I was finally able to get a batch of baby chicks at the new house!
It’s been a bit of trial just getting the chicks in the first place. None of the local places could keep them in stock this spring, and even when they would get new shipments there was never much variety. I finally ended up ordering some online from a hatchery based out west. But while they all arrived seemingly safe, I ended up losing about half of them within a few days, probably just from unusually rough shipping conditions (the hatchery did refund me for the chicks that died, which I really appreciated).
However, as I was relating my Mama Hen woes to some family friends who also happen to have their own farm, they mentioned that one of their own hens had recently hatched a single chick. They offered me that chick to add to my dwindling brood, which also allowed them to put their hen back in with the rest of the flock. I was happy to accept!
So, I began with 8, went to down to 4, but then back to 5. It’s not a bad number for a starting flock. Hens lay about 1 egg a day, so I will still be very well fed, with enough eggs to share.
I already love my little babies; though, like all babies, they are growing so much faster than I would like them to. Right now they are living in a box in my garage, but soon I’ll start taking them outside for fieldtrips so that they can start experiencing grass and sunshine and all that goodness. By the Fourth of July, they’ll be big enough to live outside full-time. And I think sometime in the fall they should be mature enough to start giving me eggs.
My darling husband was allowed to name the chicks shortly after we got them, though generally he is forbidden such practices due to his love of puns and Dad Humor. But I was pretty amused by his choices, and so they were allowed to stand. For the original 8 chicks, he decided they should be named after the 7 Hobbit meals in Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings (Breakfast, Second Breakfast, Elevensies, etc.) plus Clyde. Of course, then we lost 4, so the remaining chicks are Second Breakfast, Dinner, Supper, and Clyde (Clyde was the first to distinguish herself and earn a name by being an absolute jerk and continually standing in the water bowl). When I was picking up my bonus chick, there was a sweet black cat on the farm named Darryl, and it was explained that he was named after the bit on the old Newhart show about a character named Larry and his brother Darryl and his other brother Darryl (if you don’t know it, look it up on YouTube). That bit amused me so much, I decided to name that chick Darryl as well. It’s currently undetermined whether Darryl is male or female or even what breed he/she might be, so that will be a fun mystery to solve in the next few months.
There is something extremely satisfying to my soul about raising animals. I love animals a great deal in the first place, and I often say that I will probably die one day from trying to pet something that I shouldn’t (I’m the reason they have so many safety measures at zoos. Those tigers just look SO SOFT.) Perhaps it’s also just that feminine instinct to care for and nurture something outside ourselves. I’m an extremely lazy person and I also get bored with routines very quickly, but I’ve never hesitated from having a living creature that needs daily feeding, water, and attention. I will often take better care of my animals than I do of myself. It’s a very grounding experience to have another life that is dependent on your care, even if that other life is only poultry.
What are your experiences of animals? Do you have pets now or did you grow up with them? Any experience with farm animals? Any interest in them? I’d love to hear about it!