Thursday, May 5, 2016

From Big to Bantam

At our old house we had a a huge chicken house and six very large hens. As moving day grew closer, it became clear that there was no way to move the chicken house, plus C and G were not enjoying the hens that much because the chickens were so huge. The girls were too little to be able to pick them up, and when they did, they often got scratches,

I'd been thinking for a while to go to an all-bantam flock that the kids could enjoy and maybe do 4-H when C hits fourth grade in the fall., I was active in 4-H all the way through elementary, middle and high school and had a blast. I was even the Tennessee state horse judging champion. Woohoo!

But I digress.... I decided that our move to a new, much smaller house would make for the right time to acquire more kid-sized chickens - bantams. As for the large-breed hens we already had, my friend Glenn, who has a farm was more than happy to add six laying hens to his large breed block. So that worked out well.

After we had been in the our new house for about a month, we picked out a new chicken coop. My dream coop (SOMEDAY!)  is the Omlet Eglu with the walk in run. Unfortunately, I do not have 2k to drop on a new chicken coop, so we went with this one.

It's a very handy coop because we can move it to different patches of grass tp keep thinjs clean, plus the chickens can scratch and peck at fresh grass and worms each time we move it to a new spot in the yard.. My very large coop at the old house had an actual floor on it which was a MONSTER to keep clean. I don't think I'll ever have a floored coop again (unless it's the Eglu, which can be totally hosed down). The other good thing about this new coop is that you  can easily  expand the pen to make it bigger, which we plan to do. We also allow our hens to free range in our fully fenced yard when I am able to watch them. The coop element of my new coop-and-pen set up may look small but it offers plenty of room for my small flock of Silkies to roost and lay eggs (which none of them have done yet). 

Now it was time for us to start our new, all-bantam flock for our new, bantam-sized house, coop and yard. There was really little question in my mind that I wanted us to have Silkies. In my opinion, there's no better breed of chicken for children because Silkies are so calm and gentle. I also love the highly distinctive, furry look of Silkies. They're also impossibly muppet-like; they don't even look like they're real creatures.  For these reasons and more, I decided on Silkies for my new flock. 

Our local chicken-keeping ordinance allows up to six hens once you jump thru all the hoops and pay the not-insignificant fees to get your chicken license,all of which I have done. So we now have six Silkies - two of which are still very young chicks. I have one white bowtie pullet (Princess), two buff pullets (Buffy and Butterscotch), one partridge pullet (Brownie), one black chick (Luna) and one partridge chick (Tubby). I'd absolutely love to be able to have a larger flock, including my own rooster, but alas, our municipal overlords wouldn't go for that. 

Here are Princess and Brownie, hanging out on top of their coop. 

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