We moved out onto a little ranch called The Bustin' Ass Ranch in the openness of Kansas a few years ago. Little did I know how my life would be forever changed by this. It started slowly; we adopted a stray cat, added a few dogs, then a cow. I grew up knowing that chickens are the nastiest things on the planet (Thanks, Mom!) They are dirty, peck you, peck each other and they are nasty, nasty birds. One day my husband says we should get some chickens. (He eats more eggs than anyone I know.) I told him when he ordered them that I wanted nothing to do with any of them. I wanted nothing to do with any part of their care, raising, butchering, None. Of. It. He agreed to this. A few drinks over a rare chicken breed magazine one night the next week 50+ mystery breed (whatever didn't get ordered that day) one-day-old baby chicks were delivered to us. Yeah, they MAIL live birds to your house! Can you believe it? So we have all these little puff balls and if that wasn't enough, I hatched another 15 or so mutts with my class at school. Now they are all ours: 69 baby chicks and no mamma hens to take care of them. A crash course on raising baby chicks thanks to BackYardChickens.com and we're off.
Less than a week in and I find myself with a box of baby chicks in the kitchen (My kitchen!! Where I prepare food!! That I eat!!) cleaning off their pasty butts (this is a technical term I learned from my new friends at BackYardChickens) because they don't have a momma to do it for them and someone has to do it or they may die. This has become my job, but I'm really not sure how. They are pretty cute and they do need someone to take care of them so it is only natural that I do it, I guess. They get bigger fast and really don't need all that much care after a month or so, less than cats or dogs really. I find that I actually like them. Since we got the mystery pack, we have every kind of chicken you can imagine. We have red ones.
We have red ones, blue laced somethings, polka dot ones, ones that look like owls, some road runner looking birds, some with feathers on their feet and legs and everything in between, every color, size and shape. Our coop is like a chicken UN.Turns out Mom may have gotten this one wrong. (Sorry, Mom!) They aren't nasty; they are actually very calming little things. After a long day at work you grab some kitchen scraps and head out to the coop. Just a few minutes watching them peck around and you can feel your blood pressure drop and find yourself more relaxed than you have felt in a while. AND not throwing all those scraps into the landfill makes my little Girl Scout heart happy. A few years later and I am looking for that magazine again. Spring is coming soon and I'm ready for some new chickies!