I feel no farm is complete without some chickens. They are so valuable in so many ways. They help keep small bugs at bay, aerate the yard, oxygenate the compost pile and the garden. And most important, they provide lots of entertainment and breakfast too! I am a fan of the bantams…little sized chickens. They don’t dig to China and don’t need as much space.
Well, I was down to six Dutch bantams, five hens and one rooster that did not seem to be able to produce chicks. And these have decided to roost in the high rafters of the barn and not in either of our two coops. It works for them, they have not been taken by predators and I just feed them at the barn. But I wanted some chickens that use the coops, focus on the compost pile and are not flighty. I settled for cochins and a few silkies for decoration. Cochins are round fluffy birds with feathered feet, gentle personalities and aren’t flyers. Silkies are the poodles of the chicken world. Equally gentle but they keep fluffy downy feathers and have top knots. I could not find a source locally, so looked online for a mail order site. I found two companies, one out of Missouri and one out of Wisconsin. I ordered 15 mixed colored batch of cochins from one and 10 cochins and five silkies from another. I must confess that I was a bit nervous having live day old chicks going through the mail, but took the plunge.
I readied my brooder. I had not used it in at least a couple of years. I dug it out of the barn and put it under the pole barn and went to cleaning it out. The less said about the mummified mouse stuck half way through the mesh screen the better. I also cleaned out and around the two coops and will be adding a chicken fence to create a yard shortly. I nice source for a green chicken fence is Premier1. I am so excited to get the chickens going again.
So today they arrived! I received a call from the post office and both orders came at once! Yea! I went out to fill the feeder and both waterers. In one I put a solution of electrolytes. And got in the van to go get our new chicks, nervous, hoping all made it safely. When I got to the post office, a very small rural one, which I love because they know me and treat everyone warmly. Debbie asked if I was here for the chicks. I could hear them from the back, which was a relief, sort of like hearing your baby cry in the delivery room. She said they sound like they really want to get out of their boxes. She scanned their labels and handed me two chirping brown boxes with lots of holes. I looked through the holes…they seemed ok.
So home and took the boxes to the barn, and gently opened box one. All okay! I lift 15 tiny chicks into the brooder. And tiny they are, as bantams are miniature. Then box two. Yes! All alive! I lift them into the brooder too. With coffee in hand I settle back to watch everyone get used to their new digs. Several find the water quickly. Some sample the feed. Some huddle together looking a bit shell shocked. Then some start racing in circles, little laps around the feeder. Then I hear this loud chirp, over the chirps of the rest, from a different area. One of the boxes! One chick was pressed into the corner of the second box. Poor baby. I retrieved it and reunited him/her with his buddies.
And this brings up another point. I am not sure of how many hens or roosters I have. It is expensive to have the farm sex the chicks, and it is never 100% a sure thing. I do want a few roosters, but mostly hens. We will have to wait and see.
After enjoying my coffee, taking a few pics and a video, I come inside to blog and then get back to fiber work.
I’ll update more soon. I will enjoy the the bliss of having chicks on the farm again. All is right with the world. God hit home run when He came up with the chick.