One Week With Chickens: 5 Things We've Learned

It's been one week since we brought home our new chickens!

We ordered 4 ready-to-lay red sexlink pullets.  These are quiet, friendly hens that are easy to care for and that will lay one egg almost every day.

We did a ton of research on how to care for them, how to build a coop, and what to expect.  But you know what they say: experience is THE best teacher!

We've learned so much over the past week, and I know we have lots more to learn.  Here's what we've discovered so far:

1. Our young chickens are still learning.

We knew we'd have to show them where the coop was, but we didn't realize we'd have to teach them how to go on the roosts to sleep at night.  We originally had just two roosts.  One is about 2 feet off the ground, and the other about 3 feet high.  That was too high for our new chickens!  My husband had to quickly build a shorter, portable roost for them (about 18 inches high), and currently only one has made it to the higher roost.  Even then, he had to put them on the roost for the first few nights.  Last night (their 6th night with us) was the first time all 4 made it onto the roosts themselves.

2. They were scared of everything.

We have a very curious cocker spaniel on the other side of the fence from us.  It sticks it's little nose up to the fence and watches the chickens through the cracks.  The dog hasn't once barked or growled at them, and yet, the chickens are just now realizing that they don't need to freak out when they see it.  

They still run away when I use the garden hose near the coop, and if there are any loud noises.  They're just now getting used to the barking from yards farther away.

3. They love scratching through the dead leaves and grass from our yard.

Because we're in a neighbourhood, we don't let the chickens out to free range.  But we do rake up dead leaves and grass and dump it in their run for them to peck at and scratch through.  I feel like we'll never have to buy a yard waste bag again -- we can just give it all to the chickens!

4. They're very curious.

Whenever we go into the yard to do other things, the chickens will pop their heads up to see what's going on.  If a squirrel runs across the fence in view, they stop what they're doing to watch it.  And now, they're starting to learn that if a human comes near the chicken run, chances are, there will be treats like seeds or blueberries.

5. They really don't like dirty water.

We have a watering setup that only needs to be refilled every 4-5 days or so.  But the self-filling water bowls do need to be cleaned out daily, otherwise the hens will avoid drinking the water.  With the temperatures the way they've been around here, it's essential that they stay well hydrated.  So, daily cleaning it is!

We've been really enjoying learning so many new things about raising chickens.  We haven't had any eggs yet, but from what we've read, we can expect the chickens to start laying after another week or so.  I'm sure we're learn even more then!

If you've had chickens, we'd love to hear your advice!


  1. Chickens sound like a lot of fun! Since they are low on the food chain, I can under why they are nervous and scare easily. I can’t wait to read more posts about them!

    1. Yes, they're so much fun! I'm sure I'll be posting regularly about them 😊

  2. Chickens are so much fun. Give them scraps from the kitchen, just about anything they will eat. Just no tomatoes, beans, or onions.

  3. Congratulations! I think it would be a lot of fun to have chickens, but the zoning laws prevent us from having them.

  4. Oh what fun!! I've always wanted chickens but never had the chance. Can't wait to read more.

  5. How cute! I wish we were able to have chickens. It's not allowed in our area.

  6. I want chickens. Now to convience my husband that we need them.

  7. I love having chickens. We have them and love them. They are always very curious.

  8. Oh yaaaay! Congrats and what a fun new chapter for you. Good luck!

  9. Chickens are so fun to play with! My kids always play with our chickens. Thanks for sharing this with us - Richelle Milar

  10. My husband had a lot of chicken in our backyard, and my kids always play with them my son even tried to teach his favorite chicken how to sit lol - Rose Ann Sales

  11. I've always been curious about raising chickens, and your experience shared in this article gives such a wonderful glimpse into what it's like.

  12. Owning chickens was definitely a learning curve for us too. Fun tip, if they start displaying brooding behavior be sure to remove those eggs and encourage them to get out and about!

  13. I haven’t ever had chickens but I’ve heard they are fun to have around. I look forward to hearing more stories about them.


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