We have some new arrivals in our family that take us just a few steps further down the crazy path... But first lets recap all the ways we are endearing ourselves to the neighborhood:
1) slowly getting rid of lawn and planting edible plants instead
2) keeping 50,000 flying,stinging insects in small wooden boxes
3) storing stinky rainwater in giant plastic barrels
4) hanging my families socks and undies out in the sunshine for the world to see
5) composting every scrap of organic matter in a big smelly pile
So why not add squawking, pooping and mulch decimation to the list too...
Welcome Horton Hens!
The as-yet-unnamed trio are expats from my in-laws farm in Bells. 'Blackie' and "Whitie" (not their real names) are part of the mean girl group of hens my MIL was given. The original 6 hens were deemed too mean and uncivilized to live with her existing flock of 50 pet chickens. One of the six mean girls we butchered and ate last year, the other five came home with us on April 2nd to live a city life. We were also able to scam her out of one of her pet Aurachana chickens. Wait, you say, the math just does not add up... five plus one totals six chickens, but I only see three in the picture. It gets even better, we convinced some friends of ours they too needed to keep chickens in the city... so they got three, we got three and this area of North Dallas just got a bit crazier.
Hubby has been very busy building a great chicken-hutch-house for our new girls. It is framed out with split cedar 2x2s, has 1/4" wire sides and bottom, and a hinged front door leading to a 5x8x5 foot run built with 2x4 welded wire. The main part of the house is sturdy enough that if this whole chicken thing does not work out due to city regulations we can use it to house rabbits.
So why, if they are smelly, messy, and possibly illegal in our city, would we want to do this?
EGGS! Within the first 24 hours of city life, one of our three hens had laid the first egg. We also want this to be an experience for the kids on where food comes from. Since he helps collect eggs at Grandma's house, boy sort of knows that eggs come from chickens, but now it will be a daily thing (we hope).
We also want to use this as 'practice' for when we can get out into the country and have some room to raise a bunch of chickens for eggs and meat. Like so many of our endeavors here in town, we hope to work out the kinks in these small scale systems so we can go with confidence into full blown production when we have the opportunity.