We have always talked about having our own little backyard flock, but it was a distant-future sort of desire. Sketched plans for a coop adorned our refrigerator since last October. I leisurely researched chicken breeds, space requirements, and care for months. I thought that once I really had this backyard beekeeping hobby down, some egg layers would be a nice addition to our little ecosystem.
On Valentine's Day, after my creepy pillow creation went viral, I was feeling weird. February 14th was spent in a daze of interviews and emails, and everyone wanted to know all about my whimsical novelty craft. My brain doesn't deal with that kind of attention well. It felt like a big whirlwind of horror craziness that I couldn't control. So, after talking poultry dreams with fellow chicken-desirer Rox at a baby shower (which are big whirlwinds of horror craziness unto themselves), I drove to the nearest farm shop.
Dave quickly declared that the black chick was his favorite, and we named her Fernandina. Little Fern is a Black Jersey Giant--she will grow up to be about 10lbs, which is more than Nemo weighs. The other chickens (Vidalia, a Rhode Island Red, and Savannah, a Brown Leghorn) are expected to reach 6lbs.
I love letting the chickens out of the coop in the morning and watching as they scratch the ground for bugs, chase each other around, and flap about the yard. Savannah had a tragic run-in with StarFox when she was five weeks old and suffered a broken wing, but she has recovered fully and is the sneakiest of all the birds. Each chicken is a wonderful entertainer--each has her own unique personality, and they get very upset when one of the sisters is separated from the group.
The BEST thing is that as soon as I showed one of the baby chicks to our lovely next-door neighbors, they started bringing us eggs from their backyard flock. What a friendly giving of goods--avocados and eggs and honey and plants, all being grown and shared between homes in our community. That's the dream!
To my surprise, the hive was bursting with bees as soon as our first hot day hit last week. There is constant activity from the little buggers zipping in and out, toting huge loads of pollen into the box. I have never seen such enormo golden bulges on bee legs!