Something not a lot of people know is that when I was about 9 years old, my family and I decided to raise six chickens. We bought them from the local Feed & Country Store as chicks and had to learn how to care for them. It was very exciting and when they grew up, they started producing the best eggs I had ever had in my life! The chickens taught my sister and I a lot about responsibility and how to care for animals besides cats and dogs.
Eventually they got old and we had to give them away because they did not produce eggs anymore and our dog was being a little aggressive with them. Since then, I have wanted to get chickens again because I enjoyed having them so much. With the recent passing of my dog, it seemed like the right time to start raising chickens again! I live at home with my parents and commute to Cal Lutheran, so I had to ask my parents for their approval before buying the chicks. Luckily, they agreed. My mom and I went to the Feed & Country Store and bought baby chicks! They are very inexpensive and the materials needed to feed them are also not very expensive. We brought them home and put them in my dog’s old crate. Because they were so small, the crate was a perfect temporary home for them. Once they get bigger, we will have to move them into an enclosure outside so they can roam around the backyard a bit more.
Since they currently reside in the house, in the dog crate, I constantly have clean out the crate to keep them healthy and in a clean environment. Cleaning the crate is a little gross at first but, you get used to it. Every day, I have to hold the chicks so that they get comfortable being around humans. Every day they get more and more easy to hold and are not as scared to be held. We have only had the chickens for about 2 weeks, and they have already grown so much. The chickens are named Chicky Jr., Millie, and Nugget.
Next week, I will have to move the chickens outside into their permanent home so that they have more room. Once they move outside, they will be able to eat some of our fruit and vegetable scraps. They probably will not start laying eggs for another four or five months. However, when they do, they will each lay about one egg per day.
I am very glad I decided to raise chickens again and would highly recommend this experience to anyone who has not gotten to before. It may seem weird to be a college student raising chickens in her backyard, but it is very rewarding and very fun! If you have the means to do so, do it!
(All photos provided by Elaine Abarta)