Tag Archives: baby chicks

New Chicks!

Life on this fallen earth being what it is, for every joyful event, there’s a sad one. Today, we brought home a box of baby chicks…last week one of our original old hens died. Antoinette, our Delaware, who lived up to her French name by loving to eat snails.

She was feisty, and bossy, and the first one into everything new. For the last three years or so, she’d been having trouble with a bit of lameness that I was never able to discover a cause for. It didn’t slow her down much…other than being unable to jump up onto her roost at night.  Her last day, she seemed fine, and it was a perfect day for a hen. She got to help me plant new trees in her yard – lots of tasty bugs and worms! – and later, she sunbathed with her sister. When it started to rain, I waited it out with her in the coop, so she had a lovely long snuggle…one of her favorite things in the world.

And then, in the morning, she was just…gone. Dead, I think, of a heart attack or stroke. She was quite an old girl. She’ll be missed.

But chicks! There is nothing like the happiness of bringing home a box full of babies!

There are ten Naked Neck chicks in there, and one Golden Sexlink. The Sexlink (name still to be chosen) will be joining the flock as a new egglayer. I’ve never had a Sexlink before, preferring the heritage breeds, but I’ve heard they are terrific winter layers – something my heritage breeds are not. This is a test. If she does well, I might keep a couple Sexlinks permanently in the flock.

The Naked Necks are for meat. If I like this breed, I might try keeping a rooster and a few hens so I can produce my own chicks of this breed every year.

The new chicks are being foster-mothered by my grey Cochin, Ophelia.

She was kind enough to go broody for the first time nearly EXACTLY two weeks before the store was stocking Naked Necks.  We just put the babies underneath her, and she took to them instantly. I think she’s going to be a great mother – fingers crossed! It’s good she’s so big and soft and fluffy, since she has eleven babies to care for. The most we’ve ever given a broody before was four. It’s going to be so cute, when she starts taking them out and teaching them how to be chickens!

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Ready for Baby Chicks!

No, the coop is not yet finished, but as the chicks will be spending their first weeks inside the house, we’re well on track for finishing by the time they need it.  We did add a decorative feature to the coop: curtains!

Pretty much all the major stuff that’s left to do on the coop is attach the doors and wire in the run.

Since it’s *possible* that the chicks could come as early as tomorrow (though most likely not until Weds), we set up their indoor quarters.  It’s an appliance box of some kind, with a lining of plastic, paper towels, and pine shavings.  We’re working on getting the temperature right, using the heat lamp.

The penultimate chicken breed we are getting is the Barnevelder.

Here’s what My Pet Chicken has to say:

The Barnevelder originates from the Barneveld region of Holland where it is so well-known that, according to the Barnevelder Club of North America, the Barnevelder name is synonymous with the word chicken. It is sought after there for its dark “chocolate” brown eggs, and while Barnevelder eggs in this country have lost some of that dark pigment, breeders here are working hard to change that. This beautiful bird is hardy and quiet and doesn’t mind being confined. In short, it makes a wonderful pet!

It seems to be quite rare and quite loved in North America; every chicken breeder we speak to is delighted that we’re getting one. We’ve had a couple of people say it is their favorite chicken!  This is the one breed that we almost didn’t get.  There is only a limited number available, and at first we were told they were all sold out.

Here’s two little Barnevelder chicks:

And here’s an egg:

Hopefully we’ll get even luckier and get a hen that lays the really dark eggs.