Your poultry pets | Living the Country Life
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Your poultry pets

"Country view" asks you to address subjects on which you are the expert. This month you share your poultry stories.
  • 25 chicks

    Last Easter, I found myself at the local farm supply store gazing over a horse trough filled with baby chicks. My parents had come to visit and wanted to take their three granddaughters to pick out a fuzzy yellow chick to take home as a pet. The store employee quickly informed me that the minimum purchase was 25. After deliberating on how my wife might respond if I brought home 25 chickens, I decided to go for it. <br>We enjoy having chickens as pets. There is just something about watching chickens roam the yard that makes living in the country that much better.<br>Noble Staley, Carbondale, Illinois<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Gave them a home

    Since moving to our 20-acre homestead in 2002, I've dreamed of raising chickens. My husband and I would sit together in the evenings with a cup of coffee in one hand and poultry catalog in the other. <br>About two years ago it so happened that a coworker of mine was moving to a new house and had 18 hens she had to find a home for. I gladly took the fowl off her hands.<br>They bring such joy to my days. I find it very relaxing to sit on the porch and watch the hens go about their business. It brings a smile to my face every time. <br>Rhonda Wiedmann, Audobon, Minnesota <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Newcomer's mistake

    Our first brood of Plymouth Rock chicks grew up healthy, beautiful, and productive. We soon had more eggs than our family could use, and we started sharing with our friends. But, neophytes that we were, we did not sex the run of chicks we bought. We had more roosters than needed. Good for the stewpot or Sunday night dinner, you say? <br>I fell in love with our flock as chicks! Even if I chose to stomach the butchering process, how could Foghorn or Daisy be dinner? Yes, we made the classic newcomers' mistake of naming and becoming attached to our livestock.<br>Robin Schluter, Bates City, Missouri <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Butterball

    My son and husband developed an interest in chickens and set off to the nearby farm auction to buy chicks. The lady who sold the chicks said they would grow to be egg-laying chickens. But one kept growing and the other learned to crow. <br>One day while outside I heard a turkey "putt." I looked around in hopes to see a wild turkey nearby, but I saw nothing. I heard it again, only this time it was at my feet. I looked to see the little "chicken" looking up at me. <br>Butterball, as my husband calls him, grew to be a huge tom turkey and a favorite pet. My husband has become so attached to him that he purposefully went out and bought two more baby turkeys.<br>Joy Stapleton, Sunman, Indiana <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • I love Lucy

    I had no idea that chickens could make great pets. My family began raising chickens this year simply for their egg production. I have been an avid vegetable gardener for 20 years now and really enjoy tending the plants. A logical next step seemed to be raising chickens, because we would tend the chickens and regularly harvest the eggs. <br>This spring my wife and I researched chickens, built a chicken coop and yard, purchased day-old chicks, and got started. We didn't expect the whole family to fall in love with our young hens. What we thought would be farm animals have become pets. One hen, a Buff Orphington named Lucy, is almost a member of the family now. <br>Marc Lauterwasser, Crittenden, Kentucky <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Snapper's little helper

    We have a male Pekin duck named Snapper. When Snapper was just a few weeks old, he and the other farm ducks found their way to a small pond where they encountered a snapping turtle. <br>After a few visits to the vet, Snapper was left with two legs but only one foot. Walking has never been a problem for him.<br>One day my son was driving his battery-operated tractor equipped with trailer. He took a break, walked over to Snapper, and stood, shifting his eyes from Snapper, to his tractor, and back again. Now my son's cargo weighs close to 10 pounds and enjoys frequent tours of the property and occasional trips down the slide.<br>Katiane Myers, Falmouth, Michigan <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Spoiled girls

    What started as a way to have fresh eggs and raise chicks has turned into a wonderful hobby for my family. We have 24 hens and two custom-built chicken houses. The girls are very spoiled and get fresh blueberries and watermelon as a treat. <br>During the day, they roam around our fenced acre and get along well with the dogs, cats, and horses. We have two big fluffy cats that sometimes toy with the idea of chasing a hen. It's so funny to watch the hens actually chase the cats! <br>If our Ameracana hen, Bunny, wants more quality time, she bangs on the screen door to come for a visit. These girls may not lay eggs forever, but they will have a home with us for life. <br>Michelle Hennessy, Bradenton, Florida <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Fun with bantams

    Our children are the fourth generation to raise chickens on our Kansas farm. Elizabeth and Daniel are giving poultry a new twist, however. They are raising bantam chicks for 4-H. The chicks occupy one room of our three-room chicken house. Our laying hens are next door. The chicken house is a sentimental showpiece for our farm. Their great-grandfather made each stone block by hand. He laid them so carefully that the building is as sturdy as ever, more than 70 years later.<br>Our county fair is next July and the kids are hoping for purple ribbons, of course. Regardless, the precocious chicks have already won the hearts of our family.<br>Lynn Marcinkowski Woolf, Milton, Kansas<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Leia wants in

    We have one Leghorn named Pink (white with a pink crown) and a Red Sexton named Leia (my son is a Star Wars addict). <br>Leia is crammed with personality. On more than one occasion, after my husband and I put the kids down for bed, we hear a tapping on the sliding glass door at the back of the house. We flip the lights on to find Leia, outlined against the twilight sky, clearly upset and letting us know that, once again, the wind or one of the kids has closed the coop door and she is missing some precious roosting time.<br>We've loved the memories and experiences they're creating with our kids!<br>Jessica Higginbotham, Logan, Utah <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Chicken surprise

    One afternoon my husband, Rich, attended a livestock auction with friends. Having been raised on a farm, he was happy to go. One friend bought two pens of chickens, and when he and Rich arrived back at our house, he asked me which hens I would like. I was thrilled, but Rich couldn't believe it. He had no idea our friend planned to share his purchase. We loved watching them and were happy with the eggs they gave us.<br>Jude Hodupp, Allons, Tennessee <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Should have done this years ago

    Last spring we purchased a dozen chicks and set up their temporary home in our bathtub. Work on the portable poultry palace began in earnest during that time, and a week or two later the little fluff balls were ready to move into their new digs. <br>Our pampered poultry have free reign of the place and are fun to watch. If we knew it would be this enjoyable, we would have tried raising chickens years ago.<br>Stephanie White, Eagle, Idaho<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Quail

    For our first foray into poultry, we didn't go the traditional chicken route. Instead, we opted for Coturnix quail. Their reputed gentle nature coupled with a fast rate of maturity won us over. <br>Quail live in a cage similar to a rabbit hutch, eat very little feed, and begin to produce eggs at 6 weeks of age. Hens generally lay eggs every day until the shorter daylight of autumn causes them to take a break until spring. Their chicken cousins don't begin laying eggs for about six months.<br>Carolyn Evans-Dean, Syracuse, New York <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Queenie and Meemaw

    We had one chick, Queenie, that didn't seem to thrive like the others. She was smaller and seemed tormented by her peers. So my husband came up with an idea. Maybe she could catch up if we separated her from the flock. We decided to put her in the stall with Meemaw, our ewe.<br>Months passed and Queenie grew and continued to live with Meemaw. Imagine my amazement when the ewe would emerge from her stall with Queenie hanging on her back!<br>Mary Rodman, Durango, Colorado <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • Backyard coop

    One afternoon we went to the feed store and picked out three little White Leghorn peepies. After looking at chicken coops, we picked the one that would best fit our needs. It is 4 feet wide, 8 feet long, and 8 feet tall. The house portion is 2 feet by 4 feet and raised off the ground 2 feet. <br>The house has a door in front with a ramp providing access for the hens. It has a window on each side, and the nest boxes come out the back with a lifting lid for outside access to the eggs. The feeder and water dispenser are placed under the house, which gives the hens plenty of room inside the coop. <br>Soon after construction, we got two Rhode Island Red hens. At the present time, we have four Rhode Island Red hens -- Lucy, Wilma, Thelma Lou, and Helen -- and one of our original Leghorns -- June.<br>Andrew Shook, Bethlehem, North Carolina <br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
  • A true pet

    We've always had a houseful of animals: cats, dogs, rabbits, pet mice, hermit crabs, and more. But I don't think my boys knew the true meaning of a pet until we had our first shipment of chicks arrive. The boys were immediately smitten with the little fuzzy chicks and quickly named all 25. They held them every day and fed the chicks treats from their dinner. Their love of these birds didn't end when the chicks grew adult feathers. <br>My oldest two boys, ages 5 and 7, spent hours in the chicken yard carrying the birds, feeding them, and holding chicken races. They can tell each and every bird apart -- even the ones that look like twins to me. The birds respond accordingly. They run from my husband and me, but they squat and wait for the boys to pick them up. I think we have found a pet for life.<br>Sarah Toney, Greenback, Tennessee<br>

    Date Published: April 13, 2012
    Date Updated: December 2, 2013
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