It dawned on me recently that I never shared a more detailed post about my chickens. I started out with a goal of bringing home four hens. In January, I placed an order with a hatchery for four pullets to be picked up in May. Just for clarity, pullets are young hens that are not laying eggs yet. I was happy with my choice because I’d be able to raise them from 12 weeks on, and could treat them more like pets and carry them around and such.
However, about a month after placing my order, a women posted a beautiful Rhode Island Red hen that needed to be rehomed on a Facebook page I follow. I quickly text my husband and told him I wanted to bring this chicken home and it would be a great opportunity to “practice” on a grown hen before bringing the pullets home. He was on board and so the next day we went and picked her up.
The following Monday, I introduced my students to her, and they held a naming contest. Each student introduced a name, explained why the new chicken should have that name, and then they voted. The winning name was Lucy, and so Lucy became my little red hen!
Lucy started laying eggs the very next day. It was one of the happiest moments of my life so far. Her longest egg streak has been 8 days. She LOVES mealworms and will jump up into my lap for pets and snacks. She is my favorite hen.
Lucy lived here in singular chicken peace for about 4 weeks before I took a trip to the local feed mill with my mom and aunt. We were just there to look around and pick up some gardening and chicken supplies. While there, my mom asked if they had any chickens for sale. Being March, of course they did. The employee took us to see the hens. There was about 20 of them, all about 4 months old. My mom immediately turns to me and says you’re buying a chicken. Of course, I said okay, but were getting two!
The purchasing of more chickens that want is needed is what chicken people call “chicken math.” I was only two months into my chicken journey and I had already become victim to the chicken math! So we drive home with a box in my lap filled with two young hens. These two ladies would soon become known as Beulah and Ethel.
My mom picked the name Beulah. We call her Big Beulah because she’s about a ten pound Jersey Giant. My aunt picked the name Ethel. Ethel is a little lady. She is a very high strung Barnevelder.
Beulah and Ethel are like sister and are always together. Lucy is the boss lady. They all live together happily. Snacks are life and worms are delicious! They love to scratch in the grass and garden beds. They all follow me around the yard, especially if I have the bag of mealworms.
Now we jump forward to the morning of April 8, 2021. I was online and saw a post about a hen that was found in a city park all alone. There was no way I was going to let a chicken be left alone in a park. So I went to the park armed with a crate, a sheet tray, and my cell phone. I use the picture online to pin point where the chicken was. I quickly found her and saw that she had been living under a tree. She seemed relaxed, so I slowly approached her and tried to move her into the box.
I quickly found that this was not going to be easy. I discovered why Rocky’s last test was catching a chicken, because this wasn’t quick or simple. She bolted and started sprinting. I ran after her. I then spent the next 20 minutes running through the park after a very scared chicken. At one point she hit a straight away and so I hit a full sprint. I am in no way a runner, so I was taking this pretty seriously. There was no way I was going to give up after running around for so log. I came across a large stick that had fallen from a tree. So then stuck my phone in my bra and had the crate in one hand and the stick in the other. I finally backed her into a corner. I swiftly pushed her next to the box and then plopped the crate down on top of her.
The only thing I had in the car to use as a lid was a sheet tray. My aunt was in the car with me at the time, and I called her to bring me the sheet tray. So I stayed with the chicken in the box while my aunt walked over with the tray. I used the tray as a lid and carried the box with the chicken back to the car. I was driving, so my aunt had to ride home with the chicken in her lap. My aunt is VERY afraid of birds, so this was beyond funny.
I moved the chicken into a temporary coop in my basement for a two week quarantine and while I waited to see if anyone claimed her. She was posted online, but no one claimed her. I believe she was dumped in the park by someone.
She is still on a quarantine, but she is doing great! She lays massive, chocolate brown eggs almost daily. She will eat out of my hand and likes pets. She will be moved to the main coop this coming Thursday. My husband and decided to call her Opal.
So in the end, I did end up with four hens: Lucy, Beulah, Ethel, and Opal. I was able to cancel my order for the four pullets, and they will live happily in some other backyard. My journey to four hens has been interesting to say the least. I love them all so much. I enjoy sitting in the yard and watching them and their antics. They each have such unique personalities, sounds, and ways of tackling life. I highly recommend anyone interested in chickens to go for it! It is so rewarding and really isn’t difficult. You gain fun pets and a sustainable food source. I love chickens!