Friday, May 30, 2008

Our Peeps

This year we decided to order 10 hens to raise for eggs. We hope they are all hens. They've been by a Chicken Sexer, so there's a high probability that they are girls. Fingers crossed. Chickens are a big thing in our town. I never realized how many people have a few chickens in their yard for eggs or (gulp) meat. We run into friends and neighbors at the store on order day and then 4 weeks later when the little chicks arrive. Gerry and the kids picked out the breeds (?) that we have. I know some... Rhode Island Reds, Bantams, Anacondas (no, that's a snake, but it's something like that.) Comets. Anyway, my need to nurture has kicked in and I am their primary caregiver. Four of the ten are about a week older, so we were nervous about flock integration. It's been smooth. They currently reside in a wood box in our upstairs laundry room with a heat lamp that keeps it about 85 degrees around them. (Don't tell Peter, but I put an old pair of his boxers in there for the chicks to cuddle on.)

Hopefully, in a few weeks they will be able to share the coop with Little Guy, our sweet white hen and the only remaining member of the Kindergarten flock. Unfortunately, Connor The Angry Rooster was killed by a fox about three weeks ago. As afraid as I was of that chicken, I was really sad when he died. I'm pretty sure that he was defending Little Guy when the fox got him. *sniff* Anyway, if things go well, she'll have ten little hens to care for and spend time with. Cross your fingers for us! I'm a bit too city for the whole thing!

In other chick news, I was headed outside to take some pics for etsy this afternoon. I looked up at the little Robin's nest, that's built on our light under the porch, to see if the mama Robin was up there and I saw 2 little Robin Chick beaks poking out over the lip of the nest. How very cute they are waiting for a worm or two!


Eat Well (was Teresa R) said...

Ooooh, such cute baby chicks!! We're still planning to get a batch in the fall (a dual-purpose breed), but in the meantime, one of our current hens, Gaia, is broody and we've given her 15 eggs to hatch. We'll see how she does.

Might one of your breeds be Aracauna or Ameracauna? They're the ones that lay the "Easter" eggs.

I hope Little Guy will be good with your new hens. In our experience, even the sweetest tempered hens, the ones who will let you cuddle them, will try and attack the younger hens. They're not mean-spirited, but they have to establish pecking order.

You have such a big heart! If I had a mean rooster who scared me, I'd be more than happy to be rid of him.

The robin chicks are adorable too1

Heather@Twin Birch said...

Hey Teresa! You're such an expert! I think the hens are Aracaunas. Cora (7) thinks that they will lay rainbow eggs...

I have to say I am worried about Little Guy with the young ones. I've heard that pecking can happen. eeek.

Best wishes to Gaia and her pending motherhood.

Suds to Love said...

I think they are Araucana... the ones that lay either blue, green or purple eggs, they are so awesome! Good luck with your babies.

Sarah said...

Aww...reminds me of my childhood. Every year we got 50-100 chickens and they would stay in front of the wood stove with their heat lamp. Chickens are not too much work, but they are stinky. It will sure be nice to have those fresh eggs!

gracefruit said...

I have wanted to raise chickens for a long time, and I think your post might have just tipped me over the edge.

It's also got me wondering -- how does one become a chicken sexer??

E xx

Heather@Twin Birch said...

Sarah~stinky is right! I can't wait til they move out!

Elizabeth~the sexer thing looks a little creepy. There's a show on the Discovery Channel called "Dirty Jobs" and we happened to catch the one explaining Chicken Sexers. At the risk of TMI, there is poo involved in figuring it out. Not so good.

Eat Well (was Teresa R) said...

We LOVE the show, Dirty Jobs! It is so funny and reminds us to be grateful to those who actually have to do these jobs every day.

We have Ameracaunas, which some people confuse with Araucanas (sorry, I misspelled it in my first comment). Aracaunas have ear tufts and are rumpless (tail-less) while Ameraucanas have muffs and tails. The June/July 2007 issue of Backyard Poultry (one of my 12 yr old's favorite magazines) had a couple of good, short articles on the two breeds and how to differentiate them.

Carrie ~ Gigi said...

Aw...little peeps are darling. My daughter too had an "angry" chicken/ would ran after everyone in site. A fox nabbed that one too. Now they have chickens that actually fly into the trees..."fox proof"!

Anne-Marie said...

Cute, I love the baby chicks! I want chickens because I read the book "The Ominvore's Dilemma" and he really goes into the amazing health benefits of having home grown chickens as opposed to factory farmed chickens (for the eggs).

I can't wait to read more about your chicken adventures over the upcoming months.

LoveMichie said...

CHICKS!!!!!!! My grandfather used to keep chickens in his backyard when I was a little girl. My grandmother would cook the most delicious steamed chicken and it always had its entire head still intact.

Once a friend came over and was horrified to see the head was still attached to the cooked chicken. It never occurred to me that it might freak people out because I was so used to it.

After that, there was a ban imposed on keeping chickens in regular households in Malaysia. So no more little chicks :(