your hen be mama? That works too! Medicated, vaccinated, fed only organic – all reasonable choices. Three hens in your urban backyard, or too many to count, with roosters, on rolling green acres, are both perfectly reasonable. Heritage breed show chicks, hatchery eggs for incubating, a handful of fuzzy yellow babies from the feed store bin – will all be lovely, spectacular, chickens.
So I’m not going to tell you what you ought to do, just what works for me. It doesn’t all work out perfectly. My kids have learned the phrase “farm strong”, because sometimes chickens die. But we have also each held a small chick to our chest until the chirping stopped and it fell fast asleep against us, warm and soft. We have had the magical joy of a first egg. We have laughed at their dinosaur run, and learned their personalities, and hunted for precious eggs hidden in the straw. My hope is that I will give someone else the confidence to give it a try. If you have questions, I’m happy to answer them. But also, you will figure out what works for you, and it will be fine. You can do this! ❤️
Stay tuned for the first steps of getting set up for baby chicks…
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