Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Picking Up Chicks - 2012

We have our new baby chicks!
We drove down to Jennifer's on Monday to pick them up, and I was very happy with what I saw. We ended up getting 50 chicks, a mix of the four breeds I'd been thinking of (New Hampshire Reds, Barred Rock, Speckled Sussex, and Buff Orpington) and also a mix of ages (about four of them are already a week or more old; they look like gawky teenagers next to the other adorable fluffballs).
I've never gotten chicks this early in the year before, but the weather was so warm this spring I thought it would be OK. Of course, the day I picked up my babies, the temperature dropped 20 degrees! But I have the brooder covered with an old wool blanket, and they seem to be warm enough.
(the old porch beams are to hold the chicken wire down so our cat doesn't eat our new babies)

We don't have a thermometer in the brooder; I judge the temperature by how the chicks act. If they are all huddled under the heat lamp, they're most likely cold; if they're in the far corners, I assume they're too warm. Most of the time, I find the chicks napping in a ring around the edges of the heat lamp's main focus, so I think they're pretty cozy.

We did lose one chick this morning (it had been failing since we brought it home), but the rest look healthy and strong. They seem quieter and more laid-back than other chicks we've raised (but still very active, and they definitely have healthy appetites!) I can't wait to see what they're like as hens!

I've been throwing in weeds once or twice a day, with roots and soil attached (as Harvey Ussery recommends in The Small-Scale Poultry Flock), mostly dandelions and sheep sorrel. They seem to really enjoy them, and the weeds are generally gone by the next time I come to check on the chicks.
I'm very pleased with this batch of chicks, and I'm excited to think that, since I brought them home almost two months earlier than I've done with previous batches, they should be laying eggs earlier in the fall - perhaps September rather than late October or November?

I can't wait to see what this year will bring!

This post is part of the Homemaking Link-Up at Raising Homemakers and Simple Lives Thursday.


  1. They are so cute, I can't wait to see them grow!

  2. So sweet! I just know you're going to love the Speckled Sussex. They've been my favorite so far.

    Can't wait to see how they grow!