Let me introduce you to our new girls. I'm such a lucky girl. A bit of a manifesting maniac at times, to be honest. Or bloody minded to the point of obsession, you choose. But it does seem, at least at times, that when I put my mind to something and really, really, obsess about it, it happens.
And so we have our girls. But first, the story of how I came to receive these girls of ours. I have a friend, a magnificent, hard working, amazing friend who often bites off as much as she can chew and then chews like hell to get it all swallowed and done. She owns and runs two businesses, has three children, and works like a mad woman all the while being with her family. From the outside, her life is amazing, at least - she might have moments of crazy, but we're all human, and humans are down right crackers. If she's staying a shade of sane while working like a draught horse, she's getting nothing but admiration from me. BUT! This friend of mine decided that on top of her two businesses, her three sons, her border collie, her husband and her working from home, she'd also like her own group of fowl. She had twelve chickens, a half dozen ducks and a couple geese. She sure was chewing away at all she could bite!
And then she realised that she could not, in fact, do all of that. So the fowl had to be rehomed. And so it was to be that I received two beautiful, healthy, fully grown and laying like there's no tomorrow, Isa Brown hens.
I got a bird cage modified by a lovely neighbourhood teenager to house the girls at night for a grand total of $50. We already had a garden bed completely blocked off because of it's angle and the ability for the kids to spread the dirt in it everywhere and actually kill the dirt more than the horrible aquaphobic stuff was dying at the rate it was anyway. (I'd like to add I'm not a germaphobe, not in the slightest, the decision to fence it off was purely derived out of laziness and putting All The Soil back in every day that the kids rode their transport through it. Every Day.)
Man, I have wanted chickens for about two years. So long, in fact, that the lady I used to buy my eggs from probably got sick of me mentioning it every sunday. And then BAM! This opportunity arose.
As my dear blog-friend and urban-homestead-girl-crush Calamity Jane put it in her chicken herder post the impact on my childrens ability to see an immediate responsibility for these lovely girls was instant. I was told pretty much immediately by Ethan that it is 'his' job to let them out, and that under no circumstances was I to check for eggs during his school time. He took on their safety and comfort as his own position description the day they came home. He is now amazingly aware of what colour foods they prefer (red), and even what is their favourite fruit (watermelon) and vegetable (corn). He took drawings to school, took photos on my camera of them and named them with quick succession. The love of this little boy toward animals is something that I learn deeply from on a daily basis, and I thought it would wane after a while, at least in these school holidays where he is sleeping in more. But the sad look on his face if he isn't the one to let them out, and share the chore with Alice of giving them breakfast, oh my. It is a hard thing to see, so I've actually started letting the chickens 'sleep in' if he does (he sleeps til 7ish, it's not long for them to wait!).
So I echo CJ's words to 'just jump in' on the chicken thing. They are the easiest animal I think I've ever cared for. Yep, there's crap on the pavers, and coop modifications have had to be made to stop it. We have more flies, but whether that can be all chicken scrap related I'm not so sure (it's humid here at the moment, so it can't be all the chickens fault!), and I have to keep the night cage cleaned out about once every four days, but we have two eggs a day most days, we know exactly how our birds have been treated, and the garden - oh. my. god. - the garden soil, it has literally changed colour in six weeks. It used to be a useless sandy grey looking thing, that water rolled off like it was allergic. Now it is going black, rich, thick and black like it's been completely dug out, shipped off and replaced with that fancy stuff people pay lots of money for. And there's hardly any compost, either, except grass clippings, onion and citrus scraps, and chicken poo that's been pulled out of their night quarters.
I love them!