Backyard Chickens

“The Easter Basket”

The Nuggets get their own page. Stella, Bertha, Little Bit, and Miss Purdy.

Stella. First she was Pecker Head because of her habit of tapping on the nursery box all night. Then she was Stella because it just sounds nicer. For a while she was Stanley because her comb and waddle were getting so big. Now she is back to Stella because there are 4 eggs from four birds every day.

We put Jason in charge of Easter baskets in 2011. What he got for me was a small box of black fuzz that went “peep, peep”. How fun is Jason? They grew up watching movies in his room until they were too big for their box. We moved them to the garden under a portable wire tractor that I use to keep the puppies from digging in the toy box (Square Foot Gardens).

Bertha and my tomato sprouts. April 28, 2011

The girls kept growing with my garden. Soon after they started getting bigger I made a decision to stop making 4×4 SFG and switch to 4×8. Ray made a chicken tractor that fits over a 4×8 garden which allows the nuggets to play in a garden box. I get a clean and fertilized box. All around good! It was soon evident that the nuggets would need their own permanent home. The guys thought they would save some money by building their own. Yah, right. It cost nearly $2,000 to build the Easter Basket (the hen-house) and a small yard were they are safe from raccoons, cats and rats. Recently Ray added a covered area to the run. Rain can turn their run into a pig wallow. As soon as we have a few extra dollars he will cover more of the run.

What does it cost for home-grown eggs in the suburbs? Seems like it is a lot. There is feed, equipment, housing, tractors and time spent keeping the girls happy.  I really enjoy my nuggets but it is not a job for the half-hearted. It is a commitment to a living breathing animal who may prefer a country home if she doesn’t get the attention she needs to be content. I know chickens can live in battery cages but even in my small garden home I hope to give these four a better life than caged birds. After all, look at the amazing eggs they give me!

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One response to “Backyard Chickens

  1. March 4, 2012; Two full boxes of eggs so far from the four nuggets. Each day I find 2 to 4 in the basket.

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