When my oldest were really little, every spring I would take them in to the farm store here in our town. It was a big deal to get to go in and hold the chicks and ducks that were for sale. They would ask to take one home and of course I wanted to take one home (I am a huge animal lover) but we lived in town where we couldn’t have them. My son would say, “When I get bigger, I am going to get one with the big feathers on it’s head. It will be black with a white head”. My daughter didn’t care, she just wanted all of them.
As time went on my husband and I really wanted some area for the kids, now three of them, to be able to run and play in a bigger area. We moved out of town on 5 Acres and started our mini farm. At first we had just a couple of chickens from the same farm store that the kids would go to every spring. My oldest got his big bird with the feathers on top of his head, a pair of Polish and my daughter got a mixture of bantams.
We joined the 4-H club that next spring and both of the kids wanted to show chickens. We knew right away that there was some competition, since there were two families that were showing all over the nation. We started getting birds to meet the American Poultry Standard. My oldest of course wanted JUST Polish, got his first quality birds. He got two standard size pullets, Silver laced Polish Fizzles. My daughter got her first pairs of Bantam Barred Rocks from our good friend. Their birds have increased from a half dozen to almost 100, thanks to hatching our own eggs and other breeder willing to share their quality birds or eggs with us.
It isn’t uncommon for you to come to our home and see us all setting in lawn chairs watching the chickens. They have a great family bond with each other. If you have never watched a rooster with his hens, you are missing a fascinating bond occurring before your eyes. The rooster is very protective of his hens and if he finds something to eat, he will feed the hens before himself. Just as a mother hen will feed her chicks, so does the rooster. He will call out with a cluck distinctive for feeding them. If he sees a bird in the air that could be a possible threat he has another call for that. It is truely amazing to watch.
All of us have taken great care to make sure our chickens have clean bedding all the time. They are fed very well with quality feed, fruits and veggies. When dirty they even get to get a bath in mom’s whirlpool tub. (NO Whirlpools!) I loves them too and helps to make sure it is done safely for all. I would love to put in a hot water heater and sinks in the barn so that I don't have to clean the birds in MY bathtub. It has really helped us bond and the kids have learned a great deal about responsibility. The kids even got Dad and their Grandpa to build a 12×30 finished addition to the barn, just for the chickens. The barn has a concrete flooring, walls and roof are insulated, Pella windows, a barn fan hooked to a thermostat for when it gets to hot and an outside protected run. We put in automatic water cups in the pens this summer. Now I can go for over 3 weeks with out having to water the chickens.
We continue to love and breed for resistance and quality. I do not vaccinate my birds. I do know that cost of what could happen if my flock picked up something. I will reach that and deal with it, if the time comes. Our love for the Polish, Silkies and Barred Rocks have increased so much. My son now has moved on to other interest, but still helps to take care of the Polish and admires them and their behavior. My daughter shows in 4-H and we have now attended a few state and National shows, showing our best birds. We just got back from Lawrenceburg Tenn. were they held the 2009 Polish and Silkie Nationals. It was a true pleasure to meet other chicken fanciers, get tips on grooming and breeding. We went with the expectation of just learning what we needed to improve but some of our birds took #1 in their sex and variety. We never expected to place, but it was such a reward to know we were going in the right direction.
Posted on 10/12/2008 12:51 PM
This blog was updated 11/30/09 Posted by crestedhorizon on 11/30/2009 10:50 AM