I own backyard chickens!

Somebody … slap a pinafore on me and grab me a bonnet!  I’m one step closer to becoming Laura Ingalls.

I own backyard chickens!  I get all the fun and none of the Nelly Olsen.  It’s perfect!

When I got my chicks one week ago they looked like this.  Soft and cute and teeny tiny.

One week later they look like this.  Soft and cute and not quite so teeny tiny.

All 6 of them just barely fit in the box now.

This little fellow …

Looks like this after one week …

And the chick with the cute bum?

Her/his bum now looks like this.

This this little puffball …

Is now this little puffball  …

Don’t get your feathers ruffled in a knot, the chicks aren’t living in a cardboard container or an egg carton.  They’re roaming freely in the most luxurious of plywood boxes.  They also have their own warming light.   We hitched a good lookin’ kit up together  in about 5 minutes the day they came home.

First I had to rip into my potting shed which is always so smashed full of stuff I have to clean it 3 times a year for the sole purpose of keeping the producers from Hoarders off my back.

In just a few moments I managed to get a spot open on the windowsill.  Ya know.  An appropriate spot.  Right under the fishing rods and right beside the chop saw.



If you’re thinking of getting chickens also plan on getting snacks.  And beverages.  You see, the second you get chickens you get visitors.  And lots of ’em.  Most of them don’t think to bring their own refreshments.  And at least one of them will ask when the chickens will be ready to eat.  Then they’ll laugh hysterically at their own joke.  Guaranteed.


You should also get a picture of everyone with the chickens when they first come home because they’re only those fluffy little chicks for a couple of days. If you miss that small window of opportunity for picture taking you’ll be forced to get more chicks.  And thusly more snacks.  It’s a vicious cycle.  And a cruel one if you happen to choose to get Chicken McNuggets for snacks.


My niece

And a final warning for anyone thinking of getting chickens … chickens are also a time suck. You’ll spend more time watching them sleep than you’ll spend sleeping yourself. Somehow, that’s O.K.


Now if you’ll excuse me I have a bonnet fitting I don’t want to be late for. And Pa always taught me never to be late.  He also taught me that Nelly Olsen is a self entitled bitch and I was allowed to punch her if I wanted to as long as no one was looking.  Oh wait … no … that’s something my real father would have said.  Nevermind.


  1. Shanelle says:

    I’ve been driving my boyfriend crazy with requests for a puppy. To the point where he would dream of me surrounded by puppies and wake up screaming…(that’s how I knew it was working!).

    Two days ago he came home with two chicks in a cardboard box. They are about a week old and are the cutest things ever. I am completely smitten <3

    We are currently designing the coop! Its terribly exciting.
    I've read what you said about getting at least four chickens, so will drop that bomb tonight…

    I love your articles. Keep up the great writing!

    • Karen says:

      THanks Shanelle! Yes, for one thing one of those chicks might be a rooster! And then you’re out of luck because you’ll only have one hen which really isn’t nice for the hen because they’re so social. It’s hard when you’re getting chicks and not pullets because you don’t know what you have until they’re almost grown! Have fun! You’ll love them. ~ karen

  2. Art Shady says:

    Everything is a time suck, it’s time better spent I think than playing video games, watching soaps, etc. It’s just a matter of what’s important and prioritizing your time. That’s all a schedule is. I think you are spending your time wisely, but I am still an armature chicken owner. That’s why I am here. :-)

  3. Just me says:

    I’d never have guessed that watching somebody else’s chicks would be as entertaining as watching my own chicks videos, but I had to watch to the very end, hoping my hand would find my coffee on its own, so I didn’t miss anything! LOL

  4. Roselyn says:

    Love the nap time video!! Makes me want to break my promise to myself and have a clandestine hatch now instead of waiting for spring. Thanks for the smile, Roselyn

  5. Marshall says:

    I just found your blog and love it! I too have backyard chickens (Ezmarelda, Lady Kathleen and Tillie) and have just recently started getting eggs! What fun! We are having such a blast with these three that there is talk of adding two more (Bourbon and Terryaki – proposed names).

    Keep up the chicken updates!


    • Karen says:

      Thanks Marshall! I’m just listening to the girls scream right now. I’m not cleavering them. Two of them just want in the nesting box at the same time and are having a screaming match over it. ~ k!

  6. I am so jealous! I want some fluffy little balls of chickeny love myself. But there is a town ordinance against them . PTttht.

    • Karen says:

      Jenn – Um … heh heh. Yup. You wouldn’t want to go against a town ordinance. That’s be stupid. Heh. Um … nevermind. ~ karen

  7. Ryan says:

    Those are some cute lil fellas. I’m getting some chickens this summer if everything goes well. I just picked up a few books on how to raise chickens and now I just have to figure out how to build a coop.

  8. Annie says:

    They are so cute! I stopped by here after seeing you at The Nester…it’s one of the first times someone’s writing has so tightly grabbed my attention! I’m a new follower! :)

    • Karen says:

      Annie! Thanks for the writing compliment. I love writing. And I love my chicks. They’re only 2 weeks old now and they’re already getting to be like disgruntled teens. LOL. I’ll be updated about once a week about them. ~ karen

  9. Christina says:

    What if they are all boys? Or what if the one with the cute bum is a boy?! Or what if the little puffball is a boy?!


    • Karen says:

      Christina! Hah! I can’t keep the boys. The boys are bullies and they’re LOUD. They do that whole cock-a-doodle-do thing at 4:30 a.m. The neighbours 10 feet away from the chicken coop probably wouldn’t care for that. And then they might try to burn my house down. So … no roosters. :( And you’re right! Technically they could all turn out to be boys! However, I’ve already found a good home for all the chickens I can’t keep, so that gives me some peace of mind. I hope it gives you peace of mind too. ~ karen

  10. Micol says:

    Hi karen,
    What about the cats?
    Have they show some interest?
    Hugs from italy

    • Karen says:

      Hi Micol! Thanks for the hug. :) My cats are indoor cats so they won’t get a chance to get at the chickens. The chickens are outside in a warming pen in my potting shed at the moment. The only time they’ve seen the chicks is when I bring them in for 5 minutes or so to take pictures of them. So far so good anyway. ~ karen

  11. Carol-Anne says:

    More coops for your viewing pleasure; http://www.backyardchickens.com/chicken-coop-small.html

  12. Pam'a says:

    <–Also had a miniature poodle growing up! Two, actually.

    Nothing to contribute here but peep! peep! peep!

  13. Annika says:



  14. Jerrica says:

    They keep getting cuter! This is so exciting! Have you named them?

  15. karen says:

    what with your blogging and photographing and feeding snacks to the chicken groupies and being a chicken mama you don’t have much time, but i read a great review of a new book titled something like “The Wilder Life” which i am pretty sure you need to read. I know i should have researched the exact title and author before telling you about it but by then i’d forget why i was looking it up. and i am not even new-chicken-mama sleep deprived.

  16. Becky says:

    I’m a little chicken ignorant…I live in Los Angeles so my knowledge of chicken fits in one of these categories: 1) food related 2) something I call my husband sometimes 3) silly game that typically involves two dumb guys and some sort of moving vehicle…

    How do you know whether you have boy chicks or girl chicks? It’s hard to tell though it doesn’t really matter in my opinion because they are all so darn cute!!!

    • Karen says:

      Becky – Hah. I live in Ontario, Canada and I know exactly as much about chickens as you do. However, with most chickens it’s really hard to tell if they’re a girl or a boy until they’re about 4 months old. At which point the boys get the boot. I’m not lookin’ for any drama. Just some egg laying hens. :) ~ karen

  17. Jaclyn says:

    I almost bought a few chicks this spring and while considering chickens I was also considering houing. I found this one at ikeahacker http://www.ikeahackers.net/2009/06/ikea-home-for-chicks.html
    but it looks like I wont be building it until next spring!

    • Karen says:

      Jen – Thanks so much! Those are great inspiration! I’m partial to the the second one, I think it was. The white one with the widows walk! ~ karen

    • Alisha says:

      Oh my! The one made out of the back of a van/hearse(?) is amazing. I also enjoy the one with the green living roof. Hah, I wish I had a living roof on my house.

  18. Cheryl says:

    I can understand a protective instinct with these chicks. A robin built her nest in my porch swing last week and then she didn’t come back – I am half tempted to go out looking for her. If I had a herd of baby chicks I’d probably end up getting one of those baby slings – modified version – so I could carry them around all the time.
    And my father would have given the same advice about dealing with Nelly Olsen.

  19. Susan Whelan says:

    Oh, how well you know dogs! I have a standard poodle that thinks he’s a Charolais cow since the grass started growing. I also have a Jack Russell and every day the neighbours hear me going down the road, “Corky, don’t eat grass. Dewey, don’t eat that! Corky, don’t eat grass! Oh yuck, Dewey, put that down!”
    Of course you could walk them for 8 hours and they would wait until the 9th hour when you went in the house to find a rug to throw up on.
    I wonder if you gave a poodle cut to a sheep if you’d get away with it?

    • Karen says:

      Susan – I LOVE standard poodles. LOVE THEM. I’ve always wanted one. We had a miniature poodle growing up. They’re frighteningly smart. ~ karen

  20. marilyn says:

    how cute are they? sleeping standing up..i can do that too! and karen i can totally see you in a pinafore..and drawers! and a bonnet..lol

  21. sue says:

    So adorable. I love the last chick, who is so tired, he/she can barely stand up. I totally know that feeling; when you’re so tired your eyes are crossing.
    Those are some lucky little babies. Have you changed your mind about keeping all of them, or will room constraints force you to spread the wealth? Can we now expect dropped chicken feather creations from your talented hands? I can just see you in a bonnet adorned with feathers from your babies….bragging how talented your babes are to drop such lovely feathers for you to create with. He,he.

  22. We ARE getting chickens… we’ve already got our eye on some Easter Eggers. Decent egg production, super friendly, and lay colored eggs (blues, greens, pinks, browns, but rarely white!)! :-D I keep looking at chick pictures and my husband keeps reminding me that they’re not pets. I keep reminding him that I won’t name the meat birds. He’s such a spoil sport, but when it comes time for them, I know he will be in there with me and the kids watching them, so I don’t feel too bad! LOL

  23. tina says:

    ahhh, too cute!

  24. rebecca gostin says:

    Yay! Chicks! I am about three weeks out from getting my chicks, I can’t wait. Thanks for the refreshments tip good idea. Love those fluffy fluffs!

  25. Renee says:

    I wish I could have chickens for eggs, but I live in a (small country-setting) city that doesn’t allow it, and my neighbors can see my whole yard, so it would be tricky to hide them!

    I would also love a goat that could mow my lawn for me and generate milk. That would be even harder to hide, unless I could manage to disguise it… are there any goat-sized breeds of grass-eating dog? :p

    • Karen says:

      Renee – There are many goat sized breeds of grass-eating dogs. The problem is they come in your house and throw up on your carpet. Even if you only have a bathmat … that is where they will throw up. :) ~ karen

  26. Shasta says:

    I’ve been so excited to see an update. I can’t believe how much they are changing. I had no idea. One of these days, I too shall have little chicks of my very own. When that day comes, I’m going to be sending you a message and asking how the heck you made it look so easy! :)

    • Karen says:

      This part *is* pretty easy. Like the baby phase when all they do is lay in a lump on the carpet. In a few weeks … I imagine it’ll be less easy! You know … when they start to get into things. ~ karen

  27. Grace Rodich says:

    Ok, so now my fiance wants to build a chicken coop in our back yard. I already have 3 dogs and a cat. I’m going to be “that” lady. Thanks. Thanks a lot.

  28. Leah says:

    Yay! Chicks! :D Congrats! If I wasnt moving to San Francisco soon, I would have chickens.

    • Karen says:

      I guess you should have chickens in San Francisco! If they can take the freezing cold of Ontario, Canada, they can take the “cold” (laughing in my head) of San Francisco. Once when I was in L.A. a girl told me she was excited to move to San Francisco ’cause it got cold enough that she could use her quilt. :) ~ karen

  29. Laura says:

    pssst the video link isn’t working.

  30. Mary says:

    I’m so stoked to see what you come up with for housing! Seriously, I’m living vicariously through you until I get the nerve to do this myself!

    • Karen says:

      Mary – LOL. I would never have got up the never. My boyfriend? He’s got the nerve. :) I’m going on a field trip to see my retired family Dr.’s chicken coop this week! He always liked cows more than coughs. Now he lives on a farm. ~ karen

      • Mary says:

        See…my boyfriend has less nerve than I do, so I’m thinking I’ll be the one to come home with a box full of little chickies and be all, “Surprise, honey!” He’d melt like you did and then we’d be cleaning up poop too until I found a way to build a coop.

        • Karen says:

          Mary – LOL. I guess we’re one in the same. But opposites. Whatever. :) I wasn’t lacking the nerve so much as the gumption to actually go out and do it. When I do things, I do them with a plan with a capital P. I research and plan and plot. I don’t usually do things like this on a whim. Mainly because of things popping up like the looming chicken coop! ~ karen

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