bock, bock, bock

Folks, this post has been a long time in the making. And when I saw 'long time', I mean several years. I have seriously wanted to keep chickens for at least seven years, for a variety of reasons. I wanted the boys to be able to know the joy and responsibility of caring for animals that provide food that we eat every day. I wanted the funny companionship of these lovely creatures. I wanted to be able to feed them kitchen scraps and compost their poop to use it in the garden, making a nice tidy loop. And the eggs! We eat a lot of eggs, and fresh eggs are just the very best. We've been living in town, so I first decided to approach town council about amending the by-law prohibiting backyard hens back in 2010. That didn't go through, and since the spring of 2011, I've been patiently waiting. Reading every book I can get my hands on, visiting friends' hens, and daydreaming about collecting warm eggs. Waiting to find our forever home and property and have space to care for my very own hens and share the whole experience with the boys.

And so, I am so very pleased to report that I am now the proud owner of a flock of a dozen ISA Brown Layers. Allow me to introduce them, won't you?
First, the hens are a year old and already laying. I wanted some instant success and to avoid some of the chick intensity, and these ladies came up at just the right time. The previous owner was having some trouble with pecking in her flock (these twelve were in with many other chickens) and so they arrived here missing lots of feathers "on their butts", as Phillip likes to say. I lovingly refer to my tiny chicken operation as Sherrie's Chicken Rehab, as they appear to be a bit of a motley bunch. Apparently their feathers will take five or six weeks to grow back in, and I'm hoping that since they have some more space and lots of attention, they'll grow back beautifully. I don't know much about their past life, and I've only had them for a week, so I'm always observing them carefully for anything untoward, and I'm hoping that there aren't any underlying health issues with any of them.

They are so sweet and personable already! After a couple of days adjusting, they come trotting over when I arrive, looking for treats. Especially this beady-eyed beauty. She has been dubbed Jessica Fletcher. She's very much a busybody, and comes running as soon as I arrive. Unlike the others, she won't leave my side while I'm cleaning the coop, collecting eggs, and just having a little visit with the hens. She tilts her head from side to side to look me over, pecks at my toes, hands, pant legs, fingers, and waits patiently for me to feed her an extra little treat or two. She also solves murders in her spare time and is a wickedly accurate typist.

 You can see the bare butts above. I'm watching carefully for any signs of broken skin or any other complications.

 The coop was all set up by the previous owner. We gave it a very thorough cleaning, some fresh bedding, and these ladies settled right in. They really are a joy to hang out with, and they're good layers - we collect 8-10 eggs each day.
 This poor hen above seems to have lost the most feathers, and as she was grooming herself a bit, I caught this picture where you can see how bald her back end is.

 Thanks to my sister, who bought me these boots for Christmas last year. Jessica Fletcher really likes to peck at the left one in particular.
Back in 2010, I bought this ceramic egg holder, in full faith that I would have my very own hens' eggs to fill it with someday. I didn't think at the time that it would be four years down the road, but here we are, and it is so satisfying.
If you have chicken experience, please feel free to leave any comments with tips, hints, suggestions, etc. - I'm completely open to any and all advice!


  1. I love chicken pictures!! Congratulations, I know you have been waiting a long time. :)

  2. Sherrie, I am so so very happy for you. Your ladies couldn't have found a better home, and your joy is just contagious. :)

  3. Congrats Sherrie, how great that you could finally get your chickens after years of waiting! Poor bare-butted chicks, they will be so much better off with you and will have a lovely life :)

  4. What a wonderful post! I do hope their feathers grow back in because it looks that it would be mighty chilly without them when the cold wind blows!

  5. Wonderful story Sherrie!! Happy that you have your chickens all around you!! Do you have a rooster? If so, you may want to prepare for ''little ones'' arriving in the future.... :-) It happened to us unexpectedly but it all worked out and it was so much fun....you can see the little darlings here: http://shamik4.blogspot.ca/2013/09/introducing-remember-me.html


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