Chicks 2013…warning: a lot of pictures!

As much as I love to eat chicken and believe in the values of farm life and homesteading, I could not eat these little guys we picked up May 11th from our one boothed post office in Olga. With only the loss of two, we have a brood of fourteen. Of course, I told O it would only be about eight but it was barely economical to buy  the small amount of fifteen (plus my our free exotic… who kicked it within 16 hours). And now I think I have found a new home for 4-6 of the girls, but how on earth could I choose? The first year we moved to Orcas, in 1993, I bought fifty with not a clue of how to raise poultry.
chickens May 2013For those of you who have had chicks and love them, you’ll probably enjoy the next thirty or so photos. And those who don’t, well I’ve got an excellent roast chicken with Sumac to share on FB- but I couldn’t bare to put it here.

Here’s the technical info on Chicks 2013 cut and pasted from McMurray Hatchery. We have 4 Buff Orpingtons (3 female and 1 male), 4 New Hampshire Reds, 2 Buff Rocks, 2 Speckled Sussex and 2 Dominiques. I’d love to add/trade for a couple Aracauna’s/Americauna’s and Copper Marens for  the egg colors. (The link to MyPetChicken is a source for small quantity purchases). And yes… 1 rooster for the 14 hens.

Chickens May 2013-4 Chickens May 2013-3 Chickens May 2013-2They kicked up dust living in a plastic bin in the pantry for two weeks. The first couple days we had cardboard down and I hadn’t realized they were collecting little shit balls on their feet. Now I’m adding these photos to help you avoid this issue. My daughter, Chloe, horrified I took pics, actually took one of me taking one  of the chick’s feet!

chickens May 2013-3 Let’s just say their was some bonding going on as I took each little chick and ran warm water over their toes gently rolling and nudging off the clay like formation, their delicate toenails happy to be free to grow normal. I know they were thanking me in their own little way. (I’m totally divulging my luny side) yeah… that was 114 toes.chickens May 2013-2We turned Chloe’s playhouse into chick fort knox. We’ve experienced traumatizing poultry kill in the past and I wanted our girls and guy locked up safe. We enclosed their entire mini yard. Free ranging in the garden will happen on days we are outside working and can keep an eye on them. Gone are the summer evenings we have to leave a party at dusk to make sure the girls are safely put away.  We (we being Wade our friend and helper) dug down two feet with wire at an angle plus metal roofing to keep out digging raccoons.

Chickens May 2013-8

Chickens May 2013-6Their first day from the plastic container to chick Hilton…Not too shabby.

Chickens May 2013-11 Chickens May 2013-10

This wee gal had to stay in for some R&R as she was being bullied. They started picking at her tail (which I did not take a pic of) till it was bloody. This is why they debeak in factories. They are all crammed so close and without monitoring, once they start they don’t stop. She actually kept trying to jump out of her infirmary to get back with the rest of the pack- I guess no attention was worse than bad attention.  It happened a second time in the coop and I pulled her again. We again cleaned her up with iodine and sprayed apple bitters on her bum and it hasn’t happened again. I think she’s in the clear.

Chickens May 2013-12

After about another week they hit the greenery… and LOVED it.  Say hello little poser NH Red. It’s pretty sweet when their neck feathers are the last to mature.

Chickens May 2013-14 A Speckled Sussex…Chickens May 2013-17 Our one Buff Orpington rooster. The rest were sex linked females. Believe me- it’s worth the extra 50 cents/chick if you don’t plan on “harvesting” the extra roosters.Chickens May 2013-16 Are these cute little butts or what!Chickens May 2013-15I’m so pretty….I’m so preetttyyy… she merrily tweets. Same poser I swear.Chickens May 2013-20 Only weeks old and the instinctual dust bath begins…Chickens May 2013-29 Chickens May 2013-28 Chickens May 2013-27 The Dominique too begins rolling and primping…Chickens May 2013-25 Chickens May 2013-24 Cut back to Rooster (I think).Chickens May 2013-35 Chickens May 2013-36 Peek a boo… life is sweet.Chickens May 2013-40

They figured out their little plank walk in no time.

Chickens May 2013-37

Oh no… i’m not done yet. You would think that. But I’m not. Enter Otis…Doesn’t look good does it.

Chickens May 2013-13We sit in there together. I massage his shoulders to keep him calm. Chickens May 2013-19He creeps in like maybe they won’t notice…

Chickens May 2013-30Which actually they don’t…

Chickens May 2013-31

We’ll be in there about 30 minutes I’d say. Otis is a champ.

Chickens May 2013-32I’m ready to yank full stop if he gets too close.

Chickens May 2013-33So far so good.

Ok… say goodnight Gracie.chickens May 2013-5Now I’m done.

Tschüß xx

PS – A little thank you to Spinning Pixels for her chick tales. We so think alike!

44 responses

  1. I just love love your coop! – I am getting ready to build a bigger one out back too. I am totally with you on the Americaunas and Copper Marans – great minds do think alike LOL
    I am hoping to pick some of those up this weekend from my new chicken farm friend – I want colorful eggs 🙂 so fingers crossed that the mixed batch of breeds she has will have some of those.
    The other ones I want are Silkies – they look like fraggles and are supposed to be super sweet natured

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    • Hi Shelly- I don’t know if we would have gone so elaborate from scratch but it seemed a good use of the playhouse. It’s really not been in use for years now. And I’m very happy with it being fully enclosed- though I still wake up in the morning with a little pang of did I bolt the door completely. I like the one your son put together- we are getting up some nesting boxes and perches today.

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  2. How lovely …. And Otis is there too – very interesting country life you have started. How will you be able to put those chicks on your plate .. when times comes. My grandmother told me that we should never give chicken names, because that make us to think about them as pets and will be too hard when it’s time for the pot. Wonderful post and the photos was brilliant – some of look very posh – the little grey ones. I hope we will be able to follow their development – and what a fantastic shed. Nothing but the best for Wendy’s chicks.

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    • I’m no “real” farmer and these particular chicks will not be on my plate. I just bought a dozen freshly “harvested” chickens for our freezer from a neighboring farm to grace our table. I would and think I could at some point buy chicks for meat but I’d have to get my head around it from the get go. Same with the pigs. I think like Cecile over at kitchens garden- their names would be something like pork chop and BBQ. The chickens would be called fricassee and molé:)

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      • Wendy, I will never be able to be a farmer neither. I love the names – pate … too.
        What would will do with them when they a big enough to eat …. collect eggs ???? *smile

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  3. Oh Wendy these are wonderful!! I’m almost teary looking at these precious little chicks. And the pictures of Otis with the babies are adorable. I want to live at your house!
    On a sad note… I lost my Pepper on Sunday. She was the Silver Laced Wyandotte. I cannot believe how attached I’ve become, I cried most the day. Silly! We’re not sure what happened, but it could be egg bound or heart attack because when I let the hens out that morning everyone one was happy and clucking and running and jumping. Then I went back two hours later to bring them kale and Pepper was gone. 😦 The other three seem a little sad so I’ve been sitting in the pen petting and playing with them every day. Ok, so maybe a goat isn’t such a good idea. The first illness and I’d run it to the vet!
    Hope you’re doing well Wendy! Hugs!

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    • Woe is me. I’m sorry for you and understand your emotions. It’s hard to explain how we can get so attached to chickens but I doubt not that it happens. I’ve experienced something similar. Maybe it will be time again to visit mypetchicken.com. xx wt

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    • I took so many. It’s a lot of fun to hang with them. I’ve officially named her Gracie. Do you know the old show with George Burns and his wife – “Say goodnight Gracie” was a line from it. This little speckled sussex struggled the second day we had them and Chloe and I carried her around our necks in my bathing suit top till she recuperated. I swear she comes out of the group first to greet me.

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  4. OH wow! Absolutely beautiful. What’s the apple biter – is that what stopped the other chicks pecking at her bum?
    I’m in full admiration of the building work, it’s an idyllic spot for the chicks indeed! So you will only be taking eggs from them and not eating these? (Loved the recipe over on FB rather than on the blog lol – as though the chicks might smell something sinister 😛 )
    Otis is a real star, love him ❤

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    • Apple bitters is a spray we use on the dog for heat rash or something itchy. It tastes really nasty. I think between the iodine and that- and washing off the blood… they stopped. And it seems good now.
      These ladies will only be for joy, entertainment, eggs and chicken tractor duties (you get them in the garden and they scratch them up and fertilize them beautifully- I’ll take pics after we harvest the garlic beds).
      Otis does drive me bonkers in the garden but his sweet side totally makes up for it!

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  5. I am very envious. My friend from Roundwood in Co. Wicklow has emigrated. His hens have been dispersed and my source of glorious real free range eggs has gone.
    I hope they work out for you.
    Best,
    Conor

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    • And ditto here- Backyard chickens are the rage. You don’t need a rooster and from what I can tell you have the space to do just 3 or 4. That’s all you need and it’s easy to keep track of the names 🙂

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  6. lovely coop wendy.. reminds me of my childhood when we live in the province.. we have so many hens and i get excited and so thrilled getting eggs from the nest every morning.. fun post, thanks for sharing..

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    • It’s my pleasure to share these. I’ve been putting the photos together for a month. I can’t stop taking pictures- it’s ridiculous really.
      Chickens are great to experience at some point in life.

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  7. Wendy, what an amazing coop! Your chicks are lovely. I had no idea they debeaked chickens commercially – I really need to learn more about where my food comes from. Although I’ve only been buying organic locally raised chickens for the past year so hopefully, they live up to the promise of being raised naturally and humanely. I absolutely love the pictures of Otis creeping up on the chicks – adorable!

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    • It’s really a sad business. You can check out the food documentaries such as Fork over Knife or Michael Pollen’s. There is a whole slew of them. They are heavily slanted of course but there is still some good information and I like to watch them to gather facts we don’t often think about.
      Great you can buy local chicken- best case is you have a visit on the farm- then you really know.

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    • Thanks so much. The traveling is a challenge and something we consider heavily. With the coop being completely enclosed it helps but someone still has to feed and water every couple days. But we still aren’t ready for goats which is on my someday list 🙂

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  8. So adorable! My aunt and uncle had a farm and a hen house when I was a kid. I named the chickens, and one day my fav was served for dinner. It’s one of the reasons I’m a veggie now. I’m so happy for your chickens…and you! 🙂 🙂

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    • Oh that hurts. Way to ruin your taste for meat. These guys as I’ve mentioned will be for pleasure and eggs. Gracie,Georgia and Valerie are as far as I’ve got for names. I have to get to know them a little more 🙂 And we did decide to pass on four to our neighbors- so good thing I haven’t named them all yet.

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      • 🙂 Naming them is the final threshold of adoring them! Your chickens are gorgeous! My N would love the eggs. I make him free-range eggs quite often in the AM.
        Here in Toronto there was talk about letting people keep (in their adequate back yards) a few chickens for the eggs.
        It still hasn’t come true! 🙂

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      • It’s all the rage in Seattle. Loads of backyard bloggers and I’m pretty sure at least one somebody wrote a book. You can just get like 2 hens and they’ll never know.

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      • In Toronto….. hmmm.. they love to levy fines here, anything for a buck. I’d have to think on that. If I named 2 chickens, and they got confiscated, I’d be ….well, not happy.
        BTW, your little hen house is adorable!!! _Resa

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  9. Aww so adorable. I love that picture of the dog just watching them. You have done a lot of work and now I can’t wait to read all about the egg recipes coming our way… Take care, BAM

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  10. Loved reading about and seeing your lovely new chicks! Keep us updated, they are beautiful and Otis is a good shepard boy. (don’t fetch, buddy!) He is so stinkin’ handsome, love his ‘still-puppy’ ways.

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  11. What fun! We have chickens in Germany (ok my Sister in law keeps them) but it’s great to go out in the garden and collect fresh eggs to bake with. My brother in law built them a villa similar to yours. Your pictures are great.

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    • Thanks Lora… i bet you miss them! I’m really looking forward to the eggs. We did sell four of them and now have 9 hopeful layers and one rooster. We’ll keep getting eggs from the neighbors probably till Sept.

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  12. What fantastic shots, i raise my chicks on old hay and grit so that their feet are never on a smooth surface, it is actually not good for their feet to be on the flat.. but look at your lot, they are fantastic… love the shots in the green.. your coop is very high class compared to mine, but thankfully we do not have such a problem with predators, though why I do not know! have a lovely day with your delightful flock! c

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    • That’s good info. They ended up on wood chips from a leftover bag of small animal litter-(yes my daughter had pet rats). And that’s been good- now they are outside a majority of the time with straw coming soon. Thanks for popping over:-)

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  13. Naw! Your little chicks are so sweet! Thanks for sharing these pictures with us. My husband had his own chicken as a boy (he and his two brothers had one each) and he was in love with it… and yes, this is another tale that ends with the ‘pet’ on the dinner plate! He said that he cried when he saw it on his plate, and he continued crying whilst he ate it… because it tasted so good, but he felt so terrible! Poor little thing. Luckily, he hasn’t been permanently scarred and he continues to enjoy chicken (and eggs!) now. Your little flock of birds look happy. As does Otis (aw!). Good luck as they continue to grow! xx

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  14. The “Playhouse Hilton” looks lovely. I think your girls will be providing you with lots of fresh eggs while living in such lovely quarters. 🙂

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    • I cannot wait till they start laying- feels like a long time but I know it will be here quick… which will mean summer is winding up- it all happens so fast! Hope you are enjoying the beginning of summer.

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