How I got started raising chickens

A chicken from the flock we had in 2011.

My parents first started raising chickens in the early 1970s.

When I was 6 years old, we moved to a small town in southeast Texas.

We built a coop and bought a small flock of meat chickens and began raising them in our small backyard. Soon I learned how to help pluck chickens.

A few years later, we bought an acre and a half in the country and moved there. It was a beautiful area, with large pecan trees, and located right next to a creek.

We started raising a larger flock of chickens for both meat and eggs.

We borrowed a friend’s incubator. A round, metal tabletop model.

Some of our neighbors had chickens, and from what I remember, we got fertile eggs from them and a few other sources and started hatching.

Most of what we hatched were crosses between Rhode Island Reds and other varied breeds. As a result, we had black Rhode Island Reds, traditional red Rhode Island Reds, and mostly white Rhode Island reds.

That was our flock for the next few years, and it became my responsibility to take feed and water them and gather eggs.

They produced plenty of eggs, and we occasionally processed some for meat.

In my teenage years, we sold the property and moved several hours away to a city. I didn’t pick up raising chickens again until I was in my mid-20s.

My wife and I married in 1990. About two years later, we moved onto a rented plot of land — about 2 1/2 acres — and started raising a small flock.

Over the years since then, we’ve nearly always had chickens (and at times ducks, steers, and now turkeys). All four of my children have grown up learning to raise and care for chickens.

Some of the types we’ve raised are:
– Bantams
– Silkies
– Red Stars
– New Hampshire Reds
– Production Reds
– White Leghorns
– Buff Rocks
– Black Stars
– Black Australorps
– Barred Rocks
– Easter Eggers
– Assortments, with Speckled Sussex, White Wyandottes and a variety of other breeds
– Turkens

I’m now starting  to go full circle and to begin crossing different breeds. My goal is to come up with a locally well-adapted chicken that has the exact traits that we need for this area plus other specific traits that I’ll discuss in future articles.


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