I Now Have CHICKS!!!
Patti sparked my interest in chickens early last year with her chickens, chicken tractors and gardens. I knew that someday I would definitely own some egg layers! And all of the other benefits of owning chickens just fit so well with my garden and our family's sustainability. Thank you so much Patti! I have learned so much from you and your videos!
Well, I was going to do the mail order thing for my chicks. I was going to have to order 25 which I wasn't really thrilled about. I thought I might get the dozen layers and then the rest as meat birds. But all I really wanted was a dozen laying hens.
Well, on Thursday last week, I visited my local feed & seed store. I remember they had "chicks" on their sign last year. So I inquired to see if they were ordering again this year. And they had already placed their order! The chicks were hatched on Wednesday, were shipping on Thurday (the day I was at the store) and were arriving on Friday!
So I talked to the owner about the breeds she had ordered. She had the Easter Eggers (Ameraucanas) and the Rhode Island Reds in her order. Plus, she had order several other breeds, of which another interested me -- the Barred Rock. So I went home and "investigated" the Barred Rock and got the info I needed on it.
On Friday morning I went back to the feed store and the chicks had arrived but not been unpacked yet. I checked out the label and they were from Ideal Poultry (www.ideal-poultry.com) which I have read about online as a good hatchery. Yeah!!!!! So that's when I definitely knew that I would be buying chicks from the feed store.
I wanted a total of 1 dozen -- so, that meant 6 of the Ameraucanas, 3 of the Rhode Island Reds, and 3 of the Barred Rock. I got to pick out the ones I wanted (I chose the ones who were eating and drinking and very alert). Plus, on the Ameraucanas, I tried to chose the most different looking ones I could find to help me tell them apart from each other LOL The 3 Rhode Island Reds are going to be difficult to tell apart.
Now the 3 Barred Rock are a little easier to tell apart because I have one of them in "chickie jail" doing a session of re-hab LOL She's a meany... kinda wondering if SHE might be a HE.... only time will tell. She's the smallest of the 3 Barred Rocks. Then I have one that is larger and one that is medium size...
I'm designing the coop now for DH to build. He's really getting excited about the birds too. We're trying to design our back yard to accomodate the garden, chickens and maybe even a steer or two later! DH was raised on a dairy farm and they always raised their own beef cattle too. So he is experienced in this field. We live on 2 acres and we'd be able to dedicate at least 3/4 of an acre to the two calves. So with grazing, feeding hay and feed, we'd have 2 nice steers by the end of the year. He said that we could have one for our freezer and sell the other to cover the costs of raising both. This is how they would do it in Kentucky when he lived on the family farm. I told him I would take care of the chickens -- he has to deal with the calves LOL I'm not a cow person LOL
Something interesting -- DH has been researching the prices of calves and it seems that last year there wasn't as much feed produced (I guess because of the drought in some areas and also the increased use of corn as ethanol/fuel). So, the feed prices went up. So farmers sold off alot of their beef cattle instead of having to pay the higher prices to feed them through the winter (when there is no grass for them to graze on). Well, this is turning into higher beef prices at the grocery stores now.... And higher calf prices at the stock yards. Now is the time to buy the calves as the price is forecasted to go up even more by Spring (the traditional time people buy calves at the stock yard). So, it's something that we need to make our minds up about now..... if we have plans on doing anything this year.
Ah, I've rambled on alot on this post (sorry).