Ever wonder what happened to the chicks from last year? Swansons’ employees Molly & Chad brought two of them home with them last summer. I sat down and talked with Molly about the benefits of backyard eggs, weeding with “friends” and life in general with two (now full-grown) chickens.
Aimée: So, how are our feathered friends?
Molly: Buttercup and Coco are doing great!
Aimée: You adopted them last summer when they were only a few months old. How did they adjust to their new surroundings?
Molly: Well, we had a coop ready for them and they loved it – they just moved right in. Their diet, however, got a bit of an adjustment. At Swansons they were eating grains and some lettuce, but at our house we started feeding them all kinds of kitchen scraps as well. At first, they looked at us like “what do we do with this? We don’t eat this!” but now they love all the veggies we give them. Lettuce is still their favorite but they also love corn on the cob and even grapefruit! We grow planter boxes of kale next to the coop and they love it. It’s their personal salad bar.
Aimée: That’s great. They are some very well-fed chickens. Speaking of good food, how do you like having freshly laid eggs at your fingertips?
Molly: It’s amazing. Breakfast has never been so good. The eggs are so flavorful: nice and creamy with really dark, gold yolks. They are delicious. Our neighbors love them too.
Aimée: So you must be getting a lot of eggs. Did they start producing right away?
Molly: Buttercup has always been a steady producer but Coco didn’t lay a single egg all winter. Now, though, she’s a laying machine. They are each dutifully laying at least one egg a day!
Aimée: I’m so jealous. There’s really nothing like fresh eggs.
Molly: Even the shells are much harder; they don’t crack so easily.
Aimée: Did you have to do anything specific to keep them warm and safe over the winter?
Molly: We kept a lot of shavings on the floor of the coop to help keep them warm and we closed the doors earlier so they wouldn’t get any cold drafts in the evening, but they didn’t seem to mind the cooler weather. They didn’t like the snow though. The first time it snowed, they gingerly walked about ten steps and then they were like, “we’re done” and wouldn’t come back out again.
Aimée: I don’t blame them! Now that the weather is nicer, do they have the run of the yard?
Molly: They stay in their coop during the day but Chad and I let them out when we get home. They follow us around the yard like a mini parade. They've learned that if we're doing yard work, worms are sure to follow. Buttercup will stand right in front of you, or between your feet while you weed, and she darts out as soon as she sees a worm.
Aimée: That is hilarious. I can’t picture it. So do they have noticeably different personalities?
Molly: Buttercup is a ham. She loves people and attention. Coco is a little more timid and hangs back, but they’re both friendly and have even made friends with all the neighbors.
Aimée: Dare I ask – what makes chickens happy?
Molly: Like I said, buttercup is happiest when she’s getting attention, “helping” me weed or hanging out and exploring the yard with our teacup yorkie, Darvin. It’s hilarious because Buttercup is bigger than Darvin. Coco is a bit shy, but she's been loving the sun lately. I recently found her nestled in the front garden – she dug herself a little bed to sleep in – taking a sun bath.
Aimée: They sound right at home. Thanks so much for taking the time to talk with me. I’m sure everyone would love to hear more about Coco and Buttercup from time to time.
Molly: You’re welcome. I’ll definitely keep you updated!