Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Of Chicks And Chickens!

We picked up 14 chicks today.
They need to be kept in a brooding box under a red heat lamp for a couple of weeks in order to grow big and strong before we can bring them into their coop.

This is very exciting, and we are at the same time both terrified and then again confident about being chicken farmers.

Lots of group-snuggling

On the one hand it seems quite easy and uncomplicated.
On the other hand it feels like a huge responsibility.

Wil wiping little Welsummer's chick-butt.

We are complete chicken virgins and there are so many things you need to consider and watch out for: You need to provide them with the right temperature, food and mineral/vitamins and keep away parasites and predators such as hawks and owls or coyotes and weasels.

No, it's not dead. That's how they sleep. Scared the shit out of us...

For our first set of chickens we chose dual-purpose birds, means they are good for eggs AND meat. Among them are big black Australorps, beautiful French Marans, grey and funny looking Ameraucanas and one copper-brown Welsummer.

from left to right: Marans, Welsummer, Ameraucana, Australorp rooster

Our focus will be on eggs for now. I don't even know if I will ever be able to kill a chicken myself. Unfortunately at that young stage (they are only a few days old) it's hard to tell which ones are roosters and which ones are chickens. Too many roosters = Coq Au Vin for us, even though that sounds quite delicious... Well, let's not think about this right now. They are way too cute!

Our little special-needs Marans "Limpie"

In five to eight weeks we will hopefully be able to "harvest" our first eggs.
And these eggs will be the most beautiful eggs in the world! Ameraucanas are known for their blue-greenish eggs, Marans and Welsummer lay dark chocolate brown ones, while Australorps' eggs are "only" ordinary pastel brown.

proud dad.

I'm sure they all will be delicious (the eggs!), and I will keep you updated on how it goes!