Oh! The chickens!

I just realized I haven’t posted an update about the chickens in way too long!

So here’s a quick catch up. A couple of months ago we had an absolutely heartbreaking morning. Dave, who opens the coop door in the mornings on his way to the garage, came into the house and said, “There aren’t any chickens out there!” My heart sank. I knew they had been locked up tight the night before. My mind skimmed a few scenarios. I threw on my shoes and ran back there, Sophia running behind me. I yelled for her to go back in the house as soon as I saw feathers blowing around the yard. A raccoon had pried open the droppings drawer and managed to get into the coop. There was absolutely nothing left except clumps of feathers, which were everywhere. Poor things. We raised those girls from day old chicks and despite our best efforts, they had suffered a terrible death. All I could think of is how scared they must have been. Needless to say, Sophia was devastated. She was so upset that I let her stay home from school. These were beloved pets that she had cared for with all her heart. She sat in the coop with them, played with them, carried them around in her arms…she really loved them.

Farmer Fifi

So we decided that since we had put so much work into raising backyard chickens, we would need to replace the hens. I spent a day reinforcing the coop with metal latches and then we picked up 2 Buff  Orpingtons and 2 Rhode Island Reds from a local feed store. They’re doing very well and although we miss the Easter Egger girls very much, we’re enjoying the company of the new girls. Every couple of days, we let them free range (or “free style”, as Sophia says it) around the backyard. They clean up all the bugs and grubs and I must say that our plants are looking better because there are fewer pests to chew up the leaves. The chickens even pluck away the weeds!

The girls

We’re currently working with the Village of Brookfield to develop an ordinance that specifically addresses chickens. Currently there is only an ordinance referring to livestock, which backyard chickens are not, and another referencing “noisy pets”, which hens are not. Brookfield is a fairly green-friendly community and I’d be surprised if this doesn’t take a positive turn. There are many gardeners here, lots of residents have installed rain barrels, and we have a great farmer’s market every Saturday…so I just can’t imagine that this is out of scope for the town.

Keeping our hopes high! Any advice on this topic would be greatly appreciated. Thank you!