We live on a quiet cul-de-sac in the suburbs. Nearly two years ago I received a coupon in the mail from a feed store that was for one free baby chic with every purchase! So I grabbed my husband, my kids, our exchange student from Germany (she's been with us over 6 months at this point and already knows I'm crazy) and my coupon and off we went to the feed store. Our exchange student says, "You can't have just one chicken! She'll get lonely!" Sales 101, ladies. You get them to say yes to one, and the rest are easy.
Well, they were all out of baby chics. :(
Not being deterred, I talked my family into going to Tractor Supply before heading home. We'll, they had lots of chickens...and ducks...and rabbits. The kids become distracted by all the chirping chicks, my husband goes off to look at boots or something and I start getting an education on raising poultry from Wayne (the clerk working that day)!
I asked this poor man everything I could think of. Where do they sleep? What do they eat? How many eggs will they lay? Where do they lay their eggs? What kind of shelter do they need? How much space do they require? And any other thing I thought my husband might ask me.
Turns out you can use an old dog house and dog kennel for a chicken coop. What a coincidence! I have an old doghouse and dog kennel not being used right now! And they need a heat lamp. Wow! I already have one of those,too! Weird, huh?
(This was their "starter home" - dog house and old dog kennel)
Anyway, I'm pretty sure I have my sweet husband convinced to let me get one chicken...but Tractor Supply only sells them in lots of six. Okay, this may take a little extra convincing but it's not impossible!
Well, it's time to go. No chickens. On the ride home I start info dumping on my husband all the things I learned from Wayne. Stuff like how they make great fertilizer. They will keep bugs out of the garden. We can get fresh eggs. We already have the stuff we need to house them. There is no down side to owning chickens, really!
We make it home and I'm still rambling about chickens. Finally when I stop my husband says to me:
Hubby: "Do you really want six chickens?"
Me: "Oh, baby, I really do!" (doe eyes; sad face)
Hubby: Big sigh. "Fine. Go get some before I change my mind."
Me: Kiss on the cheek for hubby. "Thanks, baby! I love you! How many can I have?" Purse in hand, running out the door!
Our exchange student and I are off to buy six pullets (that's chicken talk for lady chickens!). And thus began my legacy among my friends as the Crazy Chicken Lady !
I love my ladies. Let me introduce you to them!
Left to right: Betty, Anna, Ruth, Louise and Madge
Not pictured: Thelma (she made a trip to the dog's side of the yard and never returned) :(
Well, at one egg per chicken per day the eggs start to add up fast. With this many eggs I had to start finding a use for them. So I took up baking and quiche.
This is a recipe I found in one of my Paula Deen cookbooks called Sausage and Mushroom Quiche. I absolutely love it. So much so I eat it every morning for breakfast and sometimes lunch, too!
Because this is Paula's recipe I unfortunately cannot share it with you over the internet or I could get thrown in jail. This would not be good at all seeing as how I have two small boys
and a husband to raise.
I highly recommend this book and can assure you that if you decide to purchase it (or come over and borrow it from me!) you won't be disappointed . The book is laid out by "parties" so an entire menu is provided in each section.
This particular recipe is from the "Christening Brunch" and includes Praline French Toast Casserole, Baked Garlic Cheese Grits, Broiled Parmesan Tomatoes, Mushroom and Sausage Quiche, Spinach and Bacon Quiche, Sausage Balls, Watermelon Fruit Basket, Ginger-Poppy Seed Fruit Dressing and Animal Shaped Sugar Cookies. I've done every recipe except the dressing and cookies and all were delicious.
You can also find some wonderful Paula Deen recipes on her website or on the Food Network website. Another very favorite website for delicious recipes is SouthernLiving.com.
So if you live in an area that allows chickens, won't you consider some? They are inexpensive to keep and a joy to watch. My boys absolutely love them! Plus they eat all our fruit/veggie and bread scraps!
If you have any questions about owning backyard chickens, please ask!