One of the most important parts of our role as chicken keepers is to provide food for our girls. We do feed them chicken feed and I’ll talk about that at some point, but we also collect everything that we don’t eat into a handy plastic container known as “the chicken bucket.” The chicken bucket is absolutely central to our kitchen’s function. If we don’t have one on the counter, even for a minute, all food production and clean up comes to a halt. If it’s been taken out to the coop someone immediately replaces it with a new container so that we’re good to go for the next few hours. We feed our chickens almost everything that we don’t eat with the exception of uncooked potato peelings, citrus fruit and chicken. We don’t feed the chickens chicken… that just feels wrong.
Feeding them lots of scraps helps to keep our feed bill down. We eat a pretty well balanced diet so I like to think that it also gives them some balance and variety.
It might help with socialization skills too.
Anyone holding the chicken bucket is always made to feel very welcome and loved.
There are many joys that come with having chickens and watching their reaction to this is near the top of the list!
If we could only raise one breed of chicken in our flock, I would choose the Buff Orphington. I think of this breed as the golden retriever of the chicken world. Their fluffy, yellow, friendly, obedient, loyal, and great with kids and adults. They’ll sit in your lap, come when you call and play with you. This is a family-friendly chicken!
A newborn buff orphington is a cute little yellow fluff ball and it grows up to be a wise, sweet creature that you can take anywhere.
I take chickens into schools sometimes and this is the breed that I choose for those events. I can put one down on a tarp with twenty first graders sitting around the perimeter and she’ll just stand there politely waiting for the presentation to start. Then she will allow all twenty kids to pet her (one at a time of course) and repeat the process for three more classes during the day. I’ve even had one lay an egg in the classroom a few feet away from the children during a presentation. This is a laid back, happy chicken.
These girls are good layers, winter hardy, docile and sweet… if your trying to decide what type of chicken to start with or add to your existing flock you just can’t go wrong with a buff orphington!
So, last night at 10:00 just as I was about to take my shower and get my jammies on Michael said “come on outside, it’s time to move the chickens”… of course my immediate response was ” really? seriously? you want to do that now? do we have to? how about tomorrow night?” Please!!
He said, “nope, no way, their getting too big for the tractor, let’s go!”
So off we went, with a flashlight, in the dark, to the far corner of my back yard.. One by one we dug them out of their little house in the chicken tractor and gingerly placed them, two together, in the nesting boxes in the coop with with big girls.. trying hard not to step on poop or anything else that might be out there.
Doing this meant that I slept lightly, worried about what today would bring. We’ve moved babies up quite a few times and there’s still that mother part of me that worries about what’s going to happen to them out there. I raced out at 6am with my little guy to check. It’s his job to feed them in the morning and I was concerned that he might encounter an unpleasant situation. Well, they were all in a tizzy but everyone was alive and well. The big girls were outside squawking because their territory had been invaded and they wanted to be fed their treats (have I mentioned that their a bit spoiled). The babies were hopping around the inside of the coop, kind of upset and disoriented but busy exploring their new home. I went out to check again a few minutes ago and they were all outside in the run together.. at opposite ends but definitely sharing the space.
Before we know it we’ll have a really healthy and beautiful flock of egg layers out there!