Homesteading

Bringing Home Baby Chicks

This is Wendy (Darling.)

The heat in the car was cranked high and I was beginning to feel a little nauseated. We’d been driving for four hours already, on our way home from a weekend away at Sun Peaks Resort. The roads near Chilliwack Lake were windy and I desperately wanted to crack open a window. Sitting in a box at my feet directly under the heater, was 9 chirping birds. We were bringing home baby chicks.

I didn’t have plans to get day old chickens. Last year we had started with pullets, which are birds already 7 weeks old. Skipping the baby phase means avoiding the need for a brooder, special food, and a heat lamp. And yet, here we were.

Why We’re Going The Chick Route

Why did we opt for bringing home baby chicks this year? Apparently, I’m a glutton for punishment. Kidding. Kind of. I’m actually just picky. Last year we purchased basic birds. They’re great producers and regularly give us cream and brown eggs.

This year I wanted to expand my flock to include different breeds, which means different coloured eggs. These chicks include Ameraucanas, Copper Marans, and Olive Eggers. As long as they aren’t all roosters, we’ll be seeing blue eggs, green eggs, and dark chocolate eggs come Fall of this year.

Did You Say Roosters?

Yeah. I did say roosters. When you purchase day old chicks, they’re not sexed. It’s very hard to tell whether they’re male or female at that age. There are signs to watch out for, like larger feet and the early development of waddles and combs, but we won’t know for a while.

I’m hoping we’ve got no more than three roo’s in there, and hopefully not all in one breed! As long as I have at least one hen from each breed I’ll be happy.

Are Baby Chicks A Ton Of Work?

This is Styx. I’m worried SHE is a HE because I see a comb forming already and she’s LOUD.

So far, bringing home baby chicks hasn’t been a ton of work. They’re currently living in our laundry room. We purchased a flat heater to avoid any fire hazards and filled a large tupperware with wood chips. I check their food and water every few hours and make sure none are suffering from pasty butt; the most common killer of chicks. It’s essentially when dried poop covers their vent so they can no longer evacuate.

Once they begin to get bigger, we’ll transfer them to the larger cage my husband built. We’ll begin exposing them to colder air to prepare them for living outside. That cage will eventually be moved into our main coop to introduce the babies to the year old hens. Hopefully all will go well and no one will try to kill each other once they’re all put together. Yes, that happens.

Girl, Wrap It Up.

A cute little ball of fluff.

Call me crazy, but I love having chickens. They’re not the smartest creatures in the world (okay, serious understatement – they’re pretty stupid) but they’re fun to watch and they give you eggs. The upkeep is very minimal if you have a good coop set up.

I won’t say bringing home chicks saves you money, because you do have to buy feed and nesting material, but knowing where your food comes from? That’s priceless.

Comments

comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *