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Seven months ago, we brought home a dozen adorable, fuzzy, sweet little chicks. I had dreams of going into the backyard and grabbing fresh eggs in the morning. I could watch the hens pecking around in the grass, and it'd be a lovely urban farm/backyard oasis right outside my home.
Then we started raising chickens and reality hit home. Here are three things no one talks about when the discussion of backyard chickens comes up.
1. Chickens Poop a Lot
People say to figure out how many chickens you need by how often they lay and how big your family is. No one tells you to also factor in how much chicken poo you can stomach.
For our family, 12 chickens was the perfect number of eggs. However, 12 chickens create way more chicken poop than I can stomach being around. It's a pretty big factor in how many chickens you want to raise.
2. Some Chickens are Insanely Loud
Every chicken forum I've been on has a comment somewhere deep in a thread that says: I have a hen who sounds like a rooster. Help!
The people working at the feed store don't discuss this when you buy your ladies, nor do the chicken raising books I've read. Some hens are loud. It's just their personality.
So, if you're raising only hens in hopes of not disturbing others, think again. A bossy hen can ruin the solitude you're hoping for, unless you love the way a honking goose or a yodeling chicken sounds. We had one of each.
3. Chickens Don't Eat All the Bugs
One of the alluring things about chickens is that they eat bugs. I heard they were great for controlling pests like scorpions or crickets.
We have some great foragers, but they don't eat the crickets that plague us in the summer time, or the ants. Now we still have bugs, but we can't use pest control because we have free-range chickens.
Raising chickens has been a fun adventure, but I wish I'd been better prepared for some of these things. Their eggs are gorgeous, multi-colored and dark yellow yolked.
It feels like Easter every day with the kids going back and searching all over the yard for pale blue, green, and brown eggs. The runt of the flock is my Princess's baby. She carries "Little April" around like a mama and strokes her feathers while she talks to her in a soft voice.
The boys have learned how to work hard to help keep them alive. I wouldn't take it back. However, next time, we're getting fewer chickens.