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3.26.2011

The Chickens are here!

I'm excited to introduce the newest members of our household.  My eight seven baby chicks.


Breeds, from left to right: Lemon Orphington, Buff Orphington, Black Laced Wyandotte (striped one), Red Frizzle Bantam, Black Frizzle Bantam, White Silkie Bantam, Buff Orphington, and Black Laced Wyandotte.
Yes, that's right, I've already had to deal with the realities of being a chicken farmer.  When I woke up this morning one of the Wyandottes (the ones with the stripes on their backs) was dead.  And I didn't even cry, AND I took care of it myself (the last time something died on my watch it was a goldfish, and I waited until Scott came home from class and made him flush it for me...).

Back to the happy(ish) news.  I was supposed to be getting 20 chicks, 10 black laced wyandottes and 10 buff orphingtons.  However, as it often does in life, fate interceded.  In this case fate caused the heat element in the incubator to go out during the night.  So of the 20 eggs only 10 hatched, and of those 10 only 5 (and now 4) lived... and that's assuming the lemon orphington was with that batch, which I don't think it was.  So, because she felt bad, the lady who was hatching them for me threw in a white silkie, a red frizzle, and a black frizzle (and I'm assuming the lemon orph, as well).  I should be discouraged by the way things turned out, but even after finding a dead chick this morning I'm not.  I'm excited.  They're adorable and fun to watch, and I understand that things happen- heating elements go out while we're sleeping, chicks die for no reason... that's just life.  I'm excited to have such an assortment of chickens, instead of the two boring breeds I had settled on out of practicality.  Perhaps this is one of those "God knew better than I did" situations.  Who knows.  But the only thing that could frustrate me now is if every.  Single.  One.  Is a cockerel.   If so, the Orphs and Wyandottes will get eaten (except for the lemon- I'll either keep him for a rooster or sell him, depending on his volume level, but I think lemon orphs are rare and he/she is from show stock).  But if the Frizzles and the Silkie are males I'll be irked, because I'll have to get rid of them.  Silkies reportedly crow a lot, and I really don't want to irritate the neighbors.  However, since I know for sure I'm on the level with the township I am going to go knock on the neighbors' doors in the next week or so and let them know that I've gotten some chickens and ask them to please let me know the second anything bothers them.  Maybe the silkie's crowing (if he/she is a he) won't be loud enough to bother them?  Maybe none of them will care?  Maybe the offer of eggs will keep everyone happy?  Who knows. 

I will be getting more chickens to fill out my flock, but I think I'm going to wait a few weeks- at least until these feather out.  Part of me wants to wait until I know which of these first chicks is male and female, and then buy sexed chicks accordingly.  I also want to look into hatchery rescued hens, but that would have to wait until my coop and enclosure are ready.

I'll leave you with a few more chicken pics:
I think it's hilarious how they fall asleep standing up.

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