Backyard chickens have been a dream of Nick and I’s from before we got married. We aren’t the farming type, but do enjoy spending time outdoors with our kids and having a variety of hobbies that keep us entertained. In this instance it also keeps us fed. One of the perks of moving to Tullahoma, Moore County is that other folks are like-minded in hobby farming and having pets like chickens. It’s not uncommon to have a gaggle of guineas forage through your front yard and at various times, neighbors have had rabbits to raise and goats without mothers to nurse into adulthood. We enjoy this.
We like to keep things simple. We bought a boxed chicken coop from Tractor Supply and pieced it together within the confines of our fenced back yard. The chickens eat scraps from the kitchen and standard feed and treats from the store. During the summer we’ve given them blocks of ice to chunk at and we love to let them loose on our little half acre to eat the ticks and mosquitos each day.
Our birds came to us from local farms! Tennessee is full of farmers who sell exotic chicks – or you can responsibly purchase the sweet chicks during TSC’s “Chick Days.” Two of our birds came from Golden Gait Farms right down the road in Shelbyville, TN. They specialize in exotic birds and we were able to purchase a fluffy gray colored Silkie and a gorgeous Ameracauna that lays an almost white, blue egg. Our four other ladies are excellent layers that we were given by my sister to the boys for Christmas last year from their farm Benderman Farm. Although the Benderman’s do not specialize in birds for purchase, they do specialize in some super tasty birds for dinner in addition to a large variety of farm fresh products!
We get roughly six backyard-farm-fresh-eggs everyday and the boys love getting to chase their feathered pets in the backyard when they’re roaming free. I didn’t think I’d love having them as much as I do, but they really are a relatively low maintenance, high ROI pet to have. Not to mention the opportunity to share a half dozen of the Ferrell Flock’s finest eggs with clients and friends! About how much more Southern could that statement have sounded?
If you have considered pet chickens and your local codes allow you to have them – my advice is go for it! Start small, keep it simple and reap the rewards of these funny creatures in your own back yard. I promise, you don’t have to wear overalls and get up at 4am everyday to make this fun farm-esque experience…unless you really want to.