Wednesday, June 24, 2009

What came first, the chicken or the egg?

In our case, it was the egg(s)...

My husband Kevin and I love animals. We had two cats before we got married and were living together. We always wanted a home with a large property, so we could plenty of room for anything we wanted.

Well, we did end up buying a house with a nice piece of land, but there is no way I would agree to having sheep or goats or anything of the sort roaming around. We have two kids, two very adorable and smart toddlers, a 19-month old son and a 33-month old daughter. Do I really NEED farm animals in addition to the madness these two create? I think NOT!

"What about chickens?", Kevin asks. I still don't know why he all of a sudden decided that chickens would be a good idea, but I said "No". I feel like I am saying "No" to a lot of things lately, but my husband LOOOOOVES "pet projects". Let see...there was a dwarf hamster, fancy mice, a cockatoo, a guinea pig, ferret, rescued baby squirrel, a cat, a hairless cat, another not-so-hairless cat, a another hairy cat, fish...need I go on? In the process, I said "No" to a Sugar Glider. Yes, I said Sugar Glider. As cute as they are....umm..."NO!"

Don't get me wrong, I love animals, I really do. You cannot tear me away from bunnies, and kittens, Chinchillas, puppies, etc...but at this point in our lives, the last thing we need is something that generates more work...and more poop! But I digress...

So I refused to get chickens and yet somehow I got sucked into it. Kevin started showing me pictures of cute Silkie Bantams, with their fancy "hairdos" and furry feet. He promised we would only get a few hens, like 3 or 4, and keep them as pets. In addition, we would have a small egg supply, once they got older. This started to sound appealing to me, and like a fool, I went along with this plan.

I started to look into getting fertile eggs from a nearby farm, started researching affordable incubator solutions. We decided on a small incubator sold on eBay, intended for classroom projects. Once this thing arrived, we were not so sure anything could hatch in there. This thing looked like a mini spaceship, had very primitive design, and even though the instructions were really well-written, it did not look promising.

Nevertheless, Kevin set up the incubator, to ensure proper temperature was achieved and maintained, before getting the eggs. Once he was sure everything looked ready, he went to a local Poultry Farm and bought 4 Silkie Bantam hatching eggs. At $1 a piece, we did not really care what percent of them was going to hatch, and the Farm even agreed to take the chicks back if they turned out to be Roosters.

Into the incubator the eggs went and thus started a 20-day waiting period. I am going to make this VERY long story VERY short...not a single egg hatched. One of them came very close, but died just a few days before "due date". It was quite sad, considering how much effort went into making sure everything was perfect for these little eggs.

Oh, I almost forgot...before we bought the "trial quartet", Kevin wanted to order some 2-day old chicks from a Hatchery in Iowa. New problem...the hatchery will not ship an order smaller than 25 chicks, this is to ensure there are enough in the box to keep warm, and there is NO WAY IN HE** I was going to keep 25 chickens. I placed an ad on Craigslist, hoping that someone would want to split the order with us. The Hatchery says they "sex" their eggs to determine if they are hens or roosters, and since we only wanted hens this would work out great. I got a lot of responses to the Craigslist ads, and before we knew it, we had 3 people in on the order with us.
Kevin spent all of his free time researching different breeds, to make sure we got some really good egg-producing chickens, just in case we ever decided to turn a little profit. It was not long before we placed our order of something like 33 chickens!

The chicks were due to arrive the first week of June and it would be 4-5 weeks more before they are allowed outdoors. This gave Kevin plenty of time to a) build a brooder, b) build a coop, c) figure out how to pay for a & b.

In the weeks leading up to the chicks' arrival, Kevin built a brooder, cleared out the garage to be turned into the chicken coop, cleared out the area behind the garage to be used as "chicken run", installed posts for the "chicken run", and ran out of money. LOL

Finally, we got the call that our precious cargo was going to arrive the next day. Everyone has been asking about the chicks and we could finally tell them they were coming!
Here is how they arrived....

Do you believe there are 33 chicks in this box??? And what kind of a human being puts the shipping sticker over the breathing holes??? Seriously! Thankfully all of the chicks were alive and well!

Aren't they adorable??!! My kids are really in awe from these little gals. And so am I!

Once the chicks arrived, Kevin contacted the 3 people who split the order with us, only to find out that one of them back out! Can you believe it??? So after all said and done, I am now the proud owner of TWENTY TWO baby chicks! This is truly insane! But they are too cute!
This takes me back to when I was little and my mom would buy me a few chicks, every Spring. They would follow me around as if I was their mother. Once they got older, my grandmother would take them to a friend of hers, who owned a farm...

The chicks are drinking and eating, and enjoying some soothing sounds of "Gypsy Kings", LOL, my husband's idea of entertainment for them. They are a little scared, and don't want to be picked up...naturally, but once we are able to "catch" one, it's great holding that little chick in your hand. They are so fuzzy and sweet! They are also growing really fast! Just a few more weeks and the coop will be done, and they will be able to roam around outside. What a site THIS will be! I cannot wait! For now, they are in the brooder, under a heat lamp, in my basement...listening to "Gypsy Kings"...I am still laughing thinking about it. LOL!

Now that we have so many potential egg-layers, I have started to advertise our little "farm" on-line. I signed up at "Hobby Farms" and local farm sites. I have already gotten responses from people, asking me to notify them once the chickens start laying eggs! Everyone loves Farm Fresh eggs.
On the Hobby Farms website, I was asked to create a farm site, and therefore a Farm Name was required. This is how EGGVILLE was born. We live in MontVILLE, we have chickens, the chickens will lay eggs...EGGVILLE! Hahaha! Is this creative, or what?

Please come back soon for more stories from the "Funny Farm"!

1 comment:

  1. This is a great story and a very touching one as well! Your husband is a funny guy, you are so lucky to have met such a gentle soul. Good luck and god bless the both of you!

    yours truly, Kevin Lombardo....