What can I say…I love chickens. My current girls, 4 Gold Comets I picked up last Memorial Day weekend, are not quite 9 months old and lay enough eggs for me to sell a dozen a week and still have plenty for my household. I’ve been waiting for Chick Days since I moved to the farm, and yesterday was the first opportunity to get new babies from my supplier, Heartland Hatchery.
Having 5 times the babies meant I needed to expand the brooder box. I returned to Lisa Steele (http://fresheggsdaily.com) – my absolute favorite source for all things chicken – and reviewed her brooder box plans. One box is dedicated to feed and water, the other has roosting bars installed.
I spent time this winter doing calculations before deciding to add 20 chickens this year. I prefer sex linked chickens – this means you can tell by their coloring as chicks whether they are male or female – and knew I wanted more Gold Comets. I also chose Silver Laced Wyandottes – they are beautiful black and white birds that also lay a high number of eggs per year.
After dipping each chick’s beak in sugar water we headed home, where the heat lamps were already on and feed was ready. I added sugar water to the bowl and they are doing well. This morning they were quietly sleeping when I popped over to check them at 4.45 (after clicking the coffeemaker on). My sweet pup remembers the red light and cheeping, and quietly sits under the table whilst I check them.
The funny part is how little I’m worried about these babies. In some ways I now feel like an old hand at chick raising, not that I expect an easy job, just that I am more confident in the process. They’ll grow up fast…and the brooder suite will face a cycle of ducklings (squee!). But more about that later.