I don't know squat about raising chickens but there's this place on American Lane that can sell you everything you need and tell you everything you need to know: http://celebratetheseason.net
Well I'll be hornswoggled. Never heard of the place. Looks worth checking out -- thanks, blackdog!
Tell Mrs. E that chickens do quite well in Central Oregon. They have feathers, you know, to keep them warm. And yes, check out Celebrate the Season on American Loop. I learned a lot from them last year, in my inaugural year of chicken ranching, and bought a house & run from them.April of 2010 saw the first C.O. Chicken Coop Tour with 30-40 coops on view. It was hugely successful and I bet they'll do it again in 2011. Very helpful for seeing the range of possibilities for coopdom. Also, keep an eye open for announcements of the annual C.O. Master Gardeners' spring garden seminar, also usually in April. Many years they have a session on chickens, and of course other good sessions on various aspects of gardening. My third suggestion is to hie off to the Deschutes County Fair in late July/early August, to see many fine chickens in the flesh, er, feathers, in person. I went there before getting my chickens, to see whether or not I thought I could deal with chickens. Very helpful, and you can't beat the whole 4H element of cute kids, chickens with cute names, quacking of ducks, gobbling of turkeys, honking of geese -- and that's just in the poultry barn.So I say: dream on, Mrs. E. Seek out chicken people and you will find them. Us. Chickens are the BEST.
Thanks, Li'l Ned. I expect the folk at Celebrate the Season can provide practical information about making sure the chickens are comfortable in the cold, etc. I will ask them. Another consideration we have is how much attention the little gals need. I reckon we will need to arrange for their care and feeding while on a two week vacation, but how about if we are out of town for, say, four days. And how much attention do they need on a normal, daily basis?