Monday, February 13, 2012

Birds of a Feather

I am a farm girl. Despite living in the city for the past six years, I am 100% a farm girl. I grew up on a farm in a very small town in Alabama. I have been around cows, chickens, horses, and gardens my entire life. Shoot, I even went to a "farm college". Farming is just in my blood. I have missed that part of my life a good deal. I have spent many a days dreaming about having my own little farm. But, with the way my life appears to be ensconced in the city due to my job, I have had to do without my little farm.

When I first moved into my neighborhood in Atlanta, I was quickly became a member of the neighborhood garden club. Two years ago, I became the Vice President of the Trowel and Error Garden Club (phunny right?). Being the VP isn't glamorous. It just means that I had to get the speakers. Thanks to the amazingness that is Twitter I quickly discovered Georgia Organics. They generously offered a speaker for the Garden Club. I anticipated learning about what Georgia Organics does. The lady who spoke, however, took a different approach. She taught us about raising backyard chickens. And the idea of raising chickens in my backyard really stuck with me. I could start my farm in the city. I could have backyard chickens. I could have a garden. I could do what I know with what I have. But the dream has just been a dream, until now.

Since I have started dating the world's most amazing man, I have talked non-stop really about having my own chickens and my desire to live more sustainably.  Finally, my new fella said "let's do it!". So I posted on Facebook to see where I could find chickens and we set to looking for plans to build a coop. About a month after my post, a friend of mine sent me a message to see if I could adopt her chickens. She had recently had twins, and twins and chickens were just too much work. So we really had to kick it into high gear to get the coop built. When I say we, I really mean my sweetie. I did help just the tiniest bit, but my inability to draw a straight line with the assistance of a straight edge quickly got me out of helping. After several days of working, the coop was finished!

Please gaze upon the beautiful chicken tractor! Didn't he do a great job?

Saturday, I drove to downtown Atlanta with a dog crate in my the back of my Prius to pick up my ladies. They seemed to make themselves right at home in their new coop!
(As an aside, yes that is an antique blue mason jar that is holding the chicken feed. I am nothing if not fancy.)

Last night when I visited them, I found my very first egg from my very first hens. And I literally am still excited about it!

Things I have learned so far:
  • - Chickens don't really have a way to hold on to dog crates and will slide all over the place when you make a sharp left turn.
  • - Hauling chickens in the back of your car will in fact make your car smell like a barn yard.
  • - Chickens do not need a rooster to lay eggs (I already knew this, but A LOT of people don't.)
  • - Chickens can actually be affectionate animals. One of our chickens, Mabel, will go out of her way to get to you to pet her.

My girls and I are getting along great so far. I didn't even mind having to get up earlier than normal this morning to go out and visit with them. Step one of creating an urban homestead in my back yard is complete. Now it's time to start planning my garden!