We love our chickens! Or as I like to call them “chick chicks”. The chick looking at the camera we named “Chloe”. From the time we brought her home with her 9 sisters, she would always look directly at us. When a hand was held down in the pen, she would run up and jump into it. Even as a grown hen, she follows us around the yard and hops onto our laps when we sit down.
My husband and I carefully researched the breeds and decided upon Buff Orpingtons. They are known for their calm, kid-friendly temperament. Also, Buff Orpingtons are a dual purpose breed, meaning they are good egg layers and also large enough to make a nice dinner. We have become far too attached to eat this first batch of 10 hens that we so carefully watched over, but are practical enough to want that option, just in case.
According to The Livestock Conservancy Buff Orpingtons come in other colors too. We just liked the buff color because we felt it would be less visible to overhead predators. Eagles migrate to our area in the spring while hawks and owls live here year round.
Chickens are really easy to care for and make a great start to a homestead. I had chickens when I was a kid but my husband was a first time chicken owner. He quickly became attached to the little peeping fluff balls and declared them safe from the dinner menu.
Their first home was a metal tub in our living room. It was an unusually cold winter and spring. Even though Orpingtons are cold hardy birds, indoors was the best option until we had better outdoor accommodations. Sandy, the grey cat we acquired with the homestead, was very interested in her new roommates. A sturdy pet fence kept her at bay.
Chickens are inexpensive to get started and with diligent care, easy to keep. Of course housing becomes more of an issue as they grow, and the price of a coop can be as cheap or expensive as you wish to make it.
I will be sure to post about my “weekend” chicken coop project.
TAX TIP: For a farm business, keep in mind that the initial investment in chickens for egg production can be considered a capital investment and written off over the expected useful life of the chicken rather than expensed all in one year. This is useful for offsetting profits in future years.
Read more about Chickens: Pets with Benefits (Part 2)