Last weekend I went to a local produce barn to buy some dog food and like a kid in a candy store was so excited to see the chickens they had. They sell a lot of 'point of lay' chickens, which are chickens that you basically buy and once they have settled into their new 'digs' they will start to lay. However, this produce barn also sells 'day old' chickens that are 80% guaranteed to be females and therefore egg producers and not wake the neighbours in the morning. And last weekend they seemed to be teeming with baby chicks and true to form being so adorable (sucked me in)!
I was with my toddler and my other half was at a conference. So being like a possessed person I rapidly sent off a text message stating that the produce store was about to close and if he approved could I buy some of these day old chicks now, otherwise he would have to wait until Monday to get some. I mean, it wasn't like we had spoken over breakfast and mentioned that I would be getting chickens that day, nor discussed it during the week to make sure we had all the right facilities to have these new chicks. No. Their cuteness took over and I needed them.
The approval came back and I purchased three Australorp chickens. Why Australorps you might say, as Rhode Island Reds are quite a common purchase for backyard egg producers? Cuteness once again. I love the Australorps, I think they are a very attractive bird even as an adult - they are all black with bright red contrasting combs. Beautiful.....so once again, decision was only skin (or should I say feather) deep.
Anyway, got the three chicks home with some additional paraphernalia, such sawdust, chook food and some water dispensers and set them up in an old cage that I had from my wildlife caring days. I then madly sent off another text message to the other half again and insisted he get a heat lamp on the way home and voila three baby chicks growing rapidly at our house.
We have had them a week now and they have been named by my toddler, with some assistance. We have 'Cheeky', 'Peckish' and 'Socks'. They certainly have grown over the week and I have noted a significant change in food consumption, even within the first twenty four hours.
I am also amazed at the innate behaviour that they demonstrate. We have taken them outside a couple of times to enrich their environment and let them experience dirt and weeds (which I will be getting them to work on when they are a little older) and they just instantaneously starting scratching in the bark and pecking at weeds, etc. They also happily consumed three worms between them the first time they were outside. It was hilarious to watch them with these worms, it was just like a Three Stooges skit.
One week on, no regrets and our three little chicks are starting to show signs of their egg-producing adult selves, with little tail feather shafts being now visible and wing feathers being quite prominent. They haven't lost their cuteness yet and we are hoping that we aren't smothering them with love.
What an adventure this is for a city girl and I'm loving it.