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Meet my girls. Dee, Clementine and Ida:
I am so psyched to have chickens. We have an Ameraucana, a Golden Sex Link and a Rhode Island Red. They currently chirp, poo and sleep in our guest bathroom. I (with the hopeful help of my loving husband so the project takes a few hours instead of a few days) now have to build our coop so they have a place to roam, peck, scratch and lay for the next several years. Andy is less than excited about this new project whilst we are learning to balance our previously busy life with a new kiddo. But I know he’ll come around when he enjoys those amazing eggs laid in our backyard moments before consumption.
I have researched and wanted chickens for years. Missoula’s chicken-lovin’ ordinance passed on bug’s birthday. I used to want a monkey as a kid and am thankful my mom said no way. After my monkey wishes were crushed, I turned to chickens–a legitimate pet that doesn’t need diapers or the jungle; a pet that offers poo like gold, soil tillage, delicious eggs and funny companionship.
Alice cautiously wags her tail at them and looks at me like, Come on mom, how many more creatures are you gonna divide your time among? Olive sits by the door with a twitchy butt. Sam, of course, is excited to have new friends that might pet him.
This morning Andy got up before me and I sleepily asked if he’d check on the chicks. He came back upstairs all serious-like and said babe, we have a problem. Oh no, dead chick, I thought. I sat up. I think we should take them back, he said. They aren’t laying any eggs.
Our small shower stall is the perfect pullet habitat. I ripped down an old oil cloth to size, taped all the way around the perimeter and then bought pine shavings to place on top (I am told not to use cedar as ingestion can be bad for the wee ones. And, I read that I shouldn’t use newspaper as it is too slippery when wet and can cause broken chick legs). The stall is blocked off with a baby gate and I hung the heat lamp overhead from the shower rod. As I drove up with my purchased pine shavings, my neighbor, who was in his front yard, asked me if I had any use for pine shavings. I am not kidding. I literally put the bag o’ shavings back in the trunk, walked across the street and returned with his house project refuse.
My favorite chicken book (and I have looked at them all): Keep Chickens! Tending Small Flocks in Cities, Suburbs, and Other Small Spaces