2 weeks ago
Tuesday, April 11, 2006
Today at lunch I ran to the feed store to purchase scratch & lay mash for the 3 hens I have left in my flock. They have been laying eggs out the whazoooo, and I don't enough people around to eat them... luscious, big, brown and organic as they are. I usually let the hens out during the day to scratch and peck in the back forty, but with things as soppy as they are out there, it would be cruel (the clay soil sticks to their chicken toes until it looks like they are walking with boulders strapped to their feet).
As I finished my purchase and turned to go, I noticed to my surprise, over against the wall, the large tubs which had been set up with mesh across the top, and reddish warming lights above.
BABIES! You have chickies!!!!
The lady behind the counter smiled, and then chuckled as I ran over to see, in my haste tripping on the sacks of grain at my feet.
As I peered over the top of each tub, I saw below baby chickens of all types, colors and sizes. Some were so itty bitty - only a day old. Others were striped, speckled, or just plain yellow. I stopped to look - totally in another world as I listened to their cute cheeps and peepings. For some reason I had thought that since the bird flu is supposed to be hitting soon, that the local breeders wouldn't be offering their seasonal hatchlings, thus I had not been expecting to see any.
I wanted to hold them - oh so bad. But I knew better. That is how I wound up with the first batch of 10, 3 years ago. After a mere trip to the feed store, I came home with a washtub, 10 peeping chicklets, and a heating bulb.
Problem was, we had no chicken coop! So they stayed in the bedroom in their tub, until we built the chicken house outside. Wow, they grow so fast! Before I knew it they were jumping up to the edge of the tub, teetering with small pin-feathered wings while looking around the bedroom. The grate went on the top to stop that. Not a good idea to have chickens loose in the bedroom!! Anyway, it was a challenge, getting that coop built. I NEVER should have picked up any of those chickies - I just CANNOT say no if it gets to that stage.