In the beginning

Early March 2011: the snow had melted from the rare winter storm that blew through Aiken, SC in late January of 2011. Barry and I were sitting in our 40′ coach (that we also shared with three Labrador Retrievers) and getting a severe case of spring fever. “We need some chickens!”, one of us said (I wish now I could remember who said it so I could either blame the bad times or take credit for the successes, depending on which one of us it was.) “What a great idea!”, the other exclaimed.  We decided we wanted dual purpose chickens; breeds that would be good for both eggs and meat.  Some research on the internet and we had pretty much decided on Rhode Island Reds (RIR) and/or Barred Rocks.  After a few phone calls, we found Weeks Farm & Garden just happened to have some chicks available. Wonderful!

Our first chicks

So off we go to Weeks to get our new little chicks.  We wanted about 20, preferably all RIR and we wanted a few cockerels.  Gotta keep the production going! In a few hours, we arrive back home with a box full of little chicks – 21 to be exact.  Ten RIR pullets, 8 Barred Rock pullets, and 3 RIR cockerels. Plus, waterers, feeders, medicated chick feed and all the other appurtenances and accessories needed to start your own breakfast farm. I am so excited!  My first chickens! Somewhere among the dreams of delicious fresh eggs, reality hits and the question is raised, “Where will we keep them?”  Remember, we are living in a 40′ coach with three Labrador Retrievers.  Somehow, we have to keep these little chicks warm, safe, and dry until we can get a coop built for them. If you’re not familiar with the layout of an RV, allow me to draw a mental picture.  

Do you know what a shotgun house is?  Well, it is a long house with one room after another; sort of like a chain of rooms.  So you have to go through the living room to get to the kitchen and from there to the bathroom and the bedroom.  Same with a coach: there is one bathroom, one bedroom, and to get to either you have to go through the living room and kitchen.  So where do we put the chicks?  Easy – in the bathroom!  Hubby built a temporary box for them in our shower (yes, in our shower – do you know what a PTA bath is?), thinking we would have the coop built long before they were ready for the great outdoors.

I have often said that Barry should have been a mechanical engineer.  He can envision anything in his mind and then go off and build it.  No plans, scratched little pencil drawings, and a vision is all he needs to build the most amazing things!  Although it wasn’t quite ready when the chicks were fully feathered, it was pretty darn close.  Pictures of the progress of that first coop are posted here.

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