29 July 2011

backyard chickens

Ameraucana chicks found here

Need I say more?

In my last post I mentioned wanting to someday get some backyard chickens to get closer to my self-sufficiency goal.  A few of our neighbors have them and I hear a lot about how they actually make great pets as well.  Now if only I could persuade the dog.

Last year I was convinced that he would tolerate a backyard hen, but I thought maybe I should test this hypothesis before purchasing any livestock.  I went to a local farm market, and asked if I could "borrow" one of their chickens for a couple of hours.  She gave me a puzzled look and took a $10 deposit in exchange for a chicken in a potato box.  I carted this chicken home with me and set her down in the backyard.  I gave Billie-Ray (aka Siris) some time to take in this new critter, and he had a good look through the window checking out this strange scene.

Maybe that was the first problem; allowing him to prepare for attack mode for a good few minutes like a bull in bucking chute.  He didn't bark or drool or anything, so we figured it would be okay to let him outside on a leash to see his reaction to Henny Penny.  At first I held him very close and he seemed to be somewhat calm.  But then the hen starting clucking and moving about bobbing her head.  This got Siris excited. His tail starting going like a helicopter; he couldn't contain himself any longer.  All of a sudden he bolted so fast that I didn't even have time to get a proper hold on the leash.  He chased the hen around the yard in circles for a good minute or so, with us furiously on his heels trying to keep up and get ahold of him.  Eventually I had to stop because I was laughing so hard. The neighbors must have thought we were insane.   Thanks goodness the poor chicken found a hole in the fence and escaped just in time. 

Needless to say, Billie Ray and Henny Penny were not a good match.  I put her in the box, drove her right on back to the farm and got my $10 deposit back.  So we will have to wait a few more years to get some backyard chickens!  I've also thought about getting a couple of chicks to see if it would make any difference to his chasing instinct.  Maybe if he got used to them from such a tiny size, they wouldn't bother him as much?

I'd like to get two Ameraucana hens.

Photos here
They are so neat looking with their colorings and fluffy beards.  Not to mention their beautiful blue eggs.

Photo here

There are over a hundred breeds of chickens, and there is so much information online about each of them it's a bit overwhelming.  These ones are neat too, they're called "Silkies"

Each breed has different temperaments, egg production, brooding habits, and personalities.  Ideally I'd like a breed that is easily handled, quiet, friendly, docile, and with medium egg production.  Both the Ameraucana and Silkie meet all of these traits.  Maybe one of each?!

And there's some really neat coop design ideas out there too. 

Photo: Design Milk

Photo: Dwell

Photo: Nogg

OK this one's not pretty but it's funny nonetheless.

Photo here

This is why my next dog will be a Newfie:

Photo here


  1. Yes, yes, yes! Wouldnt self sufficiency be devine! Have you been on this blog- http://400squareftliving.blogspot.com/ it is awesome- she is just like us!

  2. totally been a regular lurker over there for some time now! i have been learning a lot about her chickens too. very interesting!



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