We have several neighbors and family members who, like us, have a great appreciation for farm fresh, free range eggs. A couple weeks back, the hens started laying more so my husband put the word out to some neighbors that we had some eggs for available. Immediately we had requests for more eggs than we had on hand. At that point we decided that we should add some laying hens to our flock this year.
I wanted to get an early start with the chicks, so when we found last week that the local farm store had chicks we decided it was time to get ready. Over the weekend my husband brought the brooder (stock tank) inside and took the chick water and feed dishes out of storage. Tuesday morning, before we went to the farm store, he brought out the heat lamp and put wood chips in the brooder for bedding.
Scout and Trooper have been through this with us a couple times before, and Scout especially loves baby chicks. We have taught him that those are “his babies”. When we got home from the farm store the boys were eager to see the chicks.
You might think it is risky letting the dogs get so close to the chicks, and yes to some degree it is, but the boys have learned that they have to “be nice” to their “babies”. Sometimes the chicks get nosed around a little or even get doggie (tongue) bath, but we have yet to lose a chick because of the boys.
We planned on getting more Silver Laced Wyandotte’s and we compromised on getting nine pullets. When we got to the farm store we discovered that the Wyandotte’s both silver and gold laced were completely sold out. So we decided to get Buff Orpingtons.
Although Buff Orpingtons were not our first choice they really are a nice breed. Of our adult chickens I think they are the friendliest, they lay consistently large or extra large eggs, and of the three breeds we have (including Rhode Island Red and Silver Laced Wyandotte) the Buffs are the only ones that have gone broody and raised chicks. They do make good mothers. I am not sorry we got the buffs.
For the first couple weeks or at least until they get their feathers, their brooder will be indoors and Scout and Trooper will come running whenever we tend to the chicks. We put a step stool next to the brooder so Scout can put his feet up and look over the side. Trooper is tall enough to just look over the side.
After they get all of their feathers and the weather is good enough we will move them to a hutch on the deck where they can still have the heat lamp for warmth, but they will have more space.
It didn’t surprise me, on day two of having the chicks here, when my husband took this empty “Silk” carton and made them a play house. In fact I’m more surprised that he hasn’t made them a jungle gym with a tire swing and a seesaw… Yet. He’s such a good chicken daddy.
As for me I am enjoying hearing “peep peep peep” and “peck peck peck”. It makes me think spring 🙂