Thursday, July 15, 2010

chicks: before and during

Baby Chicks. One of the cutest things known to man. They keep you guessing with their soft yellow downy fuzz - wondering what they're going to turn out to look like - and growing into their feathers that will soon appear.

We picked our Heavy Breed (straight run) Special from Reich's Poultry at the Post Office on May 26th, they were all a day or two old. We had ordered 50 - when you order that amount, they throw in five extra, and when I counted, we had 56.

There is, along with the element of surprise, an element of dread as well when raising baby chicks. With life, there is death. And so it is. There is the possibility that one or several more of these chicks will not survive for whatever reason - natural or man-made - and you will have to deal with it.

As far as the "after" that is missing from the title of this post:

Although we are raising these chicks with the high hopes that there are lots of hens (with a 'straight run' order, you get the hatchery's choice, or leftovers, of sex) there is the reality that there are more roosters than we want and so at around 10-12 weeks, we will slaughter them, process them and henceforth put them in the freezer.

The hens will remain here at Hope Farms for the rest of their lives - chickens can live to a ripe old age of 30-35 years, although their average lifespan is about 15 years. They provide great free entertainment too. It is always interesting to spend time with chickens and note their freakiness dispositions, the hierarchy of the flock, and how they respond to you, the human.

And now I leave you, potential chicken whisperer apprentice gentle reader with this video, which should make you a.) smile b.) want to order a batch of chicks and c.) somehow know that your head needs examining 3 weeks into raising baby chicks in your spare room, which now smells -strangely - like baby chick poop.

1 comment:

cherie said...

Chickens are all the rage, even off the farm. More and more people I know are keeping them. I would love to, but afraid they may not be compatible with my patio... hmmmm....

I am grieving just a little for the roosters though. :( Poor boys.

I seriously AM coming to visit Hope Farms one of these days. Maybe make a crazy road trip of it.

What is this leisure time of which you speak?

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