Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Love me some baby chicks… do NOT love the mess.

Chicken drama. My house cannot escape it.

Over the first several weeks of baby chick season, I collected chicks here and there to increase my flock with the breeds I most wanted. I collected 21 various chicks.

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Since I collected them over time, they were different ages. When 13 of them were old enough to put out in the coop, I did just that – less mess on my porch. They were doing great. 3 Cochins, 3 Red Stars, 3 Americaunas, and 4 Wyandottes.

Until I was a good mama and gave them leftovers. And left Buddy outside to play. You see, Buddy loves stuffed animals. And he loves leftovers even more.

While I thought he was happily roaming the yard, he broke into my coop – this is Buddy, my sweet lab who pays no attention to chickens normally – ate the leftovers and squeezed 10 of the “stuffed animals” until their squeakers were broken. That’s what dogs do to stuffed animals, right?

When I went out the  next morning to check on the chickens, I saw them scattered all over the coop. It was a chicken massacre. And I totally kept it together until I talked to Brad. Then I completely lost it. I was sad about my chickens, but I was even sadder about the 8+ weeks I had spent tending to them in boxes and cleaning poop up off of my porch and the thought that I was going to have to start all over.

By the way, dried chicken poop is like concrete.

Another thing that upset me was that it was the end of chicken season. I was done buying birds; feed stores were done ordering them. I tried to order from the feed store, but I was going to have to order 25 of the only two breeds, neither of which I wanted, that they would be hatching in the next week. So sweet Brad, who is a self-proclaimed non-caregiver of chickens, encouraged me to order some from somewhere else.

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So I did. I ordered the minimum of all of the breeds I wanted. And a few weeks later I picked up 33 chicks from the post office. They were just what I wanted, but they brought my grand total of chickens up to 45! Forty-five!! I think they call this Chicken Math. I am hoping that I can manage to let some go live with a friend who also wants chickens. But the bus coop should handle whatever we end up with in the long run.


And… once again, I have poopy baby chicks on my porch. I have them in a huge watermelon box, and they are right comfy.

021 (2)Brad says my rigging up skills (pvc zip tied to box, lamp clamped to a piece of non-skid rug mat and stabilized with a ruler) would probably qualify me to work on a farm. Oh wait. I think I already do that!

But to make it all a little more complicated, since it’s hot as blue blazes here in the daytime, it’s too hot for them out on the porch, and I have to bring them inside during part of the day. Ugh. The watermelon box doesn’t move too easily, so I have to change them to a smaller box to bring them in. Double ugh. I didn’t think this whole thing out too swell, did I?

But watching them makes it better. They are the cutest little things.

067Laid out. Not dead. I promise.

002 (6)Snuggles. A white cochin, speckled sussex, and black australorp.

I gave them some egg yolks the other night, and they were so funny. One would grab a big piece of yolk and run around in circles trying to keep it from the others. And I already have a buddy. She (I hope it’s a she; my cochins were straight run.) is the loner in the bunch and the one who most likes to be held. I think she’s a Blue Cochin.

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001 (6)

They are now two weeks old and getting big fast. I have 5 Americaunas, 6 Wyandottes, 5 Speckled Sussex, 11 Cochins, and 6 Black Australorps. Plus a few others I already had, Browning, and my rooster – who may be rooster stew if he doesn’t stop attacking me.


crystal.cattle said...

I'm actually afraid of chickens! Yes, odd for a farm girl, but these guys are pretty cute. I hope your flocks turns out awesome!

Linsey said...

I had rooster stew!!!! EWWWW!!!!!

AA said...

Adorable!! They do sound like a lot of work but worth it when you have them in the bus coop! Good luck!

Candi James said...

How special is that!!! I love it Ashlee!

When I was little every Easter the Easter Bunny would bring us some chicks and they were fun for a while and then they would "disappear".....I wouldn't think about them any more. But this has sparked memories and all the sudden I am thinking this through to try to figure out "why" and "how" they disappeared! I can only imagine! LOL!

What in the world does Blair think about the chicks?

Caseybumpinalong said...

Found your blog through the BlogHer sidebar - loved your chicken post (but sorry about the massacre). We mail-ordered our first chickens last year - so fun (except for the concrete poop) to watch them grow. Wish we could have ordered more this year, but we are maxed out at 16 for now. We have australorps and ameracaunas, too. Love your blog!

Dana said...

Depending on how hot is too hot, you may not need the heat lamp. And for the heat, you can take milk jugs full of water and freeze them, then just change them out. The chicks will sit near it when they're too hot and away from it when they're not. I did that through 100 + heat last summer, and everyone did great.

Lisa said...

Love your blog! My husband found it (he's just starting to do the chicken thing) and sent me the link. We had chicks in our dining room for a week, and now they are out in the unfinished master bath--at least something's getting use of it :P