As long as I was in town for a design meeting, my husband suggested I swing by and pick up our hatchling order (baby poultry). I know, running errands sounds a bit exploitive of my self-employed flexibility, but just look at these cute, fuzzy chicks.
Every year we raise a batch of 40-50 meat birds. We order them from a hatchery and can either pick them up or have them mailed (chicks’ absorption of yolk sustains them for up to three days after they hatch). Once, we did have them mailed. But the postmaster insisted I get them immediately because the peeps were driving her crazy. Now I’ve found Abendroth’s, a hatchery just a half hour from my home.
The chicks don’t have their feathers yet so even in this summer warmth, they need to stay under a heat lamp where the temperature remains a constant 90-95 degrees. One by one, we dip their beaks into drinking water just to get them started.
It’s amazing how fast they start eating and drinking on their own. They take a sip, look up and give thanks.
My husband built a portable chicken coop so the chicks can always have fresh pasture. But if you’re looking for some real…ahem…coop devilles, check out these:
- Vintage Garden: chicken coop contest winners
- Flyte of Fancy: a Gypsy hen house from the U.K.
- Backyard Chickens Forum: lots of patterns for building a chicken coop
Next year, I’m hoping to raise a few heritage breeds. These are old-time genetics that provide necessary diversity to the increased monoculturalism of today’s agriculture.
- Heritage Poultry Conservancy defends threatened breeds
- Purely Poultry Hatchery sells heritage breed poultry (heads up to the postmaster—this will be a mail order)