The Chicks at 122

So as I’ve mentioned in a couple of previous posts, we have chicks around here again. This was totally unplanned.

Somehow I managed to walk through all of the feed store “chick days” without buying any chicks. But I still ended up with six chicks.

Virginia law requires that you buy a minimum of six chicks from the feed stores / hatcheries. But private farms don’t have that requirement. So, visiting with a couple of small farmers recently is how I ended up with two chicks and then another four chicks.

All throughout the chick days events at a couple of different feed stores we visit I maintained my fortitude that we absolutely could not add six more chicks to our flock this spring. I was so strong and invincible. Even when my favorite feed store had lavender orpingtons. Even though I went and looked at lavender orpingtons three different times. I was strong gosh darnit.

I did tell my boys that if/when any one of our full size hens went broody that I would allow her to sit on up to three eggs from either the Australorp or the Crested Cream Legbars. I would not allow a broody bantam to sit on the eggs, nor would I allow any of the bantam or red hens eggs to be sat on.

Our four red girls are excellent egg layers, but they are also hybrid birds. And I absolutely regret the day I said yes to my boy begging for bantams. Usually it is only one or both bantams that are broody. But this spring, both bantams, the Australorp, and one of the crested legbars are broody. But since they are broody, they are not laying eggs. They are just stealing everyone else’s eggs to sit on. I currently have four broody hens fighting over the same nesting box, which means I only have five out of nine hens laying eggs right now. Slackers.

But, I did tell my boys the hens could hatch eggs if we had up to three of the desirable eggs available to sit on. That never happened. And now it is impossible for us to hatch any eggs, because our rooster is no longer with us.

So with four broody hens wanting to sit on eggs, and running into a silkie chicken farmer, and then accidentally buying two of her silkies, I thought why not see if one of the broody gals would take the chicks and sit on them. Nope. Slackers.

Out came the ginormous brooding pen, set up in our living room again. Last spring we had ten chicks, so we had to have the big one.

Then we had to make a trip a couple hours north of us to a goat farm selling a goat stanchion that I needed, and she just so happened to have some chicks for sale. They were 2-3 week old Americaunas, which are a breed we had considered getting because my son really wants more blue eggs. I thought that would be perfect, because we already had the 4-5 weeks old silkies. So we picked up two of those gals. My thinking was that buying older chicks would minimize how much time we need the brooder in the house.

But as we were finishing up with our purchase, the lady mentioned her Marans which are one of the breeds that were on my list for next spring…and I ended up leaving with two of those one-day-old Marans.

I’m so weak.

Again, not a single one of those four broody hens would accept the chicks to sit on. Slackers!

So much for getting that brooding pen out of my house by the end of April. I’m so weak. Those broody hens are not very motherly, not laying eggs, and not pulling their weight these days! They had better stop that nonsense soon.

So anyways, without further ado, here are our little gals…we suspect one of the silkies may be a roo though. Not good news around here taking into consideration the fate of our last roo.

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Willimena (Maran) sitting on America (Americauna)
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Mavis (Maran) sitting on Dudley (Americauna)
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Full circle clockwise from left: Dudley, Anakin, Mavis, America, Columbus, and Willimena.
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Size comparison: Willimena and Columbus (Silkie)
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Dudley, America, Mavis, and Willimena

Our cat Monster has always loved the little chicks and is so gentle and tolerant of everything my boys put him through. He’s truly the best cat ever. In his old age, he doesn’t care to chase little birds. But once upon a time he would have been way to active and playful to handle this. Now he just checks on them, falls asleep, and is cool as a cucumber. The Marans are absolutely adorable and pretty much fall asleep in our hands every time we pick them up. The Americaunas will lay on their backs.

So there you have it folks. We went from 10 chickens to 16 and now we are at 15 hens and pullets. We suspect that Columbus is a roo, but we still don’t know for sure. Time will tell. It’s awful quiet in our little barnyard without the roo, that is taking some getting used to.

We had better hurry up and add a couple more roosting bars to the hen house. That is among the handful of coop and run work we will need to work on this summer.

Thanks for stopping by today!

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