Tuesday, April 29, 2014
I've been keeping a secret from you! For the past 4 months Paul and I have been working our way through the bureaucracy of securing a chicken permit, designing and building a coop and planning for the day where we would welcome a tiny little backyard flock into our lives. There were a lot of hoops to jump through, which is why I didn't want to post about it until I knew we were in the clear. We have to finish building and installing the coop and go through the final city inspection before we'll be all set but we are close enough to get the chicks! Since these little ones need some time to mature inside before occupying a coop, we can get a jump start on the season by getting them now. Without further ado, please let me introduce you to our girls!
They were hatched at the hatchery yesterday and then immediately shipped to EggPlant Urban Farm Supply. I had pre-ordered so 3 chicks were earmarked for me. I got to pick out which ones I wanted within the breed I had ordered. After a quick drive home, they were a little stressed and a little cold, so the first order of business was a nap under the heat lamp, leaning on each other, swaying and bobbing as they tried to sleep on their feet.
This is our brooder setup. To give you some scale, the feeder is a pint jar and the waterer is a quart jar. They are tiny little birds! My dad tells me that in a week or so, I will need to put a barrier of some sort over the top to keep them from getting out.
They took to the food and water right away. They will double in size the first week, so they spend a lot of time eating!
When chickens are hatched, they don't have feathers, but instead are rather fluffy. You can see the immature wing with odd little stubby parts in this picture.
The fluff is so soft! There is probably a technical word for it, but I am going to stick with "fluff."
After spending just a little bit of time with them, I am seeing some of their personality come through. Slowest to reveal any distinct traits has been our Barred Rock (photo below) whom we've named Camilla Cordon Bleu. She has a charming little baby comb on her head. We had hoped to get a Silver Laced Wyandotte but the hatchery was temporarily out, so we ended up with this lady instead. I think we'll add a Silver Laced Wyandotte in the future, but for now, Camilla is a part of the family.
Nellie Noodle Soup is a Rhode Island Red and so far she is staking her claim as top dog. She is the bravest explorer, first to drink the water, quick to scramble up and over a flockmate to get to a prime bit of food and apt to nudge others out of the way for the toastiest spot under the heating lamp.
She spent a while trying to eat the letters on the glass jar, so I imagine she will be entertaining to watch as she explores new things.
Last but certainly not least, we have Petunia Pot Pie, an Ameraucana/Easter Egger. She is potentially going to lay blue/green eggs for us. So far she is winning my heart. I picked her because while all of the other chicks were looking down and jostling for what they wanted, she stopped to look up at the people peering down at her. Since I have brought her home, she is consistently the first one of the three to notice what is happening outside of the brooder. She is also the only one that doesn't fuss when being held. Yep, she is my favorite so far!
Even though it is their first day here, they are already earning their keep with their silly antics. In this picture, Petunia decided to lay down next to the feeder to catch a quick nap while Nellie is standing partly on her and partly on the feeder trying to preen while struggling a bit with the whole balance/gravity thing. Camilla is unaware of what is happening because she is gleefully flinging bits of food out of the feeder.
I am really excited about this new addition to our ever-growing urban homestead. There is so much to learn and I look forward to the knowledge and experience this new venture will bring. I view these chickens as a cross between pet and livestock. They will give us entertainment, companionship, awesome manure for compost and, of course, eggs!
Posted by Trinity at 5:00 PM