1 The chicks that arrived in March are about two-months old now - all are doing well and growing fast.
2 They have lost their fuzz and are growing mature feathers. The chicks are still kept together in one of the coops, but also have access to the outdoors during the day.
3 This is a young Black Copper Marans. These young birds love to use the ramps when going in and out of their coop.
5 They love to explore their surroundings - all the chicks look active, bright and healthy.
6 This is a view of my chicken yard. I have several coops that are locked tight at night to keep predators out. The top is also netted, making the chicken area very, very safe.
7 This is an adult Silver Spangled Hamburg - a very popular breed because of its calm, sweet personality and fantastic mothering qualities.
8 This is a lovely Lavender Orpington. She lays large, pale brown eggs, and is very friendly.
9 I've raised many different chicken breeds and varieties over the years. I am fascinated by their many colors and feather patterns.
10 Of all the ornamental chicken breeds, the Silkie Bantam is among the most loved. These are the "lap dogs" of the chicken world, complete with hair-like plumage and an incredibly sweet temperament.
11 When laying, hens do appreciate privacy - my coops have individual nesting boxes for all my hens. Female chickens are called pullets for their first year, or until they begin to lay eggs. For most breeds, chickens generally start laying eggs around four or five months of age.
12 Chickens prefer to roost on high levels. This rooster is on the top level of nesting boxes inside one of the coops. In their fenced enclosure, the chickens are also provided ladders and natural roosts made out of felled trees.
13 Chickens will instinctively go for the highest place they can reach.
14 These are two of my 12 guinea fowl. They make quite a bit of noise when intimidated. Native to Africa, guinea fowl are known for sticking together. They are insect and seed-eating, ground-nesting birds - and they love snacking on pesky ticks!
15 In addition to the chickens and guinea fowl, I also keep two Pomeranian geese. These geese are very protective of the flock and often scream at unfamiliar visitors.
16 Geese have great eyesight, good memories and raucous voices - all great characteristics for a pair of feathered sentinels. Given a proper diet and good care, geese can live well into their teens or even their 20s.
17 They are also very social animals and tend to get along well with other livestock. Here they are with my turkey - she's very friendly, and is always eager to greet guests.
18 Twice a day, early morning and late afternoon, the birds are given cracked corn. They also eat plenty of vegetable and fruit matter.
19 Here is a rooster keeping watch in the doorway of one of the coops. Inside the coops, hanging feeders are filled with organic layer feed. It provides the hens with protein, which helps them lay strong and healthy eggs.
20 This is a White Crested Black Polish cockerel - a very special and unique breed of chicken with a huge bouffant crest of feathers.
21 Here, a lovely Blue Orpington rooster, two Easter Egger hens, and a rare, Double-Laced Barnevelder hen on the left, that lays dark-chocolate colored eggs. They are all so pretty.
22 This is a White Leghorn rooster.
23 Before choosing to raise chickens, check with local planning and zoning authorities to be sure chickens are allowed in your area.
24 I started raising chickens many years ago, and vowed to always have my own coops where I could keep happy, healthy and beautiful birds.
25 I've always had enough egg-laying hens to provide me and my family with fresh, nutritious, organic eggs on a year-round basis.
26 Chickens are not difficult to keep, but it does take time, commitment and a good understanding of animal husbandry to do it well.