We've been working the last few weeks to clean out our hen house and get it ready for our newest project on the farm. After hours of shoveling, scrubbing and refurbishing, the hen house was ready for it's new tenants.
Today for school we calculated the cost, based on a local advertisement, for our chicks and our supplies. We also figured out how much space we'd need for our chicks under the brood lamp. After the math lesson, we took a field trip to the local feed store to pick up our chicks. We'd planned to get a straight run of two dozen chicks. I was hoping for Plymouth Barred Rocks. When we arrived at the feed store we learned that they only had pullets. That was real disappointment for S9. He had his heart set on a rooster and with a straight run there was a good chance we'd have gotten several.
We also had to compromise on breed. All the Barred Rocks were spoken for. M6 fell in love with the little Rhode Island Reds and H12 selected two each of several other breeds. We picked three extra Goldens and three extra Reds to round out our number to eighteen. S9 is holding out for the roosters so we'll be traveling to two other feed stores tomorrow to search for a straight run or roosters. I can already see that these chickens may not be the mixed group of roasting and laying chickens that I'd imagined. We may have to wait for a later group in order to have any chickens to eat. M6 has already announced that her red chicks will be great at laying eggs. I have no doubt she's right.
After we brought the chicks back to the hen house, we spent several hours watching them closely. The children were fascinated by chick behavior. I think the biggest surprise was how active the tiny chicks were and how they bickered with each other. They also liked the way their downy feathers felt. I'm hoping the chicks survive the level of handling they'll be getting for the next few days.
I'm praying that everything works with the brooder and that the chicks stay warm through the night. I'm also praying that we made the hen house as safe and secure as we think we did. I never realized how much effort went into each and every animal on a farm. Surely, sometime, something is going to be easy and take care of itself.