Big News! The crappiest gift ever.
And I love it.

You know how sometimes pictures don’t truly express what you were feeling at the moment?

This one does.

It perfectly captures my reaction to the Easter present I got this year.

Shock, surprise, fear, glee.

What could a cardboard box hold that would create such an extreme reaction?

This …

And not just one … a bunch of them.

Now I’m sure you have questions so I’ll answer a few off the top of my head right now.

What are those things, Karen?
– They are live Peeps.  They’re chickens.

Did you always want chickens?
– Yes.

You must live in the country.
– Um, no.

Then you must have a big yard.
– Um, no.

Do you have any idea how to take care of chickens?
– No.

Will your chickens lay eggs?
– I hope so. That’s the plan.

Do you like eggs?
– I’m actually allergic. Just kidding. Yup. I like eggs.

Do chickens have to live in a chicken coop?

Do you have a chicken coop?
– No.

Do chickens make a lot of noise?
– I dunno.

What kind of chickens are they?
– Mutts kind of. Rhode Island Reds and 1 that’s a cross between a Rhode Island Red, a Columbia Rock and an Ameraucana.

How many are there?
Six.  Problem is I only have room for 2. Once I know if they’re male or female I’ll pick out two females and then I’ll have some chickens to give away.

But not this one …


Or this one …

Or this one ’cause he has such a cute bum.

Or any of the ones that are cute.  Uh oh.

So how did this come to be exactly?  How did I end up with 6 chickens in a cardboard box on my counter Easter morning?



As I’ve mentioned before, my boyfriend is a very conscientious present buyer.  It’s remarkable really the things he picks up on.

Turns out I’ve been talking about chickens a lot over the past few years without even realizing it.  Mentioning that I’d love to have a chicken.  Talking about how much fun it’d be to go outside and bring eggs in from our own chicken.  I’d show him blog posts from Pint Sized Pioneering where Jenn keeps chickens in her urban backyard.  I’d mention how the side yard would be the perfect place to keep chickens.

So I guess he figured … Karen wants a chicken.

Now here’s the thing.  I DID want chickens.  But never in a million years would I have gone out and bought myself some chickens to keep in the backyard. Especially not without some kind of plan.  And a coop.  And a plan.   He on the other hand would.

I apologize for sounding like a proud, new mother but I think they’re the most beautiful babies in the world. I don’t want to completely inundate you today, so I’ve saved some of the best pictures to show you on Friday.  I’ll also have a short little video of the day the chicks arrived for you to watch.

I imagine there’s going to be a huge amount of hijinx and hullabaloo with this new hobby.  A lot of hullabaloo indeed.

And by hullabaloo, I mean chicken poop.  Crap.



  1. Shirley Walker says:

    Oh crap!! They are so cute! I was pleased to find out with my first chicks that most poo is somewhat solid so you can flick it off your lap, shoulder, hair, furniture, etc. Most but not ALL!! I miss my babies but love them as adults too!! Only 2 years into chickens and can’t imagine a day without them.

  2. turbocharger says:

    Saw this years later – is the chick in the photo showing off its rear cuddles? If so, you should totally do a newborn/4 years old photo comparison like people do with their kids.

    • Karen says:

      Ha! That *would* be great. However I don’t have a clue who any of those chicks are, lol. They’re really hard to identify at that age. I tried to keep track of them but it was almost impossible. I guess I could just fake it and pretend it’s her. ~ karen!

  3. Just me says:

    I spas’d & brought home 6 this past May, with no know-how, coop, feed, light, or anything! I had to borrow feed! But I wouldn’t go back to life without chickens for anything… I’ve more pics & movies of them than my own kid, though there were no iPhones 30+ years ago, so I’m saved there, I hope. When they’re not giving me the best eggs I’ve ever had, they keep me laughing with their silliness, chasing flying bugs, their constant joy @ scratching for hidden goodies & the way they run through the yard with their heads bent like they’re running a race… Had no idea life was so boring til I brought The Ladies home with me!

  4. Bonnie says:

    You know what is even cuter than chicks? Ducklings. Really cute.

  5. Mary Werner says:

    I know exactly how you felt. I bought 20 while my hubby was out of town for 3 weeks. They WERE so cute and small. No coop, no plan, just loved them. I know you now know how fast they grow. My plan was keep them in the cardboard box until HE returned. Well when he came home, I was up to 5 cardboard boxes which I changed litter 4 times a day – they stunk! (in a trailer in Florida with no A/C)! I had taken the screens off my windows and weighted them down with books to keep them from jumping out and they had rubbed their head feathers off. Plans are good! I do still love chickens (and coops) and still enjoy the laugh at myself. Thanks for a good 45 year old memory!

  6. Deborah says:

    As a newcomer to your blog, I followed your Easter wallpaper (egg with bum feather) post to this one and then looked up the link for the coop from the couple in Oregon – how dang adorable a coop is THAT?! complete with living roof! Now…excuse me while I go look up the City of Burlington’s requirements/allowances for chickens… Thanks for the inspiration! My husband is gonna kill me :D

    • Karen says:

      Deborah – I don’t believe they’re allowed in Burlington, but I could be wrong. They aren’t allowed where I am either, but all of my neighbours were in board and we live in kind of a “hippie, artsy” area, so no one cares. ~ k!

      • Deborah says:

        You are right, no chickens allowed in Burlington (POOH!) But I do have a cottage on Lake Nipissing up north hehehe… ;)

  7. Heather @ DIYduJour says:


  8. Alie says:

    They are absolutely darling!

    • Karen says:

      Alie – I know! Don’t you love them? It’s been 2 weeks … I’ll have to get some more pictures up ’cause they already look like gawky teenagers. Half covered in fluff, half covered in feathers. :) ~ karen

  9. Pam says:

    I’m here for the first time after seeing your guest post over at The Nester. OMG, those chicks are adorable! What a great boyfriend to surprise you like that.

    I’m looking forward to following your blog!

    Have a great day.

  10. Kate says:

    Good luck! My father in law (who runs a blueberry farm and full garden, keeps bees, and roasts his own coffee- on top of his ‘day job’) tried them, and decided it was a lot of work. Granted, we were going for like 40 meat-birds… a lot less cute when you know they’re dinner soon. :-(
    Hope you have fun!

    • Karen says:

      Kate – Bahaha. Yes, we’re just lookin’ at 2 laying hens here so it shouldn’t be quite as much work. Bees though! They definitely intrigue me! ;) ~ karen

  11. Ellie says:

    I used to have a pet chick and she was perfect and her eggs were the best and I loved her so. We built her a chicken condo with a sky light and a heater for the winter. ♥ ♥ ♥ I miss my Peepers. One word of advice. Don’t hold them close to your eye for snuggling. Your pupil looks a lot like a delicious, peck-able bug. Enjoy your chicks!

  12. saf affect says:

    May I presume you don’t live within the City of Toronto given there is a by-law prohibiting backyard chickens here? :( My dad used to tell me stories of growing up at Queen & Spadina in the 40s and making ‘pets’ of the backyard chicken my grandmother bought at Kensington Market, that would later become dinner.

    Just found this fab site…

  13. Christine says:

    That is awesome! last easter/ birthday a coworker who knew i loved ducks plopped a tiny bright orange creature on my desk! she chirped away all day long.. LONGEST. DAY EVER. but she has been a great pet, noisy at times, but the neighbors dont seemt o mind and the eggs are spectacular. enjoy!

  14. To see how much poop an adult chicken makes, you can watch mine on a live-streaming cam at Then, you can get lots of advice, and a further dose of reality, on my chicken keeping site and blog. But if all you want is CUTE, and Karen’s photos aren’t enough (brilliant photos by the way, my husband, despite huge camera is struggling) you can see my 11 peeps in their brooder on a live cam.
    Karen – if you need any new-chick-mommy hand holding, let me know.

    • Karen says:

      Terry – Thanks! That’s funny. My boyfriend, the one who gave me the chicks, wants me to install a chicken cam. I think it’ll be a while. A long while.

  15. Evalyn says:

    Ahem… finally, the porn we were promised.

  16. dana says:

    Cock-a-doodle-do! Good for you! They are so darling, Karen, and I can tell you are going to be an exemplary chicken mother…!

    • Karen says:

      Michelle – I know! When I first saw the Nogg I loved it. Still do! But for the life of me I can’t figure out how you’re supposed to clean inside the thing. I’m afraid it’s more pretty than practical. It is beautifullll though. ~ karen

      • Michelle says:

        This one says it has a removable base tray…. and hidden wheels!!! I just love pretty and functional.

        Aside from the annoying fact that I would have to buy this as I have no hope of creating a decent copy-cat myself (which is usually my raison d’etre)… I have a feeling that you could only have one of these things lest your yard start looking like a scene from Cocoon. Unless you REALLY want to freak your neighbours out with a few of these, late night squawking and glowing yard orbs… I think that we are both smirking right now. Am I right?

  17. Pam'a says:

    This looks like an adventure truly worthy of you, Karen! My sole helpful hint: I’m thinking that the prosthetic leg lurking in your basement might make a really great perch in the henhouse.


    • Karen says:

      Pam’a – That’s gross. You’re gross. Gross, gross, gross! Maybe I could turn it into a flower pot, though. ~ karen

  18. Shauna says:

    So, I just bought the plans for this chicken coop:

    while not as “craftsman” as I might like, the size is perfect (w/the run) and I love the idea that I can plant an herb garden on the top.

    • Karen says:

      Shauna – Nice! But where do you live that you don’t need the chickens to be in an enclosed shelter? My little chickens would freeze to death in that coop in any months other than July and August! I just ordered Chicken Coops for Dummies and a book on shed building in the hopes of finding something. ~ karen!

      • Shauna says:

        I live in just about the best weather location EVER – San Diego California. If it drops below 50 degrees, I’m pretty sure San Diegans would revolt:) We pay a hefty sun tax and we demand to get our money’s worth. So, now, I’ve printed off two plans I found for free and the one I bought. I’ve taken it home and will sit down with my husband so we can hash it all out. He’s a planner, so maybe by next year, I MIGHT have a coop and chickens;)

  19. fifi says:

    I don’t know if you listen to CBC Radio One, but there is a Debaters episode about chickens in the city as I type. Timely!
    PS – I lived on a farm as a little girl and the chickens were my job. I was NOT a ‘chicken person’.

  20. Angelchinky says:

    O M G they are SO CUTE ♥
    They are THE cutest peeps i’ve ever seen.

    { i regularly read ur website,but i’ve never commented.couldn’t resist now. :P }

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Angelchinky! So it took baby chicks to make you comment, eh? So what do I have to do to get you to comment again? Puppies? Kittens? OH wait! I know! A duckling! :) Off to check on the chicks now. :) ~ karen

  21. mothership says:

    OMG! do we have the same boyfriend?… (I’ve had mine for over 20 years & 3 children, so I guess he’s MANfriend now?)
    almost 2 years ago, he randomly came home… a day late (without calling!.. with my child….grrr) and with 4 baby chicks. Turns out, for years I had been waxing poetic about how cool it would be to have chickens.
    He had to take the next day off to build them a coop! (& work overtime to pay for the materials!)
    He feeds em & changes their water, & trained our dog not to eat them & he eats most of their eggs.. but somehow they are still MY chickens!
    have fun! they are worth it (the boyfriends & the chickens!)

  22. Susan says:

    Hey Karen, Here is a link you will love. When I saw this I wanted chicks! Am jealous.

  23. Shari says:

    Wow – what a great boyfriend! I once mentioned to my husband that I always wanted my own etch-a-sketch when I was a kid and low and behold I got one for X-mas this year. It too was a ‘crappy’ gift. Everything’s made in China now and they don’t make things like they used to so it wasn’t the etch-a-sketch of my youthful memories … but I love the fact that my husband picked up on it. I was beaming for days. Aren’t we lucky?

  24. Cheryl says:
    In this post on the Cottage Hill blog about their backyard, she refers to the coop that was made with a satellite dish for a roof. Brilliant.

  25. Shauna says:

    Okay, I found this site that has free plans – actual plans, with pictures and while ours won’t be quite this big, it looks to be a nice standard place to start so I can start to draw up my own plans (with our measurements), yet know what and where and how I might need to go about planning and designing. Maybe it will help you too:

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