Monday, January 12, 2009

Counting My Chickens...

The Speckled Sussex

For Christmas this year, I got a chicken house. It is almost done (other projects are going on at the same time and they will return to this one, as well as a new fence around a vegetable garden and dog house/dog kennel...more about that soon, also!) and I've been holding off posting photos until I can show the sequence. Failing that, maybe I'll do a Part I and Part II.

The New Hampshire Red

I have wanted to raise chickens forever. While we had a barn at our village home in Hancock, New Hampshire we had one acre and I think the concern was, well, I'm not really sure what the concern was now: zoning, perhaps? So I've been dreaming of chickens for a long time and as soon as we got down to Kentucky started sketching out the chicken house (more about that soon, too).

We don't want to get chicks until March when it will be warm enough here to have them without a heat lamp. So this weekend I ordered our chicks from Murray McMurray Hatcheries in Iowa and scheduled their delivery for the week of March 23. I ordered five varieties for egg layers. When the Cornish X Cross meat birds are ready for the freezer, which we will buy locally through a Mennonite farmer from the University of Kentucky extension, I'll order about 15-20 turkeys of different varieties. They can assume residence until November when they should be ready for eating (and giving).

Here is what we'll have!

• 10 New Hampshire Reds
• 10 Barred Rock
• 5 Rhode Island Reds
• 5 Araucanas/Americanas ("The Easter Egg Chicken")
• 5 Speckled Sussex

In the coming months I will post pics and provide progress reports! They will likely be laying eggs by late fall. Of course, I don't even have them yet but can you tell I'm excited? Like an expectant mother I would say. My son Eli said today, "Now you can't name the meat birds, Momma, or you'll get too attached." He's right about that. As for the hens, well, we'll just have to see who is what in temperament but you can bet I already have a list of names started.


Ladyfromthewoods said...

Yay! I can't wait to see your new coop and chickens. And dog?

a Cupcake near you! said...

Make that DOGS! (three rescued puppies, coming soon to a ridge near you when they are 8 weeks old...I know, we're nuts. They are adorable "Farmyard Specials" from a Mennonite farm...this is why I don't go to look at litters of puppies down here! But it was Temple's idea to have three as he knew their fate before I did...)

Ivy said...

New Hampshire actually has a law that says you can keep a backyard flock in any zone. Rules on roosters vary by town -- I rewrote the standard condo documents so that residents of Pocket street can keep chickens communally if they want to.

The Hen Pantry said...

You'll love having chickens. We have only 8 Golden Comets but have more eggs than we two can use so I give them to our daughter and others.

We are just finishing our second buttery/pantry. I call it The Hen Pantry. It's the pantry closest to the hens. I got the name from Tasha Tudor's Hen Pantry.

Catherine said...

I've never heard of T.T.'s "hen pantry" great! A good friend of mine down here just picked up Tasha Tudor/Mary Mason Campbell's The BUTTR'Y SHELF ALMANAC for 25 cents at her library booksale (held weekly). I told her they go for over $100 sometimes on eBay.

Do you also have a blog? Would love to know more about your chickens and pantries! All best, Catherine

The Hen Pantry said...

I live in Medina Ohio, not far from your Akron. Once on Tasha Tudor's blog the family mentioned going into the Hen Pantry and I wondered what that was so I emailed them and they said "oh, it's just the pantry closest to the hens". So when we added a small room and an attached garage to the house last July I called the small room The Hen Pantry. We built an old cupboard into one end and a counter and bottom cupboards off of that. I've already started filling it with my favorite buttry antiques. My other buttry is full and one of my favorite places in the house, an old farmhouse in Litchfield, Medina County. I'll send a photo if that's possible. I don't have a blog.

How lucky your friend was to find the book. I bought it when it first came out and I did pick up a couple more for my daughters. I loved TT lifestyle and my first buttry is because of her.

You'll be glad you're not in Akron now. We're expecting 18" of snow in the next couple of days.

Hope you're getting closer to getting your hens.

By the way, I do have your book and enjoy it very much. Of course, it's just me but I loved most the oldest pantries. Someday I'd like to see Theron Boyd's (I think that's his name) house in Vermont. I read about him and saw pictures of his place and him when he still lived there. When I saw the photo of his buttry I thought SHOW ME MORE. lol

Thanks for your book and hope you show us more nice old pantries and butterys.