Saturday, April 17, 2010

new chicks

Our partner in homesteading crimes asked  us a couple weeks ago about raising him up some meat birds as he was sick of eating crap foods bought from the supermarket.  He is fairly new to rural living and is not quite ready to make the leap into raising his own just yet although  we have been helping  him to ready one heck of a garden area.

We have been  thinking about getting a few more hens and a new rooster so that we can begin brooding our own chicks again any way. Our own rooster suffered an  unfortunate incident last summer and we had not bothered to replace him but a few of our hens are getting older and it was time to start thinking  about building a small flock  back up.

After a few more emails and discussions we decided upon 15 birds for him and 9 for us. We will keep a few hens and one rooster so that we can begin incubating  a couple times a year to keep the both of us in  farm fresh chicken and eggs. We will  also keep all the chickens here for now  in hopes that maybe next spring  he will be ready for a few hens of his own and a fancy chicken tractor. Twice a year we will  have a butcher weekend and he can come help out with the deed. I  hate butchering chickens  and that is one of the reasons why  we  stopped  incubating our own chicks and just keeping enough hens to keep us in eggs year round and for fertilizer.

We were originally going to order from  a hatchery but after hanging out on  craigs list a bit  we found a couple local folks with  chicks for sale cheaper than what we could get them through any company. After several phone calls to the closest one with no response (It really irks me when people do that!)  I contacted the other  folks who unfortunately though technically in the same town it  is about 40 minutes away. It  is a beautiful ride though. Here are the pics from our ride out there and back if interested.

They had a few hundred chicks of various sizes for a buck fifty  a bird so  I just told the feller to snag me out 24 of the largest chicks he had.  Most are Rhode Island reds and black australorps  but there is a cute beige one and a furry footed one of one sort or another and a few other odd balls in the group. We decided to go with the older ones for a couple reasons.  As much as I like to watch peeps  they are messy, smelly, need lots of lighting and more overall care. I would have to keep tiny babies separate from the older hens longer and then integration is always a pain.  These older ones are  all but out of the light needing stage, are eating grower feed, and are much easier to spot   than itty bitties so they won't accidentally get killed. 

When we got home we decided to integrate the new kids in with the old girls. Only in my world does   bringing  new kids scare the old and  send them running to higher ground.
After quite some time  Ruby (on the right) hopped down and went to greet the  newbies and  all seemed  well.   We closed them all in the coop for the night and went to check them this morning and feed. All were doing well and the  hens were a bit miffed about missing their morning perch time, I swear they  watch the sunrise  from their perches each day.  The new babies still have not ventured out side to check things out and are still a bit  scared of their new surroundings  but I am sure by this afternoon they will be coming out of their shells.

They were a bit camera shy last evening but here are a few of them as we released them from the cage.


  1. nice new birds, it is good to get them bigger. we have 4 red comet pullets & 2 pekin ducklings in a tote in the living room. they came cheap too as a gift. I like your idea of getting the bigger birds & that is a savings not to have to raise with a light on them. the ducklings are about 3 times bigger than the chicks & more body heat so they are keeping the chicks warm when the light is off.

  2. i saw you were gifted some, that is kewl. We had to stop at our TSC before gettin the chicks and they had some of their larger peeps for a buck instead of normal price.. They only had 6 left though.. I wanted to grow a couple ducks this year just for fun, guess it wasnt in the cards