This weekend has zipped by! I feel like I have been busy but for the life of me I can’t tell you what I have been busy doing. Not a feeling I like to have because it makes me tired without seeming to have a reason.

I suppose much of what I have been doing is planning and that is mental work that doesn’t have anything immediately to show. What kind of planning you ask? Chickens!

We will be getting them as babies only a couple days old. They will be living indoors with us for a while in a brooder. My chicken book says it definitely does not have to be anything fancy, it just has to be big enough. It suggested big plastic tote bins or even sturdy cardboard boxes taped together. Since I have access at work to free paper boxes that are quite sturdy, we are going to build their home out of those. I have two boxes already. I think we will ultimately need four. But if we need more that will be easy enough. So brooder solved.

In the bottom under the bedding we will put old cookie sheets to keep the cardboard from getting damp and to make cleaning easier. We can then also use the cookie sheets out in the coop beneath the roost to make cleaning up easier there too.

I have a checklist of other items we will need including bedding, feeder, waterer, heat lamp and baby chicken food. We will get all of that in February when we order the babies. Then we will have time to get everything set up but there won’t be a long time to wait after that before the girls move in. I will be sure to have my video camera battery charged and ready so I can share the fluffy cuteness with you.

We have also finally decided what breeds of birds will be in our small flock. Our chicks will come to us via Egg Plant Urban Farm Store and they have eight breeds to choose from. Unless they tell us when we order that our chosen mix is not a good idea we will be getting one Rhode Island Red, one Ameraucana/Easter Egger (so named because they lay green and blue eggs), one australorp, and one barred rock. We decided one of the advantages of getting four different breeds is being able to tell them all apart.

And yes, we have names for them already. Since we are getting four, we have decided to call them The Dashwoods. Which one will be Elinor, Marianne, Margaret and Mrs. Dashwood remains to be seen. We have plans once the coop is completed to paint it up as Barton Cottage with a faux brick paint job. Why not? There will be no Mr. Willoughby or Colonel Brandon or Edward Ferrars, only the ladies. I wouldn’t mind a rooster, but the city requires I get 100% approval from all my neighbors within crowing distance. Stupid city regulations.

While we are on the topic of stupid city regulations, let’s talk about those for a second. My neighbors can have big dogs that bark at all hours and none of them require permission from anyone. For me to have four hens that hardly make any noise at all I have to get permission from 80% of my neighbors who live within 100 feet/30.5 m of my property. The city sent me a list of all the addresses I have to solicit and there are fourteen! That fourteen includes four houses across the street from me who will never even see the chickens because they can’t see into my backyard. At least they should be easy to convince to sign the form.

We need eleven signatures. We don’t foresee any problems, we get along well with our neighbors. It’s just having to go through all the trouble of getting their signatures that is ridiculous. Last year the city held hearings to drop this requirement but nothing has yet come of it so we have to jump through that silly hoop.

The Dashwoods will be worth the trouble, right?