it was a great weekend

I’m a planner.

A thinker.

One who likes to prepare.

Last year I began watching a couple close friends as they began raising chickens. So much about raising chickens appealed to me, but we have just never been in a place (mentally, emotionally, with margin) to make that happen. So I watched my friends to see how it worked for them. After a year of watching, I knew chickens would be a part of life around here.

So, I began a few months ago reading up. A few books. A few magazines. A few websites. YouTube videos. Keeping it mostly between Chris and I until we decided it was time to make the jump. I did not need 3 boys and one girl asking every day when we’d be getting chickens.

Well, this weekend that time came. I actually had planned on surprising my soon to be 7 year old with the chickens for his birthday next month. A call to the Feed Store about that timeline resulted in an impromptu drive later that afternoon to pick up our little chicks. Evidently it is a little hard to get chicks after Easter. So strange to me.

We started July last year a family of 6 with no pets. In the last 9 months, we’ve grown to be a family of 7 with 7 animals. Life is good.

Touching, holding was very limited at first…so they took a lot of photos. Touching and holding is still limited.

This is quite possibly the happiest boy around. He originally wanted a yellow chick and had planned to name it Sunshine. Then he saw this little chick and all his plans changed. He took his time thinking of the perfect name…meet Camo.

This one is our oldest son’s chick. He named her Omelette.Β  He’s 9 and eggs are among his favorite food. So it is kind of a name of honor:)

This is FireCracker’s chick. She named it Kira. Then changed it to Leia. Then changed it to Lyla. Then Maya. Then back to Leia. Today it is Leia. Who knows what her name will be tomorrow.

My chick is the one on the left. She was the first to fly a good distance, so I named her Amelia, after Amelia Earhart. The red one is Little One’s…Chris named her Red. Then he changed the name to Reba (red like Reba McIntire). The kids nixed that and said her name has to stay Red. It is so funny to watch the pecking order already playing out. Red and Amelia are battling it out for the lead right now.

The chicks are pretty much always in the brooding box. We’ve let them out a few times to let the kids watch them. Crisscross applesauce, little hands on laps while chicks roam on the floor. The older boys get poop patrol.

All the girls: Leia, Spikey, Omelette, Camo, Amelia, Red

Little One is not sure what to think about the little chirping things!

The garden and coop will keep us busy outside for a while..Little One makes a good supervisor.

So we have joined the growing numbers of those raising backyard chickens. What was common for most families a century ago, is now making a comeback. Everyone has a different reason for why they choose to keep chickens. Our family had numerous reasons to begin this journey and we are pretty excited about all that will become part of our lives now that we will have 6 hens poking around here!

Happy Monday!

UPDATE: the visor is from Twirling Betty

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  • Nicole - “He’s 9 and eggs are among his favorite food.” I misread this and thought you were saying you feed the chicks eggs! :)

  • Savanah - What a wonderful journey! I’ve wanted to raise chickens for a while now, too, but it’s unfortunately not feasible for us right now. Thankfully I have your blog to live vicariously through :)

  • Jo - This looks like so much fun! My friends at JM Hatchery hatch chicks every week of the year and they ship them out. You might want to check into them next time? They get rave reviews.

  • emmybrown - so wonderful! I look forward to hearing more about your chicks and learning from your experience. We’d love to someday join the ranks of backyard chicken owners….maybe we’ll get inspiration from you!

  • Lisa@FirefliFlickers - You are going to love raising chickens! We have six new babies this year….making the total 22 now… The kids love taking care of them and the chickens come running up to them ( hoping for a treat! They love pieces of fruit most) and will follow them around. Great pets! We have a “Red” too, but call her “Little Red” after the little red hen. :) I just discovered this weekend that our feedstore will buy back eggs to resell- we always have extras even with a family of eight. So with the credit back we put that towards their food. What other pet helps pay for their food!?! Haha! Have fun with your baby chicks!

  • Becky - You’re gonna love it! We love our “girls”. Ours were handled so much though they are definitely pets. They follow us around and one loves to ride on my daughters shoulder! When I’m outside building/creating things for our VBS they are right in the middle of everything. Yup, that means they’ve gotten paint on themselves and there have been chicken prints on things! From reading your blog for awhile now, I can see that your new “girls” will fit right in with your family…as soon as you teach Poppy to leave them alone!

  • kimberly oyler - oh my gosh, ashley. you didn’t just get a chicken or two, you got a bunch of chickens. brave mama you are.

  • Jen W - We’ve been thinking of chickens too! I’ll be very interested to see how your journey progresses. :) How much land do you have? Your pics seem as if you have a very large area…maybe a couple acres. But I think I’ve read statements from you that makes it seem as if you have just a normal backyard. Just wondering how much you’re working with to make the garden, chickens, and play space work.

    We’re starting a small garden for the first time this spring too. Though spring is a much different time for us in Indiana! LOL! We’re just starting to think about bed prep…It’s literally still freezing here.

  • Amy J - I am so excited for you. We got our first chickens two years ago and it has been an awesome experience for our family. It was one of the gateway events that started our family thinking of moving out of the city and to the country. This spring we are now at our space in the country and we are excited to have more little chicks on the way this spring to add to the flock. Have fun.

  • Jenevieve - Beautiful photos! We moved into a home 5 months ago that already has a chicken coop outside in the side yard, and I have to admit we have been tempted to get a chicken or two. The thought of caring for chickens is intimidating to me, so we haven’t taken the plunge yet…maybe we’ll get there. I’m sure it helps to have you kids enthusiastic about it as well :)

  • Amanda Joy - Ah yay you will love it! One of our favorite things at this age was to buy a bag of crickets and watch those chicks go WILD for them. Highly recommended!

  • Natalie @ TheShadyAcre - Yea for yard birds! Our oldest hen will turn seven this year, and we’ve had so much fun with them. We got three new ones last spring, and they all love my two-year-old–even though he is constantly hugging them! One of ours is also named Amelia, and she is quite the flier.

    I know y’all will have fun with them, and I look forward to seeing them on the blog! :)

  • Abigail C - Ahh! I’m so excited and jealous! I had chickens when I was a kid and *loved* it. I would love to have them again. They are so much fun. Don’t let them eat too many onions or your eggs will come onion flavored! (Ok for Omelettes, not as ideal for cakes…)

  • Necole @seriouslysassymama - My parents neighbors have chickens, and so does my husbands dad. Free yummy eggs for us. My parents neighbor actually started raising chickens as a form of therapy. She has MS. The town we live in has a three acre rule. You have to have 3 or more acres before you can have chicken, cows, pigs, etc. So even though our back yard is huge, no chickens for us. My sweet husband was crushed.

  • angie - Can’t wait to see your chicken coop. I’m sure it’ll be awesome and crafty, colorful and cute! I got mine last year and can’t wait to fix it up and decorate it this year. We have 4 hens and they have been so much fun to raise and watch. Watermelon, honeydew and cantaloupe has been amongst the favorites they love to eat.. as well as bread!

  • mandi@herbanhomestead - Woo-hoo! So excited! Chickens are crazy easy to keep, and so fun to have around. We are on year 6 with backyard chickens. I can’t even believe that! But it never gets old. And I just can’t imagine our lives without the girls clucking around. We bought 12 last spring and are down to 5. We are looking into getting meat birds now. A whole new world of chicken keeping!

  • Danielle - Beautiful pictures! I wanted chickens to take care of a grasshopper problem we have but I think we leave too much for them. Oh well, still so cute!

  • Nicole - This post is hilarious. I absolutely love the names the kids came up with. We’ve been discussing chickens for YEARS and are finally able to legally keep four females (“city” living!)…time to build a coop and get ready for next year, I think!

  • Dana Hay - Ashley, I want a print of that chick “reading” the library books!! That is the cutest picture ever!

  • heidi - start giving them dried cranberries as treats. they will LOVE you forever and ever.

  • Annie Page - I’m officially jealous. I have wanted chickens for years, I’m trying to find ways to finagle a small coop and a couple of girls in my yard that will go unnoticed by the groundskeeper of the golf course. I LOVE seeing your newest additions, best of luck as they grow!

  • Susan - Ashley,
    I am so envious! We looked at chicks at Tractor Supply the other day, but left empty handed.
    Be sure and watch Poppy with the chicks. We had a tragedy at the hands of our beloved cat when we had chicks when our kids were small. Sick feeling to find 6 little chicks laid out at the paws of a cat.
    I hope you have a wonderful time with your flock of kids and chicks. Nothing better!
    Susan

  • Martina - My husband has been asking for chickens for a while now and I’m finally warming up to the idea. Sounds like we might be too late to take the plunge this year. I can’t wait to follow along with your chicken adventures!

  • Cassi - Oh how I wish we could move so we could have chicken. Have fun with this new adventure

  • Rachel @ Personality Crafts - Love this! We just bought our first house in San Diego and the law recently changed to allow chickens within city limits. Will be following your progress because I am so interested! Have you read the blog Farmhouse 38? She lives in L.A. and has backyard chickens… hilarious! Good luck!

  • Shanalea - So funny to watch someone else do this. Your set up is exactly what ours was. They were in a box with the heat lamp for several weeks. Now, thankfully, they are outside in a dog run turned chicken coop. We too use to have 1 animal this time last year. Now we have 1 dog, 1 cat, 2 turtles, and 6 chickens. The chickens are funny though. I go out there to the coop to check on them and when I call to them they come running. Adam will go in there and they perch on him. They are curious and each unique in their personalities. My oldest decided to boycott chicken for awhile until one dinner it was going to be rice only. He decided he could eat chicken then.

  • heather - YAY! We’ve had chickens for about 5 years now and love it. There’s nothing like fresh eggs from your own little chicks.

  • Gina - I have been trying to talk my husband into making a chicken coop for about a year so hopefully I make some progress soon. You took some adorable shots!!j

  • Julie - So exciting! And I can’t wait to read more about your chickens. We’ve been thinking and talking about getting some, but haven’t quite yet.

  • Marsha in OK - Love the photos, especially Amelia checking out the books, but I want to know who made Little One’s visor!!! I think I need some of those!

  • Vanessa - I haven’t been here in a while and caught my breath when I saw that the tiny one had had her surgery! Congrats for making it through surgery. I am sure it was a complete mix of emotions for you, mama.

  • Megan H. - We love our chickens! So fun! This summer I have some exotic breeds coming…the boys think that their Mohawks of feathers are hilarious. Good luck with your adventure!

  • Tara - How Fun! I love the idea of raising chickens, but I’m just not sure about the maintenance…I’m not even sure if our city would allow it :) I have daughters Lilah and Amelia…so I am a bit partial to your chickens names ;) I would love to know where you got that adorable headband visor???? Beautiful photos as usual!

  • Katherine Bach - Your daughter has great taste in names… Every one of those were on my baby name list when we found out we were having a girl. :) you make me want to raise chicks!

  • Rebecca - I love your story of your chicks. We are not in a position to have them now, but someday! On another note. Did you make little ones bonnet visor? If so, did you follow a pattern? and if so can you share that pattern?

    thanks!

  • Crystal - Chickens sound perfect for your family! My family hatches & ships all kinds of birds, year-round. My husband & I hatch silkie chicks. I’m happy for your family. I’m sure you will learn alot. Thanks for sharing on your wonderful blog! Your blog is my very favorite. My husband & I are on the same journey of adoption your family was 1 year ago. 10 days ago we were matched with a wonderful Chinese boy with a crook in his lip! Your blog has been a huge encouragement to me in our journey.

  • Brandi - This is so sweet, we went through the same thing last year when we got ours. We love our girls! It’s been such a great experience for our kids & family!

  • Debbie C - Oh, they are so cute! Darn, harsh winter weather + condo living = no chicks for us right now. I am excited to watch them grow through your blog. :)

  • Brandi - Well, I tried for the first time to link in my blog on my last post, as I’ve documented our chickens there, but I failed. Here’s another go, even though you seem thoroughly prepared! Best of luck!

  • Bopha - Cutest chick pics ever!

  • Liz - Hahaha! I laughed out loud to see the pics of Little One with the w i d e brimmed sun hat. They are a favorite accessory of my 67-year-old mother (also Chinese). Keeps her skin nice and pale, she says, so she doesn’t look like a peasant. Yes, peasant.

  • Jack - Your comment about Firecracker changing the chick’s name made me laugh – my little one does exactly the same thing with names!

  • kelleyn - You are brave! I don’t know if I would do chicks with such a little one, but would love to do them if our neighborhood would allow it. I love little ones bonnet? Did you make it or buy it and if you bought it-where?

  • Lex - Our village won’t allow us to keep chickens and I HATE it. I started doing all the studying last spring, and then found out chickens are illegal in our county. So lame.

  • Amanda B - FUN! My husband has been dying to get some chickens… I have been against it the last three summers… we’ve brought a baby home the last 3 Junes in a row and I felt swamped, and couldn’t bear the thought of taking care of one more living thing! But this year, I’m all for it, and am so excited for us to jump in too. I’ve scoured our library too for books on the topic – enjoy those chicks. :)

  • tracy a - Hooray for chickens! I would love to have some, but we can’t agree…so I wait (for now). Nothing like having fresh eggs for breakfast! Do you have any coop plans? (I’m sure you do). Can’t wait to see it.

  • Amy cornwell - I love the pictures! I think it would be so cool to have chickens – someday. They are all so cute!

  • Melinda D. - We are official farmers and currently have 300 layers. Let me warn you, chickens are addicting! We started out with 3 five years ago and you can see where it has taken us :-) A little tip: If your birds will be in a coop all the time (ours are free ranging) keep deep bedding in there and feed them lots of grass and weed clippings- it makes for healthier eggs with orange yolks. The deep bedding makes great compost for your garden, in addition to keeping your chickens healthier. Have fun! Chickens are a fantastic stress reliever!

  • Susannah - What adorable little chicks! My hubby and I want some someday, when we have our own place. :-)

  • Jess - Oh, YAY! I so love that you’re diving into this. Chickens have been a wonderful addition to our family for the past 4 years. Wouldn’t have it any other way! :)

  • Heidi Jo the Artist - Love chickens! We plan on getting some ourselves this summer. :) I thought you might enjoy this artist, she’s a fav of mine: https://www.etsy.com/shop/chicksinhats

  • angie - i can not even begin to describe how happy that made me to read your post! We, too, have considered raising chicks for a couple of years. I am so type A that i feel i can not pull the trigger until i know all i possible can. with limited time, i obviously haven’t been able to educate myself enough and thus no chickens to date! i’m hoping your experience and insight will help build my knowledge base and motivate me to get dem chicks! Also, could you recommend one book over another as far as best info/easily understood?

  • Stephanie - We are getting ours in a few months when MN has spring. I love Little One’s hat. Where did you find that?

  • Kate @ Songs Kate Sang - I love how thoughtful you are. Learning, absorbing…. you are an inspiration to me.

  • Sadee Schilling - As if your blog posts weren’t already adorable enough, Ashley, you have to go and add in some baby chicks??!! Sooo cute! My best friend in Colorado raises chickens in her backyard. We are moving back there at the end of the year and my little girls are already begging me to have chickens too! So it will be fun to watch how your family gets along with this adventure.

  • Marty Ann - You and your family will love having the chickens. I’ve been around them most of all my life. I’m now without any but I’m really thinking I “need” 6 or so this spring. They are great for kids. I had one that every time I went into the chicken house to get eggs she would come in with me and jump on the roost and talk and talk to me while gathered the eggs. I think she just wanted some food from me lol.

  • mikan - I remember that I used to tell everybody that “hens are the best pet ever!”. We had 3 and they were so free. They walked around and pooped around my neighborhood (feel bad about that! ) and every time I called them they dashed back to me. They so loved to be pet on the head. I learned that they don’t just pop out an egg. They groan and take 30mins to lay an egg. I actually wanted to cry when I first watched the whole process!

  • Anna Joy - Yay! We are chicken buddies! :) We’re only getting 2, maybe 3. And we’re skipping the little chick part and moving onto pullets. Want them still baby-ish but want eggs faster. What breeds are yours?

  • Lacey - Aw, we love our ‘girls’ too … and just are now seeing that one is a boy! My kids carry them around like footballs and the chickens act like little dogs going everywhere my boys do! Haha!

  • Ellie - Such cute chickens! The visor is so cute where did you get it?

  • Anna - The little ones diaper is pecking through! cutie clementine! Such cute visor! where is it from?

  • Shannon - We too, got chicks (4) last July. Totally a new adventure for us. We sometimes let them roam around the yard, but I’m quickly learning that they leave way too many droppings for my liking. Build a “poop board” under your roost for sure. Makes clean up way easier in their house. That’s one thing I’m super glad we did. If I’d known how much they poo, I’m not sure we’d have done it but the kids like it. Getting the eggs is fun too. Have fun!

  • AshleyAnn - Hey all…that visor is from Twirling Betty http://www.etsy.com/shop/twirlingbetty

  • Krista - How exciting!! what breeds did you guys get? I’m new to chickens as well, and I just brought home my first 5 little fluff balls. It’s so fun to be part of the growing group of backyard chicken-keepers!

  • Anna - Can I just say that whenever I see Little Ones face…it makes me so excited for my little boy with his cleft lip to be born. She is just perfection x x I LOVE her beautiful face x

  • Stoich91 - Haha my fave is Firecracker’s chicken…that thing is like…”Whoah…what’s going to happen next.” lol ;D

  • Jacci in Ohio - Oh, man. The cuteness. For realz.

    And how funny is Firecracker changing her chick’s name. My girls have all named & renamed baby dolls on an almost hoursly basis at her age. Makes sense that chicks would be the same! :D

    Love LO in that visor. It’s perfect for her!!!

  • Favorite Finds... « Jen Loves Kev - [...] Why do baby chicks just make everything better? So freaking [...]

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