We’ve Got Chicks, Yes We Do…

Henrietta wonders what's up with the white eggs? Hers will be brown.

At a junior high honor roll assembly, our principal asked the kids to think of one thing they learned this week. They then had to turn and share what it was with a student sitting next them. Even though we parents weren’t asked to do the same, my friend grinned and asked what I came up with. I grinned back and said, “Chickens. I learned a lot about chickens.”

I picked up 7 chicks at the farm store last week. 3 different varieties (Sagitta, Sex Link Goldens and Amber Whites) . 95% chance they are hens. All should lay brown eggs. All are adorable.

Currently, the chicks are residing in an old horse trough in our garage. We have a little plastic watering contraption, a metal feeding contraption, a 50lb bag of food, and a heat lamp with a red bulb. Our initial investment was $59.38. ┬áThen I spent another $12 on Raising Chickens For Dummies. I’m very pleased with the amazing amount of info in this book.

So here’s what I know so far:

  • Meet Yolko.

    Chicks need traction or their legs won’t form correctly. I’m using old towels. Makes for easy clean up, too. Chicks poop a lot.

  • Chicks prefer a red light to a white light. Red is calming. White evidently says, “get moving.” I thought that was green, but whatever.
  • Cats are wild about chicks. We have our troff completely covered with a wire fence door. It offers good ventilation with good cat protection.
  • Chicks stay contained like this for 6 weeks or until they get all of their feathers.
  • The heat lamp needs to be pretty close to the chicks at first and then each week we can pull it back a little.
  • Chicks grow fast and at different rates. Our goldens are monsters in just a week compared to the amber whites and black Sagittas.
  • Chicks are adorable when they sleep. Their heads just collapse to the ground.
  • My “chicks” could start laying as soon as 5 months old and each will likely lay 6 eggs a week for about 2 years. Then not much or any. That was a big surprise!
  • I still don’t know near enough about chickens.

Brian’s got a good start on our chicken coop. He has 5 weeks to finish. That sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not. We have 3 boys playing baseball and are constantly running to games and practices.

And, the more I read, the more coop “requirements” I add to his list. ┬áMost importantly though, it needs to be safe from predators and easy to clean.

Our coop will be fully enclosed…even fence wire on the bottom. No dogs, cats, coyotes, hawks or eagles are getting in without permission. And, we hope to let our bunny, Oreo, hang out a little with the chickens. The wire will keep her little mischievous self from digging out.