Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baby chicks

It's that time of year again - time to order baby chicks.

In addition to meat birds (Cornish crosses), we wanted to get some more layers (we're down to ten right now, some of which are older and will be butchered when the new layers mature). We like having a mixed flock, so I wanted to get some Americaunas, Black Australorps, Barred Rocks, Golden-laced Wyandottes, and Silver-laced Wyandottes. We figured if we ordered them from our local feed store to arrive near the end of May, that would be suitable timing.

But when I went into the feed store yesterday, the chicks they had on order for the end of May didn't correspond at all with what I wanted to order. "What is it you want?" asked the clerk.

I rattled off my list of preferred breeds, and she replied, "Those are all arriving tomorrow."

Meaning today.

Okay, so we got our chicks a little sooner than we anticipated.

Fortunately it's never a huge deal to get animals unexpectedly around here.  First thing to do was find a place to put the chicks. I got the stock tank out of the unused pasture and cleaned it out.

Naturally the gang had to monitor these proceedings.

The feed store had lots and lots of chicks available, though many are already reserved for customers like us who ordered specific breeds.

I also bought a bale of shavings for bedding, and a 50-lb bag of chick starter (feed). Once we got home, we set up their new digs.  The yellow chicks are Cornish crosses, meat birds which will get butchered in about three months.  The darker chicks are assorted layers.

Of course the kids can't keep their hands off them.

Not that I blame them...they're awfully darned cute.


  1. Pineywoods PatriotMarch 24, 2011 at 4:06 PM

    Oh yea. I believe in a mixed flock as well. We have Buffs, Dominickers, Americaunas, Gold Wyndottes & a mix of Bantams.

    My chicks have already feathered out. We got them 1 month ago (SE Texas). After we brooded them i moved them into the chicken house in a smaller coop.

    we have a Buff hen who is a "mother hen" and will raise any chick. So when we moved 20 (10 &10)bBuff & Dom chicks in, she cam running in clucking and puffing her feathers up to sit on them. After 2 days of begging we put her in the pen w/ them.

    I have a pic of her one morning where all you see is gold & black heads poking out from her...all the way around her.

  2. We went to the feed store on Monday and there they were, all the cute, fluffy chick. My DD wanted two yellow duckies but as we have no pond and a young dumb dog, the duckies were out. But there was a cage just at her eye level filled with sweet, little, furry bunnies. So now we have two widdle wabbits, useless on the homestead. No, we won't eat them!

  3. I want some chicks!! Hubby has said that he is enforcing the "No More Animals" policy but I told him chickens aren't animals, they're birds! Right?

  4. I had to build a coop just to hold some of the little fuzzies! They are growing quickly. I just got some Barred Rock and some R.I. Reds. We don't have much selection at the feed store here. Would have had to order 25 to get another variety. I sure didn't need 25 for just the eggs!

  5. Aaaack. The buffs, Araucanas, and RI Reds were sold out before even arriving at the feed store. I got some white rock hen chicks, something I haven't gotten before.

    The bantams are the best survivalist-type chickens, I believe. Every place should have some of them. Their eggs are small, but they produce them on hardly any feed (or they provide all of their own) and they are prodigious reproducers.

  6. When I was growing up, nearly every family farm had a flock of Guinea fowl. They were good at keeping the bugs under control, but I never knew if their eggs were good for eating or if they produced many eggs. Also, are the birds themselves good to eat? Anybody know the answers?

    Anonymous Patriot

  7. There is just something sublimely, surpassingly wonderful about the photograph of two daughters who can't keep their hands off the new baby chicks, IN the living room, with a piano, with a home-made piano bench that is -- finally -- WIDE enough, with a cozy, stuffy chair in the corner filled with books. Everything is just, simply right.

    Has anyone -- as I have -- wondered why we call the sterile, decorated, mostly-off-limits room at the back of the house that's there mostly for "company" the "Living Room?" And, sometime in the 70s we invented another room next to the kitchen, and called it the Family Room?

    Bill Smith

  8. We always picked up our baby chickens at the post office. We would order them and then wait for the postmaster to call and tell us they were in.

  9. Anonymous Patriot, of course you can eat guineas! All dark meat. I have never tasted it but people say it's delish.

    And Pineywoods Patriot, that is such a sweet story. I had a cochin banty hen pretty much like that. She just loved babies and would raise any babies she saw. I miss her.

  10. I've never had the opportunity to *order* chicks. If I ever hear a rooster crow here in town, I can hardly believe my ears. I'd love to hear the cluck cluck cluck of mama hens, but I mainly hear weed-eaters and sirens. My flowers are my chickens!