About 5R Farm
It all started with three little chickens. Our adventures in backyard chicken keeping began in March 2010, when we brought home Rhoda – the Rhode Island Red, Raquel – the Barred Plymouth Rock, and Ramona – the Easter Egger who was supposed to lay blue or green eggs. The girls spent their first eight weeks in a big wooden brooder box in the kitchen where they quickly captured my heart. I could hardly wait to get up in the morning to play with the chicks and watch them run around the kitchen floor while I made breakfast. The morning antics became known as “poo olympics” and the girls would chase each other around looking for treats on the floor, and of course pooping, which I soon learned is one of the most frequent chicken activities.
As the chicks reached four months of age, I could no longer deny that Ramona’s feathers and coloration were quite different from Rhoda and Raquel. Ramona had long curved tail feathers and some quite fancy hackle feathers around the neck, and I finally had to admit to myself that Ramona was in fact Ramon.
Fortunately, the store where we bought the chicks takes back roosters to be rehomed by a local farmer, so back to the store Ramon went. He was quite a friendly guy, and I was very sad to see him go. With the backyard flock now reduced to only two chickens, I was able to convince my husband that we would need to replace Ramon, besides I wanted some blue or green eggs!
In July 2010, we bought three more chicks. This time we brought home Ruby – a Gold Laced Wyandotte and two more Easter Eggers – Rosie and Ramona2. By August of 2010, our first two girls were laying a dozen eggs a week, and by March of 2011, all five girls were laying. Four of the girls laid brown eggs, and much to my delight our last girl to start laying, Rosie, layed extra large green eggs!
All through the summer we had plenty of eggs to supply our dozen egg a week habit, enough to share with friends and family, and even some extra to sell to my coworkers. The girls were let out of their coop often to play in the garden, and in no time they devoured and scratched up everything green within reach. Despite my love of gardening, I was surprised to realize that I didn’t mind all that much that the chickens destroyed my once thriving strawberry patch and dozens of ornamental plants. I was having so much fun with the chickens that it wasn’t long before I began to wish that I had room for even more chickens. Seeing how the chickens enjoyed scratching and pecking about in the dirt for bugs made me wish that I had a larger yard for them to frolic in.
It was about this time that the idea for 5R Farm began. For several years we had talked half-seriously about buying a place in the country, and in December 2010 we started looking for a rural property outside of Portland. After a few months of searching, we were the proud owners of 4.5 acres in St. Helens, Oregon. We named the property 5R Farm, after the five chickens that inspired us to make our dream of moving to the country a reality. We began spending weekends out at the farm working on projects like fixing the well, chopping firewood, and battling huge patches of thistle and blackberry.
By the spring of 2012, the farm was up and running. We put in a vegetable garden with raised beds, brought in truckloads of compost, and installed an electrified deer fence. We built a large chicken coop and expanded our chicken flock to 30 chickens, including several roosters. We added bees to the farm in 2013 and added turkeys in 2015. Future plans include raising ducks and goats, but for now I’m going to try to take it one step at a time. It really is amazing to think that this whole adventure started with just three little chickens.