Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Time for Baby Chicks

Spring is finally here and I could not be happier.  After the rough, frigid temperatures and the never ending piles of snow, this girl was thrilled to put on Capri's, flip flops and a t-shirt!  I must admit that it was short lived.  Today, when I woke up there was a dusting of snow on my car.  Only in Indiana does it seem that the temperatures fluctuate so drastically on a daily basis. 

One thing I really enjoy about Spring, is all the baby chicks we start raising.  I actually purchased about 70 back in February.  I do this every year, however, the first batch I received from the hatchery didn't survive the cold journey on the mail truck.  The post office called to tell me there was no chirping or movement in the box and I should think about refusing the package.  I refused the package and called the hatchery.  They were so kind and sent another shipment to me within a week.  All of these survived but two.  If you are just starting out and want a good hatchery to purchase from, I suggest McMurray Hatchery.  They are wonderful to work with and their birds are of the highest quality.

These pullets are now about 2 months old.  We kept them in the garage with the heat lamps to start off with and we have now moved them to the small barn where they will be free to roam around inside and outside (when I am home to supervise them and watch for predators).  At this particular age, the pullets are easy pray for predators when they are outside.  Falcons and hawks will swoop down and take them when you're not watching closely.  We have also had trouble with minks, raccoons and neighboring cats trying to prey on these sweeties.  Fortunately, we have our faithful dogs, Sadie and Libby who diligently help control the predators.

I'm not really supposed to share this picture with you (thus him pointing the finger at me), but I couldn't resist.  After we had moved all 70 of the chicks, Bill "reclined" on the cement to take a break.  I can't say enough good stuff about my husband...I fall deeper in love with him everyday.  He doesn't particularly like the chickens, but he loves me and it shows...maybe not by this picture though!  Lol!  It's probably a good thing Bill is there to keep me grounded, or we would have an entire farm of different animals by now.

If you are considering starting a backyard chicken project, I would strongly suggest this time of the year.  The Spring weather is perfect for baby chicks (after being under the heat lamp for a few weeks) and for you.   The baby chicks above were hatched at the 2014 Henry County Ag Day event where all the first graders in the county schools came out and learned how pizza ingredients come from a farm.  These little lovelies came back to the farm with me along with two adorable cats.  It's really awesome to teach kids about farm life and for them to learn that their food comes from hard working farmers and not from the back of a grocery store.  Before you purchase any type of animal, make sure you have adequate shelter, food, water and anything else they might need.  If it's chicks, be sure to have a heat lamp (or two), shavings for them to walk on and a good dry area/container to keep them in.
Here's to you and a Happy Spring!

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