Adding to our flock

We’ve spent the better part of these past two years figuring out how to care for and utilize the space we have.  We didn’t plant a garden the first year but waited instead to see where the summer sun would be hottest.  Then last year we had a baby due right at the peak of harvest season so we (wisely!) decided to forgo the garden and joined a CSA for produce instead.  Our hens are getting older and aren’t laying as predictably as before.  That, coupled with the fact our kids would like to sell eggs (and already have customers waiting!), meant adding to our laying flock.  Which meant chicks.  Which meant having a brooder space for them to be safely out of Finn’s reach, the cat’s claws and warm enough despite getting them very early in the season.

I didn’t want to add work to my already very hard working husband’s plate.  So the kids and I set out to build a large box-type home for the chicks.  I learned many things about power tools in the process, like using big screws in the impact driver on really dry, cheap wood means splitting the wood at least 50% of the time.  I got splinters.  The box isn’t beautiful.  But it serves its purpose and for that I am proud.  The best part is, we got to work on it as a team, which is always fun…


these loud “chicks” were waiting inside the completed brooder to greet daddy when he came home


nothing quite so fun as going to the post office first thing in the morning to pick up a very loud peeping box of cuteness!



Green eggs and…

At 2 AM Christopher came in, he’d fallen asleep tucking Rylee into bed.  He went out to lock the chickens up for the night.  I’d been asleep for hours.

He says to my sleeping self “So I just went out to the chickens, everything was all opened up and-”

I immediately open my eyes expecting him to say one of the chickens had been eaten.

He continues “I found something.  It is pretty neat.”

I’m too out of it to inquire.

“A green egg” he says with a smile I can hear.

My eyes open again and I jump out of bed and run to the kitchen, flip the lights on and pick it up.  I’d wondered all along if our beloved Bubba chicken, long the favorite of all especially Caleb, would actually lay colored eggs like we expected.  Since the first egg we got Caleb has hoped every day for over a month that his Bubba would lay an egg.  We had initially at two Auracanas to lay us blue/green eggs, but someone accidentally stepped on the other as a baby so she was gone.

So all hopes were laid on Bubba.  And for her first, I expected a faint bit of blue or green on a pale egg.

Instead in the middle of the night in my kitchen, I saw this lovely thing:

sept 09 036

Boy was there a lot of excitement here this morning!  What a fun learning adventure these chickens have been for us!

A long anticipated gift!

After hearing quite the ruckus out in the chicken pen, I went out to check on the ladies.  After rounding up one escapee who had flown the fence in search of all my growing veggies, I peeked inside the nesting box just to see if anything was there.  And lo and behold, there was!  There was quite the buzz of excitement around here, each kid got dibs on who they got to call and tell the news to.  Caleb told Auntie “We growed some eggs from our Blacky!”  So in the course of 10 minutes, the eggs went from this:

august 2009 240

to this

august 2009 242

and this

august 2009 243

to, sadly, this.

august 2009 244

We can hardly wait for more.

They were so delicious and it felt so amazing to have raised these chickens from babies and now to be eating their eggs!

Chicken Cam

So we have not had a chicken post in a while so I thought I would give you a glimpse into the life of a chicken raised on the Strovas Farm by Farmer Rylee, Farmer Caleb, and Farmer Kyler (Audie is not up to farmin’ just yet).

First a few introductions need to be made:

Farmer Rylee

Farmer Rylee

Farmer Caleb

Farmer Caleb

Farmer Kyler

Farmer Kyler

Red Headed

Red Headed

Bubba Scratchin'



Fluff (the white one)

Those are the main players in this world we live in.  The three chickens listed above are by far the favorite.  However, it was quite a strange thing to hear, “Daddy, let’s kill Red Headed tonight!” from my sweet farmer Rylee.  The story goes like this. we have been talking about if we have any Roosters that we are going to either eat them or sell them, but we certainly are not keeping them.  It has been easy to tell that Red Headed is a rooster for quite some time now, but it was not until the last few days that Mr. Red Headed has been testing out his pubescent vocal chords a bit.  So tonight, we listened in a bit while said chicken gave it a go for about five or six crows.  Everyone had a good laugh about it because it just doesn’t quite have the full rooster strength in it just yet.  Karissa then says that we need to do something about that rooster and I say that we need to kill it or sell it.  Rylee gets super excited because she thinks she needs to see how we are going to kill this chicken.  Don’t worry, Red Headed is still with us (I personally would rather sell Mr. Red Headed on craigslist).  It was quite an amusing time, you can imagine.

Fluff has been Rylee’s favorite chicken since they were chicks.  Even before Karissa or I could tell Fluff from the rest of the yellow chicks Rylee could always find Fluff.  Now that Fluff has grown into her (we hope it’s a her) fully white self, Fluff quite remarkable in comparision to the rest of the flock.

Red Headed got his name from being the first rooster through puberty.

Bubba, quite the  name Caleb gave this lovely hen, is not only his favorite, but also Karissa’s.  Bubba is the one chicken that we have that will lay eggs with a bluish or greenish tinge to the shell.

So those are the main players in this daily chicken saga.  Here are a couple pictures that share a bit about their life as chickens in the coop or out of the coop in their 250sf world:

Life in the Coop

Life in the Coop

Life Outside the Coop

Life outside the Coop

Here is a quick breakdown of their day:

8:00am – Farmer Rylee, who has been begging to let the chickens out does so and gives them fresh water

The rest of the day is filled with going in and out of the coop to rest, scratch the ground and look for worms, eat, drink, poop, poop some more, get picked up by one of the little farmers, have a major escape run into the main yard because thanks to one of the little farmers forgetting to shut the gate of the pen when they were done holding chickens, scratch, eat, drink, poop, poop some more, get picked up by a curious neighbor kid, scratch, eat, drink, poop…

Every once in a while a chicken is selected by Farmer Rylee to be held, sung to, rocked to sleep, and placed in the little playhouse for a nap.  The amazing thing is the chicken actually falls asleep and rests on the ground for a real nap.  Tonight, I heard Rylee carrying a chicken singing her own song sung to the tune of “God of this City.”  The little chicken fell right asleep.  HILARIOUS!

8:30pm – stand outside the coop because it is getting dark and the farmer’s have not yet turned ont the heat lamp for them, if the farmers don’t get the idea, they start to make some concerned noises until someone clues in on what is going on.

9:00pm – one by one all of the chickens head into the coop for the night.  They all snuggle right up against each other on the floor or on their roosting poles.

9:15ish – one of the farmers tucks them in at night by taking an official head count and closing up the coop.

They are a lot of fun and have changed quite a bit since they were baby chicks only about 7 weeks ago!

Just Heard Thursday – Chicken Edition


It’s Thursday again and we have been collecting some of the funny things we heard our kids say this week.  We would also love to read about what your kids are saying too.  We just get such a kick out of posts like these.  Here is some of what made us smile this week:

Rylee -“Daddy, Daddy, Daddy…we even dance with them too!”


Caleb (exasperated) – “I am overloaded with chicks.  I have chicks all over me.  (overheard from in the bathroom – we can only hope that any statement like this will only be made in reference to chickens)


Caleb – (holding a tiny chick in his hands up high in dramatic fashion) “The King of the Beasts!”


Kyler – (looking sweetly into the eyes of his chicken) “You a trouble maker.”


Kyler – “Look Mama, I make him go to sleep”


Caleb – “Mama, will you get a kleenex and wipe my chicks bottom?”


Mama – “Why don’t you put yours back and let him rest?”

Kyler – “He told me he not want to go in there.”


(in the middle of a conversation with Mama)

Rylee – “What’s that?  Oh, sorry Mama, Fluff is calling me.”  (she then proceeds to run down the hall to the chicks to grab Fluffy, the fav chicken.)


Rylee – “What are you looking at?”

Mama – “Fluff, I am just looking at Fluff”

Rylee – “What are you looking at fluff for?”

Mama – “I am just trying to figure out what kind of bird Fluff is.”

Rylee – “Mama, Fluff is a chicken!”


Things heard from Mama and Daddy:

“No actually, the chicken is not a sword”

“No chickens inside your clothes”

“Get the chick out of Audrey’s mouth!”

“The chicken is not a fire hose shooting water all over”


What have your kids been saying lately?  Leave some quotes in the comments below, or post them on your own blog (you can even use our logo if you link back here).

Happy Thursday!

Day two-26 for 26

It’s our second day with chicks and all 26 are still here.  They have to be the most loved chicks ever.  Rylee asked to sleep with “Fluffy”.  We had to say no to that.  More on that later. For now, just pictures.


The kids are playing chick daycare.  Above is the naptime location, an unused potty bowl.  After they nap they get play time and promptly poop and run all over the bathroom floor.  It is really a sight to behold and no words do it justice.

The chicks are here!

Before the fun pictures, let me recount our trip to the post office to pick up the chicks.  First of all, going to the post office with four young children is not my favorite thing to do.  I love a challenge and a good adventure, but the post office for many reasons is a big challenge for me.  It’s quiet, people don’t like waiting in the long line, etc.  Nonetheless, it was the only way we were going to get them so we headed out quick as we could.

As soon as we walk in the door I notice there are already 8 people in line.  Bummer.  I tell the kids to stand in line and go up front to ask if we still have to wait in the line if we are just picking up the baby chicks (that I can hear peeping).  Yes.  I go back to the line to find Caleb getting a lecture about climbing up on a small counter (of course, he is a 4 year old boy after all-why would he not want to climb).

Lady in line to Caleb: “Young man, can you read the sign here, it says PLEASE NO CHILDREN CLIMBING ON COUNTER.  Get down from there right now or the workers will come out and get you.”

Me (slightly annoyed that someone else is threatening my son): “He can’t read that but Caleb do get down, we aren’t supposed to climb up there okay?”

No problem.  He gets down promtly and I tell them to walk down to the other end of the room and then walk back to me.  They do, and I notice there is an empty popcorn cart down there, perfect to check out and walk around.

Another lady in line (with as sour a face as you can imagine):  “They are touching the cart, oh my the cart is moving, they shouldn’t be playing with that (she gasps).”

I note that there is no sign anywhere saying do not touch the cart, and my kids are gently opening and shutting the doors and rocking it back and forth on its wheels which could be locked but are not.  They are laughing.  They are excited.  They are taking in the world.  Seeing how things work.  They are not out of control, they are merely observers and participators.  I’ll stop here, because this is a whole other blog post about how people expect children to act just like grown ups when in fact they are not-they enjoy life in a much louder and far less inhibited way that we do.

I plan to ignore her but my blood pressure is quickly rising.

Same lady again: “Oh dear, that must be an antique, yes I’m sure it is.  It is definitely an antique.  Oh my, not good, they should not be there.”

Me (now I have to say something):  “I’ll go check (I walk down and back).  Nope, actually it’s just made of cheap plywood, not an antique and they aren’t breaking anything, they are just seeing how it works.  They are just fine.”

Now, very agitated and upset lady: “Still they should not be down there, it’s not good.”

Me (now trying to not completely blow a gasket): “You know, are these your children?  No I didn’t think so.  I said they are JUST FINE.”

My heart is now beating through my chest.  I literally bite down on my tongue to avoid saying what I want to say which is: It is rude, crabby people like you that ruin other people’s days and make me stressed out to come to the post office.  Keep your unpleasant thoughts to yourself and mind your own business.

It is silent except for the sound of the peeping box and my happy children who can’t wait to get their chicks.  I feel like everyone is holding their breath.  Now 14 people are in line.  We are next.  I count to ten in my head, gather the kids and we make our way to the counter.  Our moment has arrived and despite all that has transpired in the last 10 minutes, we announce we have come for the chicks.  The kids squeal and I bring the box down and we move out of the way so that I can open it and we can peek at them.  They are as darling as we expected.  It takes me about an hour to calm down.  Goodness it’s amazing the impact people can have, for good or for bad.

Now, here are the pics from our morning:

Will anyone notice if I...?
Will anyone notice if I...
Try to climb in?
...try to climb in?

We are ready…

…for the chickens.

Our sweet friend Justin made a long drive down south to come spend a very long day with us building us a chicken coop. He and Christopher worked nearly 12 hours with a great deal of ‘help’ from our oldest three children.


The kids are totally ready too.  All day long we hear chickens.  Even little Kyler is getting it down – baak, baaahhk, baak!  Very fun.  The games have totally shifted as well, now everything is chicken-centric.  Today it was who gets to be in the coop laying the eggs and then one of the chickens was a runaway chicken the chicken farmer had to chase down.  You really need to see them inside the coop pretending to be chickens, it really is too much.  Very fun indeed and the little chicks are not even here yet.  I can’t imagine what will transpire once the much desired chicks actually arrive.  The week of April 13th will be one where we are anxiously awaiting the call from the Post Office – “Is this Christopher and Karissa Strovas?  Yes?  You need to come down to the post office right away and collect this box of chickens.”  That will be a glorious day.  The video camera is all charged up ready to capture that moment for sure.  We don’t know what day they will arrive, but it is supposed be anytime during the week of the 13th.  We will keep you posted for sure!