I was taking with some guys from work the other night about how I want to get chickens, both for meat and eggs. J. said that he's been thinking about it too, and is in the process of building a chicken coop onto his barn and making a Whizbang chicken plucker. Why yes, yes we are the hillbilly police..! Still, it's good to know I'm not the only nutty one. On my shift alone, there are 3 guys besides me that are really into farming/homesteading, plus quite a few others that work in other areas. So we get together sometimes and bounce ideas off of each other.
After some discussion, J. said that if I want to order some chickens and keep them at his place until they're ready to butcher, that would be fine by him. We're going to get cornish crosses (not my first choice, as they're somewhat unnatural in their growth rate and bone structure, but they're what I'm buying at the farmer's market anyways), then when they're 8 weeks old, we'll have a butchering "party". For me, right now, this is an ideal compromise. I get my chickens without having to deal with chicks in the house or build a coop. I also get to learn how to butcher and use the plucker. Cause I've gotta tell you... I'm a little nervous about killing my own critters. I'm sure I'll be fine once I've done it once or twice, but I'll be glad to have help while I'm still learning.
I also haven't yet given up hope on getting my laying hens this year. Maybe I could order those with J.'s batch as well, then bring them home when we've made the coop. I don't want to take advantage of his generosity, but he did offer... Because at this point, the idea of having chicks in the house really stresses me out. It's already in shambles upstairs from the nearly-finished reno, the kitchen ceiling still occasionally rains down plaster bits from the toilet incident, and the living room has been taken over by baby stuff. I don't know where I'd put chicks, and I don't even want to think about it. But if J. could keep them til they're old enough to be outside... That would be perfect.
I talked with my handyman about building my Playhouse chicken coop. He said about $320 in labor, or two days of his time. Ouch. Guess that's one project we'll just have to make time to do on our own. I'm seriously thinking about going to Lowes and playing damesl-in-distress to see if they'll cut all the lumber for me. Totally out of character, but it would be a huge time saver...