How the love started

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Some time ago my husband, Ben, wanted chickens. I thought “Chickens??? – we already have two dogs, two rabbits, some kakarikies (parakeets) and I was taking care of them, not Ben. I thought “what are we going to do with chickens – I want nothing to do with it”. But Ben kept on saying he wanted chickens!

 When we finally bought a house of our own with a garden and more space, we went searching for a nice chicken coop. After a few months we found one, but the place in the garden where it supposed to be was not ready, it was a mess! After we bought the chicken coop, it was standing in the garden for 9 or 10 months. Because my husband was the one who wanted chickens so much, I was not doing any research on poultry, Ben was the one who should do that, because he was the one who wanted those birds!

After a while I was talking about it with a colleague of mine, when a customer who had been listening to our discussion said “I have 200 chickens and you can have a few for free!!” He wrote his address and number on a paper and gave it to me; I said I would call him as soon as everything was ready. After a few weeks this man called my workplace and asked the receptionist “where is this girl who wanted some chickens – when is she coming to fetch them”? I contacted Ben and we agreed we would pick them up the next Saturday.

The farmer’s chickens were free-range in a large orchard and took care of themselves, roosting in a high tree at night. The farmer enticed some chicks to the barn and locked them in for us, but now we had to catch them! Or better – Ben had to catch them, and what a task that was – they were so hysterical, we were worried for them. Finally they were caught and placed in a box. To be honest, we did not see what the birds looked like, so it was a big surprise when we got home. We put them into the chicken coop with my rooster and all hell broke loose again. I was thinking “Oh my God, what have we done?”

I was reminding Ben of the fact that HE wanted those animals and that these chickens were HIS pets and that he had to take care of them!! The next day I sat down in the chicken coop to look at them and afer a few minutes they came to me!! And after a few hours they were eating out of my hand!! When I discovered how curious they were, I became very interested in those animals and I started to read about chickens on the internet. Ben already found out that those chickens were “welsumer-bantams”.

One week later I saw a book called “Chicken-encyclopedia”. I bought it and started reading it…. I read about care, illness and diseases and other subjecs and I came to the conclusion that we started very bad!! We totally did not know how to take care of those chickens! But from that moment I decided that must change! After a week the chickens were so tame, that they were eating grass out of my hand! After a few weeks we made the coop a little bigger, because I was thinking it was much to small for them…

 In the mean time the chickens were growing on me and I really wanted to hatch eggs with an incubator!! I bought a very simply incubator and placed 6 eggs in it. In the mean time I was reading in that chicken-encyclopedia and I found out that I really loved the orpingtonbantam, notably the blue ones! I saw a picture of two blue orpingtonbantam-hens and I was very excited!! I did not knew before there were such kind of chickens on this earth! From that moment on I started searching for blue orpingtonbantams! In the mean time 4 hatchlings came out of the incubator which I raised with my own hands!

A Neighbour told me that he was looking for 2 hens. “Nice!” I was thinking “in that case I can keep that nice cockerel and this lovely brown hen and then I will buy 2 blue orpiungtonbantams “. The hatchlings, which I made very tame, were 6 weeks in the mean time, when I found 2 blue orpingtonbantams on a marketplace! Those bantams were 3 weeks old and en sexed hens, the breeder said.

Totally excited we brought them home with us. More and more I found out that the orpingtonbantams were the exact chickens for us and I did not like it that the welsumers seem to need more space, cause they were used to it! I made an advertisement on a marketplace that I was having welsumers for free and that people with a lot of space could get them! The same evening I got a call of a boy in our village that he really wanted to have them. We brought the chickens to his house by car and when we saw their new home, we left them there with very good feelings. They would live in paradise there!!! The baby-chickens went to our neighbours and we started to breed with: ORPINGTONS!