Even though we weren't quite ready, we got us some chickens. I just couldn't wait and I figured, like anything else, having chickens would make us ready. Three little week-old chicks. The guy at the store said they were all girls. Perfect! After I got them home, however, I read that you can't really "sex" them until they are quite a bit older than a week. Somewhere between birth and 12 weeks… I have more research to do on when I'll know. Or how I'll know: does a boy chicken have a penis?
Let's be honest: I have more research to do on every single aspect of chicken farming. Jen sent me this site today: Down To Earth. Wow: an abundance of down to earth info!!! I've learned so much already and it's not even 10am.
Every time I read new information, I have to go out and fix what I didn't know was broke: move the chicks to the box where it's warm or change the water set up or build a fence or put newspaper under them… In the past two days, I've been out there building or unbuilding at least once an hour. Sometimes for an hour. But so far so good: those three chicks are alive and I've had them 24 hours already. Here's how I spent my day:
So: Lucy, Ethel and Eva have joined our family. Since I mistook Zsa Zsa for Eva, naming one of our new chicks Eva is my way of making it up to her. I wonder if she would appreciate this. And, yes, I can tell them apart. I think.
Chickens are sure funny birds. They aren't smart like we think of smart (hence the moniker "bird brain.") But they do three things very efficiently: eat, poop and chat. I like efficiency. They sorta track to me when I talk and, if I've been talking to them for a few minutes, they don't run away completely terrified when I go to pick them up. Pretty cool.
Everyone should have chickens. Pretty much everyone can have chickens, even in Key West. I looked up the code:
Sec. 10-11. Keeping fowl or wildlife.
The city shall not accept or be responsible for the keeping of any nondomesticated fowl or wildlife. Live poultry may be kept by any person in the city, provided that such poultry is kept in accordance with the following conditions:
(1) All live poultry shall be kept in screened coops or pens which are maintained in a sanitary condition free from odors and free from fly breeding.
(2) All food used for poultry shall be kept in a suitable container with a tightfitting cover so as to be inaccessible to rats.
(3) All poultry droppings shall be removed from the coops or pens at least every 24 hours, tightly wrapped, and disposed of as provided by sections of this Code regarding disposal of solid waste. Droppings shall not be used for fertilizer.*
(Code 1986, § 53.17 found here, search "chicken")
I'm thinking chicken revolution here. At least it sounds peaceful! Speaking of sounds, you don't need a rooster for eggs, only for more chicks. I heard enough 3am crowing in Key West to last a lifetime. Maybe if I could find a 5am rooster, who only crowed once, I'd consider it…
*Ginnee and everyone else says chicken poop makes great fertilizer but you have to compost it. Alone, it's too "hot" and will damage the plants. A compost heap is on the list!