I Have Chickens


I have chickens! I spent most of my growing up years in a suburb of Washington, D.C. My neighbors in Silver Spring, Maryland didn’t have chickens. Chickens were something you saw in a children’s book or on Green Acres. Real people didn’t have chickens. I write romance novels. Some people think that’s exciting. (It’s not, trust me.) Exciting? Now that’s chickens.

And there’s nothing more exciting than the moment of new life, over and over.

I have chickens!

I had 16 working on the chicken house yesterday. We’re going to need a chicken house soon! Because I have chickens!

As of the time I set this post, we have seven babies with what appears to be four others working to come out. If more will hatch, it will be today, I think, and no later. I’m not feeling very good about my hatch rate. Out of the first dozen, I lost all but Lucky. I brought home 30 more for the second batch. I’m not sure what I did wrong to not get more out of the second batch, but I’m grateful for the ones I got, and maybe there will be more today than I think?

Here’s our little banty (the yellow one) and the seventh baby, which hatched near the same time.

Left, the family photo (Princess wants to name the others after countries around the world) of the first five–Lucky and his royal court. (Is he adorable or what?)

If you’d like to come back, I’ll update this post throughout the day with the latest results. Thank you for sharing the chicken joy with me! (I have chickens!)

Update 9:15 am. My first little banty baby all fluffed up!

Size comparison of the banty baby and a standard chicken hatched around the same time. Bantams are miniature chickens, one-quarter to one-fifth the size of standard chickens when full-grown.

Today is Day 24. I’ve got SEVEN more eggs cracking now! Two more are banties–the little white eggs. One is a green egg–an Araucana (the chickens that make the “Easter” egg blue and green eggs) and the others are large brown and white eggs.

My little flock is about to double, oh my! (My hatch rate is starting to look better.)

Update: 1 pm.

More new babies! The dark one is the Aracauna! More are coming…..

My little flock is up to 10.

Update: 3 pm.

Second little banty, and eleventh chick, to join our flock! (Is it just me or does this little guy look angry?!)

Update: 9:10 pm. Our twelfth baby is here!

See yesterday’s Hatch Day, too!


  1. Jyl says:

    They are so cute! I think I would have named the first seven after the dwarfs…but I also think the countries are a great idea. Can’t wait to check back in and see how many more hatch.

  2. Heidi says:

    :snoopy: hooray for chickens!!!

  3. Farm Girl says:

    The blue flowers on your blog photo are called Virginia Bluebells. They are beautiful.

    Your chicks are beautiful too. We have discovered that if we let a hen sit on and hatch eggs, that they have consistantly hatched at 20 days. We bought an incubator but have not used it yet, so don’t know how to help with your hatch rate. A good resource for all things ‘chicken’ is a magazine called Backyard Poultry. We love it.

  4. earlene says:

    :cattail: Iloved this post! My sister and I hatched 3 peacock eggs after a coyote took their mom off the nest. They thought I was their mom and followed me everywhere. Thanks for the memory.

  5. anna in toronto says:

    Suzanne, you are now officially a chicken farmer!!!!woohooo
    I told my kids the story about how Lucky almost ended up in the back 40, they loved it. Such a good story,tragedy,suspense, and a really happy ending.

  6. Ann from Montana says:

    Boy, Lucky “looks” like “head of household”…hope, hope, hope he IS a rooster!

    Great family photo!

  7. Kim A. says:

    Cool. I thought 52 had built the chicken house already? I must be dreaming….

    Are these we’ll-have-fresh-eggs chickens or are these we’ll-have-chicken-dinner chickens? Or both?


  8. Suzanne McMinn says:

    Kim, 52 got the chicken house supplies a while back. He supervised 16 yesterday. He’s still working on it. These are farm-fresh eggs chickens. 🙂

    Farm Girl, if we ever need/want more chickens, now that I have my own little flock to start with, I’ll let a hen sit to get more. I think nature’s way of hatching babies is better than the incubator!

  9. lintys says:

    This is so exciting! I’ve fantasized about having chickens in my suburban back yard. I know the neighbors, the code police, and my urban husband would never tolerate it, but it’s fun to contemplate. In the city of Chicago, it’s still legal to keep chickens(!) It’s a growing trend, raising chickens in the city, I suspect that will be changing in the near future.

  10. Bayou Woman says:

    Suzanne, Are any of your hatchlings Ameraucana?

  11. Lora says:

    This is wonderful!
    Funny that you grew up in Silver Spring…I used to live in Wheaton. My neighbor Mr Kovacs used to (Illegally) keep chickens in his backyard. We called them the syndicate and I loved them. Every once in a while they would escape to my backyard and we would all run around and catch them. One summers day the syndicate busted out and we had a huge thunderstorm. We had been trying to catch them but the thunder really scared them…all I had to do was open the kitchen door and they all came in. I had seventeen chickens roaming around my kitchen!

  12. Becky says:

    They are soooo cute!
    I want to hug them and squeeze them and call them George. :mrgreen:

  13. MARY says:

    :butterfly: Congrats, Suzanne!! They are gorgeous! :sheepjump:

  14. Skip says:

    Hi, I just stoped by to see whats going on. I love the idea oef rasing chickens especially for the first time. We did that once, built a chicken coop that looked like a barn and everything. We only did it for one year. But it was fun.

  15. Tresha says:

    BECKY…your comment just cracked me up!!!! (hug them squeeze them and call them George)…classic!!

    I think getting 7 for your first try ever is just fantastic and don’t worry about the other ones. Sometimes there are chickens in there and something just went wrong and they wouldn’t hatch….so just be happy with your success. Did you ever think you would be so attached to a chicken?? hahaha…I am so jealous!!!!

    Tresha in Oklahoma!!!

  16. sunshine says:

    CONGRATS Susan they are so cute!!!!!

  17. Hillary says:

    This is really exciting! I’ve been quietly reading and well, just have to congratulate you on this. Gratz! May you and the chickens be blessed.

  18. TSannie/annbb says:

    Can hardly wait for the update! How long until they can lay eggs? I know NOTHING about chickens.

  19. Suzanne McMinn says:

    I think they can start laying around 5 months, but those of you here with more experience with chickens can chime in! I’m eager to see them start laying eggs so I can have fresh eggs! So fun!!

  20. Alicia says:

    YAY! Chickens are so much fun!!! We had a bunch when I was growing up. And even though I chased them and got in trouble for it, they were fun! 🙂

  21. Cyndi Lewis says:

    You have chickens… Yah! I’m doing the chicken dance for you! :shimmy:

  22. Kacey says:

    Very cute! Your hatch rate IS going up! I’ll check back later today.

  23. Kim A. says:

    When I worked right downtown a number of years ago, I would go to the Farmer’s Market and buy fresh eggs every week. Oh, boy, they were fantastic. No comparison between the taste of fresh eggs and grocery-store eggs.

    I think you’ll need to feature egg recipes, Suzanne, like soufflés, omelets, custards, and so on. 🙂


  24. Claudia W says:

    This is all so much fun! Congratulations on your newest hatches! Can’t wait to see what the day brings.

  25. Shimmy Mom says:

    congrats again! As far as your hatch rate I guess that’s why they say “Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.” Right? Don’t take it too hard. I’ve noticed when ever we people try to figure out mother nature we fail. You know the term “Breeding like bunny rabbits.” ? Well I raise rabbits and it’s NOT that easy. It looks like you’ll have a nice size little flock.

  26. Julie Andrea in Englehart, ON says:

    Oh this is so much fun! :shimmy:

    Don’t you want to just help them out of their eggs as soon as you see it cracking?(you’re not supposed to help, right?)

    I could hardly wait to get the computer on this morning to read your updates. Go Gooooo chickens!! :elephant:

  27. Amy Addison says:

    Lucky and his royal court! Too cute.

    This is amazing! Thanks for sharing this. I like Princess’s idea of naming the other chickens after countries.

  28. stacy says:

    I got chickens from the hatchery last may & they started laying in september. I am so excited watching yours hatch. My chickens lay lots of eggs, lots and lots!! More than we can handle, out of twelve chickens we get about 10 eggs daily. so start working on those big egg recipes now!!

  29. Mental P Mama says:

    Yay! :chicken: :chicken: :heart: :chicken: :chicken:

  30. Minna says:

    Ooh, how cute. Have the names been already decided? :snoopy: :elephant:

  31. Granny Sue says:

    So cool, Suzanne! Bet you had a hard time sleeping.

    Your hatch rate isn’t bad. Remember you got farm eggs–the rooster may not have been doing his duty as well as he should have, so some of the eggs may not have been fertilized. I doubt you did anything to adversely affect how many hatch from the second batch.

    Chickens usually start laying around 5-6 months of age. I’m expecting my first eggs in August. Remember that hens need 14 hours of light to lay; you will need a light in the coop to encourage them to lay in winter. And most breeds take time off to moult (grow new feathers). They’ll walk around looking extremely weird for a few weeks! Leghorns and some of the hybrid varieties lay year-round without a break, so it’s nice to have a few of them for a steady egg supply while the older breeds take vacation time!

  32. Christine says:

    The wait is painful isn’t it?! You just want so bad to help them out, but you can’t. Congratulations on all your beautiful little babies.

  33. catslady says:

    I’m learning so much about chickens :yes: love it. Do most of your neighbors have chickens? If not, maybe you can eventually start selling some? My mother was deathly afraid of the rooster when she was young – if it’s Lucky, maybe he’ll stay sweet.

  34. Egghead says:

    Yipppeee! You are now officially a mother hen. Our spring chicks began to lay about September and are now laying seven to eight eggs per day. I choose not to keep an artificial light on them in the winter just because I like to give them a break and we still average at least four eggs per week.

  35. Susan says:

    Suzanne, I have to agree with everything Granny Sue already posted. You are doing a great job! I’m loving the photos and updates. You really are a country girl now! :thumbsup: The chicks are sooo cute. :hug:

  36. Dru says:

    Did you hear…Suzanne has chickens. This is so kewl.

    How long does it take from when they come out to when they start looking “fluffy”?

  37. ML says:

    Oh those babies are soooooo cute! It must be an exciting day at the farm! Wish I could raise some chickens here at my home, darn HOA!

  38. *jan says:

    Susanne, As of my last count, you are at one third success rate for your first ever try…..farm girl, thats great :clap: :bananadance: Granny Sue said earlier that the rooster had to dance with every chicken prior to her laying that viable egg. You can believe me when I say “some of those hens are quick and others just won’t cooperate at all. So I think we all agree that you(s) are doing a fine job. Sooo much fun still to come!!

  39. Minna says:

    We never had any chickens here, but we did have some ducks and some feisty geese. :chicken: You don’t have to take chickens for a swim, anyway.

  40. Estella says:

    Congratulations!! You are now a bona fide chicken farmer.

  41. Brandy says:

    OMgosh they are too cute! Congratulations!

  42. Jodie says:

    :birthday1: to the chix! I wish I could be there. Too bad you didn’t setup a chicken-cam so that we could watch them hatch. Just kidding!

  43. *jan says:

    Question: Is 52 as excited as you, about the chicks or is it nothing new? 😎

  44. Ruby55 says:

    Ooh, that’s the great joy of spring, isn’t it, to see things grow and be born. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen actual hatchlings in the feather, so to speak. Friends of ours in Manitoba used to have a farm and whenever we got out there, we’d go to see any new critters: chicks, piglets, calves, and whatever else happened to be around at the time. It’s a small mircle each time.

    What will you do with them? Raise them and get them to lay eggs? What about your cat(s)? Are the chicks safe? :cattail:

    We’re back to cold weather after about a week of up to 77F temperatures. But then, that was expected even after the ultra-heavy snowfall this winter. We’ve definitely had snow on Mother’s Day and even in July. I think we were saying the other day that the only month we probably haven’t had any snow ever is August.

    Hope you have even more little chickies over the rest of the day.


    THAT 1 LOOKS MAD :whip:

  46. Amy says:

    I think you need to name this angry little Bantam “Fiesty”

  47. Donna says:

    ohhh, how adorable!!!!!
    I had a boyfriend that raised baby chicks and would put them under a lamp..and in a pen. (about all I remember LOL). Another boyfriend gave me baby chicks for Easter, and each one was dyed – pink, green, blue…and he had them in a little pen behind his house, but a fox or something got in and ate them!!!! The next am, all I saw were little pink and green and purple feathers..so sad. :hissyfit:

  48. Carolyn says:

    Yes, the last chick looks angry, but it’s totally cute. And vocal from the way it’s little beak is open like that. I have to say that pic is my favorite, but I’m still in love with Lucky’s fluffy feathers. xxoo

  49. Alison says:

    :chicken: How very wonderful. I am looking forward to seeing more hatch day reports tomorrow. 🙂


  50. Terry says:

    Oh Suzanne, you are so blessed. I have raised chickens in the past and enjoyed it so much. Your Dominiques will have a Rose Comb. Kinda lumpy and not too tall, whereas your Barred Plymouth Rocks will have the standard single comb. I always prefered the standard comb myself. If your easter egg chickens are like mine were, they will be big ole pets before ya know it. When they get lettin’ out size it might be a good idea to clip the feathers of one wing to keep them from roosting in the trees at nite. Once mine started it was hard to get them back in the coop at nite. We only had a problem with red tailed hawks once,We had a night light on a pole close to the coop/pen, and he would come at night and try to take one. Come to find out he was an adolescent and was pretty poor. Kinda hated to see him pass, but the chickens didn’t!! Any whooo you take care and keep up the great work, “chicken mom”.
    Terry in NE OKLA


    LOVLY CHICKENS :bananadance:

  52. grace elizabeth warman says:

    i have 7 to 10 week chicks :bananadance: :elephant: :rotfl: :rotfl: :fryingpan: :fryingpan: :fryingpan: :wall: what do i feed them right now im feeding them grass one is about to die plese get back to me asap

  53. Judy Gentry says:

    :cattail: I am soooooo green. Want chix now!!!!! Congrats. Hope everything hatches ok. :flying:

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