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5 Piece Chicken Nugget

Eight months ago, at the beginning of the end of the world, I had made the choice, finally to get chickens! I am in a place for awhile that I can have them and they will be properly taken care of and loved. The first step of this process was seeing where I could actually get chickens. I had looked every where and called at least five different places, everyone was sold out and/or back ordered. Everyone was at home, so everyone was getting chickens. After weeks of researching I had finally found a place that had some bantam chickens available in Taunton, Mass on Easter 2020.

For the people that do not know, bantam chickens are a breed of chickens that are anywhere from a quarter to half the size of a normal chicken. They will always look like babies! Not every breed of chicken has this sub breed but there are a couple breeds to choose from.

Back to the beginning though. So I end up in Taunton Mass on Easter buying my little nuggets. They were so tiny and of coarse I had to hold them all the way home. I wasn`t driving so I could do this. I had originally only wanted four chickens but the store had a purchase limit of six. Out of those six there was a 10% chance that one of them would be a rooster. A chickens sex is hard to identify until they are about 3 months old. I was one of the lucky ones and got a rooster.

Their names are Peacock (rooster), Penelope, Piper, Priscilla, Neffy, and my second runt Pumpkin.

After getting them home and set up in their container, with their heat lamp all of them were enjoying their time running around being baby chickens, but one, Penelope. Penelope was the runt and she was not doing so well. For two days I hand fed and watered her. She sadly did not make it. RIP Penelope.

Now that they were cozy and warm the next steps were designing and building a coop. I know, I know, I could have bought one but have you ever looked at the prices of those things! The cheapest coop I could find was about $150 before shipping and handling. I was just going to build it myself.

I ended up getting most of the materials for free from friends or friends of family. The only things I had to purchase were some nails, two pieces of plywood, hinges and some locks for the coop doors. It was a total of maybe $40. It didn't take long to gather these and as I was about to start building the coop my nana informed me that I needed an inspection by the local animal control officer. This is needed in this area in case there is any sort of disease outbreak. The town then knows where the chickens are and people can be notified and chickens checked.

When I found out I had to do this I was frustrated because it was another step in the process and I was feeling the pressure of getting the coop done. The nuggets were growing like weeds and the rooster was starting to crow in the house!!!! So I make an appointment, she inspects where the coop is going to go and approves the design. I now have the green light to start building!

The part of the yard I got the OK to build the coop in was where my great grandmothers old garden was. I'm sure this sounds great but the problem was raspberry bushes had taken over that area. These plants have decent size thorns and their roots grow outwards instead of straight down so the root system went out a couple feet from the base of the plant. Step one was removing the raspberry bushes and moving the pile of dirt that they were in. Garbage also had to be taken out of this area, this was weird because my nana isn't one to throw garbage in the yard so no one knows where it came from.

Next was actually building the coop. I got the base frame down and then was gifted from the contractor across the street six 2x4`s cemented into cinder blocks for the rest of the frame. Then the fame around the top was next so the roof could go on....eventually. After framing came the building of the coop where the chickens lay their eggs. This part was a shit show!! I figured seen how I have zero experience building anything but a small shelf in wood shop, I should probably get the walls and floor of the coop cut so it is even and solid. I went to Lowe`s for this and still nothing was cut to size. Still managed to make it work and they have their coop.

The time had come for the nuggets to make their way outside! None of the coop is level! There are more staples and nails in this structure than probably needed, and to fix all the gaps from Lowe`s doing a terrible cutting job of the plywood there was a day of cocking. I am also pretty sure I will have to replace the roof next summer! My nuggets love their home though! They greet me at night when I put them away and run around me when I let them out in the morning. They follow me around the yard and like to play in piles of leaves when I rake. They are the sweetest nuggets!

I wanted chickens after old roommates of mine in San Diego had chickens. Helping them with the chickens helped me have the knowledge to get started on my own journey. It has been so much fun to learn though too. For example you can take the grease left over from cooking and let oats sit in it over night and give it to them for scratch. This will help with their protein intake as well as they just love it. Any type of bean is bad for them when uncooked, I do not feed them even cooked beans just in case. The most important thing I learned in my opinion is how to get a rooster to stop attacking you. Instead of kicking him away, which can cause more aggression, pick him up, carry him around the coop for a few minutes and love on him. You establish dominance without making him more aggressive. I find that he still protects the flock and doesn't attack me, he even follows me around the yard!

On a personal level this has been grounding. I have spent the last couple years moving around for one reason or another and because I love these nuggets I am staying a little still right now. These guys have given me something to show love to when all I have wanted to do is cry. They have made me laugh when all I wanted to do was flip off the world. Taking care of them keeps me present and reminds me of how simple life can be. I also learnt that I should probably ask for some sort of professional help the next time I decide to build a coop!

The nuggets are healthy and happy and oh so spoiled! They have grown into loving and curious chickens that enjoy interacting with people!

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