Breed compatibility
drops of jupiter
 So, once I get out of college and get my own place, I want to raise chickens (for eggs and maybe meat, but I'd get layers). I was thinking of getting a small flock of a few Rhode Island Reds/Whites and some Silkies. (Can't even lie, it's because Silkies remind me of Chocobos, and I think it could be a selling point for potential future eggs. Plus they're pretty.)

However, my experience with trying to get different breeds of the same animal is limited to horses (pretty sociable) and fish (some are very aggressive and fast, so they'd be bad with slower fish). Is this the case with chickens? Are RIRs and Silkies compatible? Would a flock of maybe up to five of each be good for a beginner?

I didn't find anything saying that either were aggressive, but ranchus are pretty passive unless you tank them with orandas (breeds of goldfish), and I only learned that through experience, so I just wanted to check and make absolutely sure. Thanks in advance!

Chicken Ladies of a Certain Age
Those of you who've been keeping chickens for a while, what do you do when they get older? From what I've heard, domestic chickens can live 15 years but only lay well in the first 18 months. After that, the only economical thing to do is eat them.

Is it legal to kill your own chickens within city limits? Can you really make yourself do it after a year or more of knowing/feeding/raising/laughing at her? Is there a chicken-killing service somewhere in town? Or a place where you can donate a stewing-age hen and have her killed and fed to homeless people?

I don't have chickens yet --love the idea but still working out several logistical details, and this is a big one...

Ikea Coop
Love this idea:

First night in coop
The chicks spent their first night in the coop last night and they were all three still alive this morning!!  Last night, I put them up in the box.  This morning, they were still up there and we were worried that they wouldn't figure out how to use the ladder.  I was trying to gently nudge them to use it but my husband kind of pushed one down and the other two followed.  I guess that's how it's done!! 

I've been putting in little bits of chopped up fruits and veggies but I don't think they get it.  Will they figure out to eat them on their own or is there a way that I can encourage them to eat the stuff? 

Tour de Coops
Hey all, just found out about the 6th annual Tour de Coops on Saturday, July 25th, organized by the folks over at Growing Gardens.  Self-guided tours of urban chicken coops in Portland and a coop raffle!  They're having an Advanced Urban Chicken Keeping class earlier in the month as well.  Check it out!

Beatrice, my top hen, started laying eggs about a month ago.  She is  2 years old and had never previously laid.  She is now up to an egg a day with a rare day off.  Yesterday she got the urge to nest.  Usually she is the first one into the coop at night but she stayed in her nest under a fern by the coop.  I pulled her off of it when it got really dark so she wouldn't get eaten by a racoon.  I thought maybe she was trying to lay an egg since this was new  behavior for her.  Today I realized that she is in fact nesting.  I had to bring her into the coop again and she was upset looking over at her nest and doing a nervous clucking (obviously worrying about her babies getting stolen without her to cover the eggs.  I decided to use a storebought egg (done before she became an egg-laying machine) and make a replica nest for the coop.  She goose stepped around the egg staring at it like it was from out of this world (which in comparison to the size of her eggs it is).  I decided to go get the egg I leave in the nest out and put it in the replica nest.  I sat her down on it and she got all happy and settled in on the two eggs. It makes my little heart happy that her mothering instinct is kicking in.  The eggs aren't going to hatch so I am going to have to watch out for her getting broody, but in the meantime its about the sweetest thing I have ever seen.  Maybe if she didn't like eating the quail eggs I would give her those to incubate since they are fertilized and the quail won't set their own eggs.

I came home today to discover that one of my hens laid her very first egg!  I don't know which one did it since they were all in the coop together, but it is a beautiful brown egg.

Day Two
We've finally gotten the temperature just right for the chicks.  That has been more difficult than I would have imagined!!  So, more questions.  Should we replace their wood shavings every day?  And, can they be composted or should we even bother while they are so young?

Their first pic:

Chicks have arrived!!
After going to two feed stores and then calling around, we found that the Burns Feed Store still has chicks 'this late'.  We picked out two Rhode Island Reds and a Golden Sex-Link.  I didn't realize that you can only get one week old chicks so we weren't entirely prepared for that.  Luckily, they were very patient about letting us know what's required and getting us set up with the right stuff.  Right now, the chicks are in the garage in our recycle bin with some wood shavings, a feeder, a waterer and under a heat lamp set-up.  I'm totally freaked out that we're going to inadvertantly kill the poor birds!!  

I'm sure I'll be posting A LOT of questions here over the next few days, weeks and possibly months.  For now, though, at what age can they start getting veggie scraps from the kitchen?  

Coop Arrived!!
Our coop was delivered tonight by Jake and Aaron of Rose City Coops (you can find them on craigslist).  In it's honor, I'm cooking up a chicken pot pie:).  Friday, we are going to get chicks.  We'd like to get Rhode Island Reds.  Can anyone recommend a feed store out near Lake O?  We're planning to hit up the one off of Stafford but would love to hear if anyone has a favorite and why! 



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