Thursday, March 22, 2012

New Arrivals

Our journey towards raising chickens has taken a huge leap forward. We got chicks on Sunday! Well technically they are pullets because they are old enough to be sexed. We have a bylaw in our city that allows us to have up to 5 females but no males. So we got 5 girls.
These are Silver Laced Wyandottes. Originally I wanted the Blue Laced Red Wynadotte but I couldn't find any sexed birds in that coloring so I went with the Silver Laced (still pretty birds). We chose Wynadottes because they are supposed to be good dual purpose birds. I wanted a bird that was a good layer but was still a good meat bird when their egg production declines. They are also supposed to be docile which was another appealing feature for a backyard bird.
The top picture is the day we brought them home and the middle picture is last night. They already look bigger. They will be 4 weeks old this Saturday. We kind of skipped the fuzzy babies phase but I'm ok with that. We also skipped that heat lamp phase, all we needed was to add a space heater to our already warm laundry room which I'm also ok with.
Their permanent home is still under construction. We really weren't planning on getting the birds this soon but I was at the Poultry Swap and saw these girls and had to have them. The coop is a little big but eventually we plan to move to an acreage and I'd like to take this coop with us and get some more birds. This coop could accommodate around 12 birds someday.
I'm doing my best to remember that these are not pets but livestock that we will someday serve for dinner. But I also want them to be people friendly so I try to hold them often. So hard not to feel attachment to something so soft, small and helpless. April seems pretty attached. She checks on them regularly. We have held the birds out for her to pet but she's too excited and seems to want to grab them by the neck rather than pet them. Oh well, she is only 13 months old. We've had to put up our first baby gate because she likes to go into the laundry room and scream at them in excitement and rattle the cage in an effort to reach in a grab one. Poor birds are pretty agitated whenever she's near. I think a mutual love and respect will develop one day.
For now we are working on finishing their coop, keeping them clean and safe (they really like to make a mess) and learning all those little things chicken owners need to know (I'm feeling nervous about our first time clipping their wings). New arrivals indeed.

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