I said they were coming! Didn’t I say they were coming?! The birds have arrived! We got our first chickens! My Spring Break started at about 4 PM on March 6th and I had an appointment with ChickenvilleUSA in Terrell, TX the next morning at 9:30. TexasPrepper2 vlogged his experience as a customer there and after watching it, I knew that’s where we needed to start our journey. Check out his experience here!
Picture it: Northeast Texas. 7 AM, because we had traveling to do. I’ve got the dog crate in the back of the Jeep, coffee in our travel mugs and we head out towards Terrell. We arrived at a residence and drive all the way back and meet Cheryl and Mike. Mike inquires about the ages, breeds, and intentions I have. I told him that we were brand-new and would take all the advice! I’m really just in this for pets, and I’d like some pretty eggs. I’d already done research and luckily they had what I wanted.
I should pause for a moment and explain why I didn’t bring home every single chicken there. Enter my mom. Momma knew that I would get chickens and Momma also enjoys this store called Ollie’s. She surprised me one day with a beautiful Summerhawk Ranch chicken coop that retails for way more than she paid. I set it up the day…two days before I went back to work in August. I say two days because I started setting it up after having a LOVELY afternoon at the winery and what could wrong? (A lot. A lot could go wrong. Don’t drink and build.) So the next day I fixed it all! This coop included a run and you want about 8-10 sq. feet of run for each chicken. Mine was 24 sq. feet so I could really only get away with 3 chickens…for now!
Back to Chickenville: I knew that I wanted a blueish egg, and so I got an Ameraucana. Mike said she would lay probably a light green egg, so I guess we’ll find out! I had to get a French Black Copper Maran because their eggs have been described as buttery and they have a deep dark copper shell. And then, for no logical reason because they yield small eggs, I really wanted a Silkie! When I was young, my aunt would take me to their stables and we saw these adorable chickens and just referred to them as Teddy Bear chickens. I went my WHOLE LIFE sounding stupid and calling them that until I learned the appropriate term. Silkie. Also, because I was just starting out, I really didn’t want chicks. I’m not sure if this was the right call on my part, but it is what it is. My best friend hatches chicks with her 1st grade class every year, and because we taught in the same building I would always go down and play with the chicks because it’s an animal and I can’t NOT.
The first pen Mike walked us to was the Silkie pen. I knew from my researching that Silkies are difficult to ‘sex,’ or determine the gender of, until they’re older. Because these were slightly older, he had a guess that there weren’t many, if any hens. But I had to. I went into the stall and picked out a beautiful buff colored silkie with bright blue earlobes. Into the dog crate he went and together we went to the Marans. I didn’t pick this one out, Mike just used his net and went for one. In she went. And we tally forth’ed to another barn. We went inside and I was blown away by the number and how clean it was. The Ameraucanas were running around with another few breeds but he told us to pick one with green legs as opposed to those with yellow legs. (Since I’m no chicken expert, I’ve heard mixed statements about the leg colors and it sounds like she’s either an Ameraucana or an Easter Egger.) As I had the first time, I asked g if he had any preference. He did not. So I found one and Mike caught her for me. I turn around cuddling a hen and G is there on the ground trying to coax a hen to him. I whispered to Mike, “I’m so sorry, but I think we’ll take that one instead.” He was such a gem about it! He caught her and gave it to G who held her like he was holding a newborn. ‘Didn’t care’ my foot. We paid (cash only!) and headed out. This is where I disclaim it: everyone knew the name trend I had for these ladies. Can you guess it? I’ve dropped a couple of hints so far…The Golden Girls! I love this show! I was going to have Blanche, Dorothy, and Rose. Well Blanche is actually Stan now, Dorothy’s ex husband with an awful toupee. My Maran is Dorothy, and G refuses to call Rose anything but Susan. Just to annoy me. Good thing I love him. Moving on…
The first little while was just getting them acclimated and learning their personalities. Dorothy is all about the food and is the first one there when treats are given, but Rose is the head hen. Stan is the worst rooster in the history of ever. He doesn’t crow, doesn’t eat treats, doesn’t understand how the mysterious ramp works to allow you to go in the coop, despite Rose coming back down and saying, ‘like THIS Moron!’ But I love him. He gets to come inside and hang out with me while wearing his chicken diaper. Yes, a chicken DIAPER.
With COVID rearing it’s head, I haven’t had to go back to school/work yet and leave them so it’s left a lot of bonding time. We introduced free-ranging with them and they enjoy their field trips but they choose to not stay out long. Rollins the kitten has taken it upon herself to check out their run and coop and doesn’t give a lick about the fact that there are chickens two inches from her. No complaints here! We’re still learning each other, and enjoying every second of our avian friends.