Ever since Shaun and I first talked about the idea of a farm, I have wanted chickens. I dreamed of getting fresh eggs in the morning before breakfast and eating delicious meat that I know was raised on a healthy diet. I still have yet to experience the egg fantasy with my own chickens, although I’m told “it could be any day now.”
We purchased our chickens from a family that had raised them and could no longer care for them and needed to down-size their flock. The ad was posted on craigslist and we got a deal because we were willing to take them all despite the mix of roosters and unknown gender of the chicks. In my chicken research I had always read good feedback regarding bantams and thought this would be a great starter-flock for us newbies.
There were 11 of them in total. Of the 5 older birds (approximately 6 months old), 3 were roosters. 2 of the roosters were shiny black, but easy to tell apart due to the size difference (referred to as the big one and the little one) and 1 was a striking red color. I promise the color matters later in the story and we like to refer to them this way vs. naming them.
During the transition time we had kept them inside the chicken tractor to get them acquainted with their new home and restricted them from free-ranging, however we did move them to fresh pasture everyday. So fast forward to two weeks later, things were going great we had successfully integrated the chicks in with the older birds and everyone was getting along. At their previous owners, the chickens had been allowed to free-range at will over their property. We decided it was time to give them a chance to roam about outside the protection of the tractor. At the time my greatest fear was them getting swooped up by a chicken hawk, not being able to get them back to the coop once they were out, or worse yet being attacked by the neighbors’ dogs. Little did I know that it would be what I least expected and none of the above.
So the chickens were out…mostly roaming in the tall hay grass of the field or occasionaly looking for shade in the wood line, things seemed to be going well. I quietly sipped my coffee on the front porch (one of my favorite spots) which gave me a good vantage point on how things were going. Part of me kept worrying they were going to fly away, just as I was starting to get attached. Morning rolled into early afternoon….and then it happend.