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Monday, September 8, 2008

Swingin' Chickens

Welcome to the Swingin’ Chicks: Three backyard chickens and their starring act on the outskirts of St. Paul, Minnesota. I’ve decided to write this to let everyone know how easy it is to raise a couple of chickens in a suburban backyard. I’ll write about the many joys but also let you in on a few of the problems that have come up. I knew nothing about chickens before I brought home my 1-day-old chicks, but I’ve learned along the way. They’re warm incredible pets with amazing personalities who lay gifts of eggs almost every day. I’m also passionate about simple good food and decided to raise chickens because of the incredible taste of fresh eggs. I’ll therefore pass along a few original recipes now and then that I feel are worth making. (See the post below for my favorite pancakes.)

To introduce you to the chicks, Roxanne, a buff Orpington, is the leader of the trio. Her fluffy golden feathers should evoke images of Las Vegas showgirls. Instead, her wide hips give her a matronly look not dissimilar from a certain “pantsuit brigade” I admire. She uses those hips to push the others aside and is a born leader keeping the other girls in line.

Cleo is an Araucana/Ameraucana, a mixed breed otherwise known as Easter egg chickens because of the colored eggs they lay. She is the sweet chick. She runs over to join me when I sit on the stairs of the deck and climbs onto my lap snuggling in. She loves to be petted and hugged.

Crazy Lulu is my other Easter egg chick but she has the opposite temperament. I’ve never held her; in fact I’ve never been within an arms reach of her unless she’s in the coop and half asleep. Nevertheless, she lays beautiful blue eggs and she’s prolific.

The girls live in a royal blue Eglu made by the Omlet Company of Great Britain. I love it and the chicks love it. It’s a thoroughly modern practical coop that looks great in the backyard and comes with everything you need to raise 3 to 4 chickens including a fox-proof run. It’s also portable—not convenient to transport mind you—but doable if you’re going away for a couple weeks and need someone elsewhere to watch them. Check out the link.

This is the second year that I’ve had my chickens and they’re now heading into their second fall and winter, which is certainly the most difficult time for all of us here in Minnesota. I’ll be writing periodically through the year about the chicks’ health and lifestyle, and sharing some photos of them as well. I hope this blog will entertain but perhaps more importantly inspire some of you to join in the backyard chicken “revolution.” So for now, welcome.

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