Tuesday, May 22, 2012

New Chicks

In spite of our numerous misadventures with predators up here we've decided to try raising chickens yet again. We weren't going to, I think Nate and I had finally had enough. But a certain boy was deeply missing his pets. We've nicknamed him the Chicken Whisperer if that tells you anything ;) Nate was solicited separately by both Grandma Karen and Grandfather about getting new chickens, because they were feeling sad for their grandson. So, we've been fortifying the coop yet again; and purchased some eggs to hatch.

We let each of the boys pick a breed. Brannon wanted breeds that like human contact and are more tameable. After looking at several options he chose D'uccles. Joshua chose "roadrunners" --we have one rooster left up here who's been surviving "wild" since December. His name is Roadrunner.

We haven't had great luck with our eggs so far this year. Out of six Silver Spangled Hamburg eggs we only hatched one chick. Out of seventeen D'uccle eggs there are only three waiting to (hopefully) hatch at the end of this week. You never know when you get eggs in the mail if they're going to grow or not. Getting jostled around by the postal service is quite detrimental to their health, even though they haven't started growing yet. One year none of our mail-order eggs hatched and the next year they almost All hatched (but they were 3/4 roosters!)

Our one Silver Spangled Hamburg chick (roadrunner)
 Since lone chicks don't have a high survival rate we went out to the Grange to see if they had any bantam chicks for sale. Nate said every time he'd been there for birdseed lately they had only had pre-sold chicks. Much to our delight they had lots of chicks for sale, including assorted bantams. Between the boys and I we wanted to buy half the chicks in the bin, but we restrained ourselves and only brought home four :) (and seven red rangers to raise for meat).
The two grey fluffballs Joshua picked out love to nestle on his shoulders under his hair:
 Brannon picked out the tiniest chick there (of course). We are interested to see if it's a Japanese or a Serama or what :)

 Chicks are programmed to peck at anything that moves or looks different. In this case "different" was Brannon's teeth!
 Much hilarity ensued:

The chicks are all settled in their brooder in the kitchen/hallway/entry area and we are waiting to see if we'll get any more new additions later this week. Pretty soon the noise and smell will motivate the fellas (especially the big one ;-) ) to finish fixing the brooder area in the coop so we can move the birds outside. (With our new set-up we had before the bear we usually keep them inside for a week or two, depending one the weather, then move them to the outside brooder. Our 'shop' light that was out there was 'killed' by the bear, although the heat lamps seem to have survived.)

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