City Chicks Country Farm: It all started with two eggs.
This is the story of my mom and how two eggs turned into eighty-two chickens and counting.
A few years back, I lived in a small, wood-framed house on the outskirts of Jacksonville, Florida. Once a feed store in the 1900’s, it had been converted to a cute little two bedroom with all the original bones.
I loved that house and the wild chickens who roamed the yard.
It was those chickens that eventually led to the idea and creation of City Chicks Country Farm.
In 2016, my mom and pops bought a house in Gainesville. It sits on five acres of land, quietly tucked away in the woods off the highway.
This four bedroom, three bath Ranch-style home is a perfect combination of what each of them was looking for. An open air floor plan, a private office and a pool for my pops and plenty of land and room for the family for my mom.
But my mom got a little bonus when they chose this house- an old dog kennel (an entire building) that she would later transform into a chicken coop.
I remember the day it all began. I had just performed an assisted hatch on two eggs that had been left behind.
A hen instinctively gives her chicks three days to hatch before she leaves the nest to take her new babies on their first forage for food. Once she leaves, any eggs left behind are abandoned.
I learned a lot about chickens in the five years I enjoyed their company at that house. And this wasn’t the first time I had rescued an abandoned egg and had successfully hatched it out.
I sent a text to my mom with a picture of the newly hatched chicks. They were still wet and sticky and were resting after the exhausting job of being born.
An hour or so later, I sent another picture of them all dry and fluffy. They were so cute!
My mom replied and ask if I had anymore and, if I did, would I be willing to give her some. I told her she could have the ones I just hatched and she was so excited, she drove the hour and a half to come pick them up.
As it turned out, the chicks were a hen and a rooster.
My mom was concerned that they may be related and breeding would cause issues in the offspring. I reassured her that there were dozens of wild chickens around the property and they all shared nests.
There were also a handful of roosters so the chances of them being related by the same mother and father were very small.
From the very beginning, my mom was a doting “mother hen”. She loved spending time talking to her new chicks, taking them out on walks to forage for insects or giving them rides on her shoulders as she worked around the yard.
And she fed them only the best foods; non-medicated organic feed, lots of organic produce and all the insects they could find.
Seriously- these chickens eat better than most of us.
They grew quickly and it wasn’t long before they became parents. At that point my mom began adding chicks she rescued from local feed stores.
What started off as one or two here and there became a full-blown habit.
Anytime she would go to pick up feed or supplies, she was drawn over by the tiny chirping noises and she couldn’t stand to see sickly or injured babies left behind.
She knew they would die if she didn’t help them.
And she did. She took them home and worked quickly to try to figure out what the issues were. She became a regular at a local vet where she often took the chicks if she couldn’t find a way to treat them herself.
She even had a sort of wheelchair made for a pullet (young hen) that lost her ability to walk after being struck by an illness.
My mom now has eighty-two chickens and counting. Each day she collects about three dozen colorful eggs (that’s over 250 per week!) while she works tirelessly day and night to keep her flock happy, healthy and safe from predators.
Speaking of predators, my mom catches and releases anywhere from 3-7 snakes a week during the summer- with her bare hands!
Yeah, she’s a bit of a badass.
Snakes are drawn to chicken coops because eggs and small chicks make for an easy meal. But due to my moms vigilance, she’s never lost a single chick.
Feeding that many chickens a high quality diet isn’t cheap so, to offset some of her expenses, she decided to start selling off some of her extra eggs.
She now has a small business, ‘City Chicks Country Farm’, where she sells organic, free-range, high quality eggs at $4 per dozen to a handful of repeat customers.
During a recent stay at her house, I offered to make her a Facebook page to help bring in new customers and increase her sales.
Right now, she’s barely breaking even, and while she says she doesn’t mind, I want her to see some return on all her hard work.
Within a week of the new Facebook page being launched, she had two new customers and after a month or so, she had several more.
She also recently reported selling her first “barnyard mix” for hatching. Go mom!
I also plan to start a website for her business so she can expand her sales by offering shipping. She currently only sells locally and hand delivers the eggs to her customers.
I’ll be sure to update this page with the link to that site once it’s up and running. If you’d like to check out City Chicks Country Farm on Facebook, click here.
So, that’s the story of how two eggs turned into eighty-two chickens and counting.
If you enjoyed this post, please pass it along and help spread the word about my mom’s little farm.