Have you ever blundered into something only to quickly realize, you don’t have a clue as to what you are doing?
Okay, I’ll admit, that was a rhetorical question. EVERYONE has been in this position at least once. It’s just that some of us, kind of… sort of… maybe… have a habit of getting into these types of situations…like a lot!
And in case you were wondering, yes, that would be a reference to the author of this blog…namely ME.
How It Began
I started this endeavor with a stumble into the world of backyard chickens. We had just recently moved into our off-grid home and was confronted with an over abundance of ticks. Being concerned for our then 3 year old, we were looking for a way to reduce the tick population without exposing our son to potentially harmful chemicals.
Enter the feathered Tick-n-ator!
With about as much forethought as it takes to order fast-food, I drove to the local feed store and with family in tow, reached into a bin of 200+ chicks and picked out eight fuzzy little chirpers. It was a moment I will remember for the rest of my life – and that’s both good and bad!
For the record, I did ask the salesman if these birds were male or female. He responded that they were ‘straight run’. I had no idea what this meant, so I pursued. To which he replied, “there may be a male or two in there.”
Armed with this info, the family and I walked out the door with our new feathered friends.
Now I’m sure that anyone who is reading this and has experience with raising chickens, is probably cringing at this point. If there was a check list of everything NOT to do on your first flock, I’ve successfully managed to do it all!
Fast forward eight weeks and the whole ‘there may be a male or two’ turned into ‘all eight chickens were males’. And if you know anything about roosters, they live by the Highlander creed – ‘There can only be one!’
Those fuzzy adorable chicks turned into crazy killers as they fought for domination, leaving my wife and son somewhat traumatized by the turn of events. So…once again, I managed to make a mess of things!
The moral of this story: make sure you know what you’re bringing home!
I’m happy to say that things have come a long way since that first flock. Chickens in particular, are a fairly resilient animal (thank goodness!) and we have enjoyed many flocks since that first disaster.
The learning curve has been steep, but honestly not unmanageable. I have every confidence that if you are just starting out with a backyard flock, and you are dedicated to the task, the addition of some domesticated fowl will not only provide you with food, but with countless hours of entertainment.
But, you will need to do a little homework, especially starting out. Don’t just go to the store and buy some like I did. Domesticated fowl are somewhat unfamiliar when compared to a dog or a cat. In my case, if I had spent just 20 minutes on a forum, reading about what a ‘straight run’ is, then I could have avoided an entire summer of frustration.
It is my hope, that the experiences I have shared on this website, will help people avoid the mistakes that I have made.
For the record, I don’t always get it right. Why? Because each animal is different. They all have their own unique personalities and sometimes there own little quirks. Honestly, there’s been a few situations where I’ll look at a bird and say to myself, ‘that one didn’t get the memo on what they’re supposed to be doing.’
But wildcard animals aside, raising birds for food in your backyard is probably one of the easiest things you can do. I highly encourage any with the opportunity, to consider raising their own homestead fowl.