You can't have a chicken coop without chickens!  After cleaning out the coop we were excited for it be become a lovely home for some nice little chickens but there was only one problem - there were no chickens to buy.  We looked in the usual places like the farmers market pages in the paper, and the local store boards.  Family and friends had no chickens either and we very quickly discovered that Alta doesn't really do chickens.  We were very disappointed. We soon found a place online near Oslo that could send us up some chickens (via airplane) but only next year in April when the breeding season started.  But luck was on our side.  Big Uncle performed at a little function house just out of town.  There Farmor saw some chickens.  She asked the owners about them and  it just so happened that they were looking to give away a hen and her chicks as they had too many.  This seems to be a usual way to do anything in the country - face to face barter.  The next day we picked up a hen and her five (big) chicks - (for free even!). The chickens is a mixed breed of Brown Italian and Cochin .  These are considered "Norwegian" as they have been in Norway since the early 1900s.  However, it is the Jær chicken that is recognized as a true Norwegian breed.  We certainly want to breed Jær chickens for our Norwegian living heritage farm, however, because hatching has been bred out of the Jær it is necessary to hatch fertile eggs in an incubator.  Even though this is a very common way to breed we prefer a more natural approach.  Some of the other Norwegian breeds of chicken are still good brooders (mothers).  In fact, they are so good that they are likely to adopt other eggs as their own.  So our 'considered' breed of Norwegian chickens will do the hatching for us.  They will also teach the Jærs how to be chickens and hopefully we can get them to reestablish the Jærs brooding natures.  Our goal is for our Jær chickens to once again be chickens. So we are very happy with our 'considered' hen and her chicks.  Once in the coop she went straight to scratching up the grass and picking out all the good bits.  She is a very good teacher as her chicks were also keen on their new grassy habitat.  For a treat we put in some weeds from the potato field as they love to eat the seeds.  When the seeds are gone we will put the rest into the compost.  True symbiosis. The chicks are having fun running around the huge pen and the hen even lets us pat her.  We have left the carry cage in for the moment so they can have a cosy place to sleep until we build a box for them.  Another job on the list. 

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