Honeychick Homestead

Homestead, Health, and Happiness


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Goodbye Mr. Rooster, Hello Rocky

My first experience with chickens has definitely been exciting! As I shared the last time I wrote about my chickens, we ended up with a rooster who we called Roadrunner because he ran so fast. Here’s the video of him getting out his first crow:

Because our home is zoned R-1 residential, we are not allowed to keep roosters, so we had to exchange him for a hen. I was bummed because I thought it would’ve been super cool to raise my own baby chicks from my flock! I am sure most of my neighbors were happy to see him go, hearing a rooster crow at 6 am isn’t everyone’s cup of tea!

My first attempt to catch him by myself to bring him back to the farm, failed miserably. Thankfully, we came up with a good plan how to catch him, this all happened before our chicken condo was built so we couldn’t get inside the coop. Chasing him around our orchard was another thing I tried but that was also a failure, like I said, he was fast! Continue reading


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Introducing….My Egg Laying Ladies!

I FINALLY have hens! If you follow my Facebook page, this is old news 🙂

It’s taken me 2 years to add these ladies to my little homestead and I felt this summer was a good time to take the plunge. I’m glad I waited until I was ready, because the 30 days since their arrival kept me busy and it’s be huge learning experience.

In my humble opinion, I think bees are WAY easier and I’m so glad I started with bees!

I decided to skip the cute, cuddly chick part, and instead get 16 week old, ready to lay hens. I chose this option because I don’t believe in supporting factory farms and it seemed like most hatchery’s are baby making factory farms for chicks. One hatchery I felt comfortable buying from (Sand Hill) had a minimum order of 25 chicks. Starting with 25 felt super overwhelming! Sand Hill only sells chicks straight run, meaning they do not sex them, so I may have ended up with several roosters.

Even though baby chicks would’ve been cute, I thought it would be tons of work and didn’t feel like I had the time. I also didn’t want to accidentally end up with a rooster, I’d love fertile eggs but I’m not allowed to keep a rooster because of my zoning.

I contacted Live Earth Farm, a local farm who provides my vegetable CSA, to see if they had hens available. They recommended I contact Root Down Farm located about 30 miles north. I was so glad to learn about Root Down Farm, the owner, Dede is super friendly and she’s raises heritage breed Delaware, Chantecler, and Plymouth Rock chickens. Her farm is also animal welfare approved.

The day I called, Dede said she’d have ready to lay hens available in near the end of July. This was perfect timing, so we set a date and on the evening of July 26th, I picked up six hens. The rest of this post is a picture gallery sharing what’s transpired over the last month, enjoy! Continue reading

Thankful Thursday #3 – Tour De Coop

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Is it Thursday already?!? This week has gone by fast! This week I’m so, so thankful I’m slowly starting to feel better after a few rough months!

It’s been such a blessing to feel good. I think the yucky antibiotic “left overs” from my most previous treatment plan are clearing out, and I’ve been feeling about 80% most days during the past week. I’m hopeful things will stay stable for good.

Feeling good allowed me to attend a fun event that I heard about last year called the Silicon Valley Tour De Coop. This FREE, family friendly event is a bike ride throughout various Bay Area neighborhoods. Urban homesteaders open their back yards for the entire day, and share gardening, chicken keeping, beekeeping and other homesteading tips.

My husband and I enjoyed the last weekend of summer biking through the Rose Garden neighborhood near downtown San Jose. He went to high school in this neighborhood, so it was fun to tour his old “stomping grounds.”

I’m thankful for all the volunteers who organized this cool event, the wonderful homesteaders who warmly invited us into their yards, and all the friendly attendees we met on the tour.  Take a look at a few pictures from the ride! View the pictures →

This gallery contains 28 photos


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Chicks arriving soon!

I want chicks, I REALLY, REALLY do! I can’t wait to cuddle those cute, yellow puffballs! What I don’t want is to do is get in over my head!

I’ll get chicks in a few months. I started with bees first, because I want to give them the best chance at survival. Getting a hive started in the spring allows them plenty of time to get established, and store plenty of honey for the winter.

In the meantime, I’ve been researching chicken breeds, and so far, the Orpington is my first choice. From what I’ve read, they are friendly, gentle, hardy and good egg producers. This sounds good to me!

The other breeds I’m considering are Plymouth Rock, and Black or Red Star. Plymouth Rock’s are described as friendly, intelligent, good egg producers and laid back. Black or Red Star’s are also described a friendly and good layers. Apparently, the Red Star’s have different feather colors when they hatch, so it’s easy to make sure you get a female.

I have my coop, it just needs to be assembled, and predator proofed. The hens will be able to roam free in our fenced, orchard area. They’ll have plenty of bugs and grubs to munch on!


 

I’d love to hear your recommendation on breeds, predator proofing, and any other tips for this brand new hen keeper.