We have a bit of an unconventional family. My husband and I are the proud owners of two cats, three beehives, and ten chickens and ducks, all living in a small house (and yard) in a historical neighborhood of Council Bluffs.
UNusual? Yes. UNbelievably fun (and messy)? Also yes.
Our idea to have bees and chickens was hatched during the farmer’s market season. We love fresh produce, animals, and eating, so one day when we were browsing the Council Bluffs Farmer’s Market, Turner asked me what I thought about raising a few backyard chickens. When we went to go look at some chicks at Bomgaars, I instantly fell in love with their adorable faces and furry feathers.
After a summer of raising chickens (all lovingly named after Harry Potter characters) and enjoying farm fresh eggs every morning, we decided to add a few ducks to the family. Turner did his research about different breeds, and we added Captain Coo and Pearl Gray (Muscovys), and Hattie B and Biscuits (Pekins), to our flock.
Any given afternoon, you can find Turner out with “the girls” in the backyard. They love to explore the wooded backyard, scratch for bugs in the dirt (Bonus: they love munching on the wolf spiders in the summertime!), and play on their chicken swing in the coop. Our flock is a friendly one, and when we let them out of their coop, they wander right up to us to see if we have any table scraps or treats.
Raising chickens and ducks doesn’t come without its challenges. Our neighbors have been great during our learning process. The chickens and ducks usually stay in our backyard, but once or twice, they wander over to the neighbors to see if there are any juicy worms to be found. One of our girls, McGonagall, actually started laying her eggs in our neighbor’s bushes. We finally followed her one day when we let her out, and lo and behold, a nest of 6-7 eggs was hiding under our next door neighbors’ water fountain.
Having chickens and ducks makes everyday life much more entertaining! They get us out and about, enjoying the outdoors, and we can’t help but love them. For more on raising backyard birds, and getting permission to do so within the city limits, watch for part two of our blog, "The Birds and the Bees" on www.unleashcb.com.
Photo credit: Morrissey Photography