Caitlyn’s and Kris’ Eggs-celent Adventure

Our new (and first) chickens like to eat ... a lot.

Our new (and first) chickens like to eat … a lot.

It’s been a week since we acquired our first three chickens for our new coop and attached run and … so far, so good.

Neither Caitlyn nor I have any experience with raising chickens, outside of the one class we attended at Agrarian near Broad Ripple a couple months back. But, so far, it turns out that’s all the education we’ve needed as we enter the world of backyard egg production at our urban Indianapolis home.

Too busy to raise chicks, we bought three pullets (that’s an adolescent-ish chicken, for you non-poultry folks) from a nice lady south of town, although we picked them up in a parking lot of a Speedway gas station, which felt a little weird, but, given how we acquired our dog, Bailey (in a parking lot of a YMCA), I guess that’s how we roll these days.

Two Rhode Island Reds, named Lucy and Louise, and one Buff Orpington named Daisy are the foundation of our flock. We’re still trying to sort out who’s at the top of the pecking order, but it looks like Daisy has the lead, although, big Louise could still make a power play. Lucy’s clearly more content with following the others.

Only chumps eat from the bottom of the feeder.

Only chumps eat from the bottom of the feeder…unless you have a short, scrawny neck like Louise here.

Daisy’s the curious one — always stepping out from the pack and usually among the first out of the coop in the morning — while Louise likes to perch (and poop) on just about anything, including the birds’ feeder and water fount. All three are content with eating pretty much all day long. Our coop will be a microcosm of obesity in Indiana, I fear.

A little confusion the first couple nights, as the birds were more content sleeping together on the floor of the coop rather than on the perches inside, but they’re getting there. They hate being handled, but we make it a point to do so most every day just so they kind of get used to it. Side note: Daisy let me know the other day this was not cool and peed on my jacket. Louise was also not happy when Caitlyn was holding Lucy and I Daisy, letting out stressful wails from the coop; I promptly was given two chickens to hold while the wife grabbed the pouting poultry.

Daisy, the alpha chick(?), with my alpha chick, Caitlyn.

Daisy, the alpha chick(?), with my alpha chick, Caitlyn.

Bailey and Jackson, naturally, are intrigued by the chickens, and the former makes every effort to barrel into the run as soon as we open the door, so handling our pullets is a bit of a two-person job as one person needs to restrain the pooch. Jackson is more content just with hanging out on the coop’s roof and craning his neck down to see what’s going on below.

Our three ladies chirp — a lot — but no more than your average small bird in a tree … and there are lots of trees in our neighborhood, so it’s not really noticeable beyond a few feet from the coop. They enjoy playing keep away when we toss kitchen scraps or tree blossoms into the coop, but aren’t so good at playing keep away when Caitlyn or I step into the run, all running to one corner and thereby trapping themselves in our clutch.

Caitlyn’s already talking about future chickens and ours won’t even start laying eggs for another four months!

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